A Diabetics Guide to Mindfulness
Life can be hard. Our family, children, finances, jobs, schedules, deadlines, bills, social lives, goals, travel plans, dinner ideas, birthday parties, holidays, and finding “me time” can be challenging to manage.
Life with Type 1 Diabetes can be hard. Carb counting, finger pricks, needle sticks, keytone strips, snacks for lows, fluids for highs, pharmacy trips, bringing backup supplies everywhere you go, primary care doctor, eye doctor, foot doctor, diabetes doctor, doctor, doctor, doctor. Give me the news, I’ve got a bad case of feeling the blues.
What do diabetes, life