Tag Archives: diabetes and perspective

Do These 3 Unexpected Things to Manage Your Diabetes Better

Month after month and year after year you struggle with checking your blood sugar, taking your medication properly, eating the right foods, exercising enough, and staying away from nights that undo all your two steps forward.

You’re a perfectly smart individual, completely capable of doing what needs to be done. You read about how people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes do amazing things and quickly realize that some of your excuses fall a little short. You can’t figure out why you aren’t able to manage your diabetes well even though you have the tools and resources you need with which to do it.

Besides, diabetes is just one of a bunch of other problems you have. You too are dealing with relationships and work and finances.

But some people with diabetes are doing well and you wonder if you could be one of them. Deep down you know you could. You just need…something…

Now I don’t know you so I’m only going to ask you to consider the possibility that perhaps, mostly what  needs to change are your surroundings,

Your surroundings would include any people, places, or things in your proximity.

The People You Surround Yourself With

Let’s start with people. If you’re an adult you probably have a choice regarding who you spend your time with. Are these quality people? Do they treat you well or poorly? Are they negative? Do they manage to bring you down with their words or actions? Do they abuse themselves and do things you don’t respect?

You might first try telling the people in your life how you feel and what you would prefer from them. If they can’t do any different and are only helping to pull you down, you’ve got to let them go. Your diabetes will eventually destroy your health if you don’t manage it and it won’t help blaming anyone in the end. Not when you get to decide who to spend your time with.

Where I come from there is a saying that says, “Better no company, than bad company”.

Try being a person who is just, honest, hardworking, and virtuous. You’ll alienate the wrong people and attract the right ones. Those qualities will also be major boosts to your arsenal for managing diabetes.

The Places You Live and Work

Now for places. Do you hate where you live or work? If so, are you working on a plan that will slowly get you out of there? It may take 5 years (as it did for me to leave a job I hated) but you’ve got to at least lay out your plan and take steps toward it. We spend a lot of time where we live and work so, again, if that is what brings you down then work towards getting that obstacle out of your way.

Don’t despair if things seem impossible. They always do–especially when we are feeling overwhelmed. Just start writing down what you want and the steps you think you should take to get there. Try to be calm, daydream a bit, get creative, and figure out your escape.

Talk to a loved one about what you are trying to do. Maybe you can get some support. Perhaps someone you trust could also help give you feedback about what you want and why. Go to a rational thinker, not someone who will give you emotional advise, which is great for some things but terrible for your life’s practical maneuvers which require you to be wise.

The Things You Own, Which Own You

There is much value in cleaning up our possessions in a way that will minimize anxiety and stress and maximize efficiency and value. Have you heard of Marie Kondo, the Japanese tidying guru? Her book may not be for everyone but I dare say she is on to something. She recommends owning only what we all need and love.

You know how most people love going to hotels? Well, I spent the last few years staying in dozens of them–three and four star hotels. And what I discovered was that they are all pretty much terrible. No, really. They are dusty, mildewy, smelly, and the only thing actually going for them is that they are minimalist and tidy.

So when you and I first step in we go into “spa brain” where we get a sense of peace and relaxation even though we are walking on a carpet that contains blood, semen, and urine. Again, no, seriously. A friend contracted MRSA from walking barefoot in a very nice New York City hotel and spent many weeks in a hospital.

Now what if we could come home and feel “spa brain” every day? Don’t you think that would help you stay focused and more relaxed on what you need to do to maintain your healthy habits?

The key is to strip your belongings of things you don’t love, as Kondo recommends and to only keep something if you truly can’t live without it. I got rid of so much stuff recently that I was able to put my diabetes supplies in a pretty box that was previously used for something else. I have been better about changing my syringes and lancets ever since and I also stay on top of what needs to be reordered because everything is so nicely organized.

Check out Kondo’s book from the library or purchase it on Amazon and start making some darn space for a life in which you manage your diabetes and health (let’s face it, those take up enough space on their own).

I Think This Because I Live It

I have done these three things I’m suggesting, not perfectly of course, as we’re all a work in progress. But, I have experienced major changes that have been well worth all the little steps it took to get here. I once felt hopeless and worried that diabetes would kill me at age 40. I thought diabetes was too hard to manage even for just 24 hours. I felt depressed and anxious and didn’t know how to alleviate my symptoms.

I’ve found that for me, it has truly helped to keep quality company, mold my life so I spend my days where I want, doing what I want, and chucking items that are only going to stand in my way, mentally and physically.

In a way, it’s all about removing what isn’t going to support what we want or need. When you remove what isn’t wanted or needed you are left with everything you want and need. It’s quite perfect.

The bit I wrote about how we have to be virtuous and all that…that part is instrumental. Deep down we all recognize quality. When we think and act like quality people we are self-motivated to hold our heads up high and finally treat ourselves with self-respect. The best anti-depressant I’ve ever experienced has been working to be a self-respecting and useful person.

It isn’t self-respect to live amongst clutter, surrender to a dead-end job, or to maintain a toxic relationship. These aspects are huge in our lives and we either surround ourselves to an environment that promotes and supports our success, or we don’t.

I don’t have it all figured out and I have a long way to go still but, I get emails from people who want to know what advise I have on how to manage diabetes well and some who ask about relationship and parenting and other topics. So what i’ve shared is what I rely on to help me maintain an A1c between 5-6 %, a healthy marriage, happy kids that I unschool, and work I enjoy.

I’ve noticed that people who manage their diabetes really well do these things, also. You can learn to do them, too if you want. Just pick one and begin.

XOXO

The “You Can Do This” Project

 

Sometimes all we need to get through another day with diabetes is the knowledge that it’s possible to do so and that we’re not alone in our struggle.  Kim at Texting My Pancreas started a wonderful initiative called The “You Can Do This” Project.  Here are the details in case you’d like to participate.  If you don’t have a blog, feel free to have The Girl’s Guide to Diabetes put up your written post or video if you just want to get it out there.  The more participants, the more hope and empowerment we send out to others :)

Here is my video blog for this project:

My Diabetes Is No Indonesian Tsunami

Photo courtesy of Evgeni Dinev
Photo courtesy of Evgeni Dinev

 

This past week has been easier diabetes-wise.  All the news about what has happened in and around Japan is an eye-opener at the very least.  I’m not a diabetic caught in a super high wave and I’m not a diabetic running away from the risk of nuclear meltdown.  The ground beneath me isn’t shaking.  I’m a diabetic cozily lodged in a valley of protective mountains, in a comfortable apartment, with no more a nuisance than the annual stink bug.

Yes, I have diabetes, but my diabetes is no Indonesian tsunami or 9.0 on the Richter scale.  I have a place to live and insurance with which to buy by medical supplies. 

I’m just thinking about all those people…especially the diabetics out there who probably aren’t able to put their health first because they’re just trying to survive another day.

It’s All Relative

 

“We must always think about things, and we must think about things as they are, not as they are said to be.”

~George Bernard Shaw

 

I had a friend who said she ate really healthy because she ate three salads a week alongside fast food meals.  I had another friend who said she ate, “pretty good” even though she never ate junk food, never overate, and followed a diet that might make a dietitian stand up and cheer. 

This is part of what makes the internet such a confusing place.  Many of us take part based on what we perceive.  Some might think a mile is a tiring run but I have a few friends who might consider that a very brief warm up.  Just as someone might feel that a family of four cannot comfortably live making less than 100,000 a year and someone else’s family of four feel quite cozy on 40,000 a year. 

It’s all relative.  Just something to keep in mind as we read through loads and loads of personalized info. 

A lot of things about diabetes is based upon an individual’s unique perception.  It’s called their opinion and you’re graciously entitled to your own.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Perspective Helps

 

Something that has helped me A LOT in the past (diabetes-wise) was to have a paradigm shift or change in perspective about certain things. 

For example, I still struggle with feeling “poor” sometimes and yet, thinking about those who have no home, no food, no family, or no clean water quickly snaps me back into the “rich” category.

I’ve said this before but, I used to have a terrible time getting my blood sugar to stay below 200.  My goal was that: to keep it below 200.  I would fail miserably and endure lots of 300’s and 400’s. 

Then I thought to myself, “maybe my target should change?”  So I started aiming for 100-all the time.  No mind that this isn’t possible, the point was, shouldn’t I be aiming at the right place in the first place?  Then when I get a little outside my target zone at least I’m still not doing too bad?

I thought this was a silly thing to think although I tried it anyway.  And I couldn’t believe it but, it worked!

It was the equivalent of raising my own bar.  It was bringing up my expectations.  As a result, my actions met these expectations and I got much closer to where I needed to be. 

A major change in perspective also helped me in another crucial area:

I used to feel like the most unlucky gal in the world because of having type 1 diabetes.  And so I blamed every single negative thing in life on my diabetes.  I didn’t push myself through college because: diabetes.  I didn’t have confidence in myself because: diabetes.  I didn’t exercise regularly because: diabetes.  I wasn’t happy because: diabetes.

The truth is that diabetes DOES make everything in life harder.  I know that.  I want you to know I know that.  Problem is, not taking care of our diabetes will eventually make life EVEN harder later! 

I often think, “It’s like I can’t win”.  Maybe you do too, sometimes.  Well, we’ve got to scratch that line from our brains.  We need to just focus on how we’re alive (others have not made it to whatever age we’re at).  We have a roof over our heads (many others do not).  We can afford insulin (unbelievably so, some cannot).  And many of us still have the ability to gently exercise each day, have confidence in ourselves and be happy simply because we choose to, and push forward with our dreams and aspirations even though we’ll have to push much harder than others.  We can! 

And having the right perspective…helps.

PS: Don’t let any negative person tell you that diabetics don’t want to hear that perspective helps.  If we’re humble, we’ll know it’s the truth and if we let it, it helps.

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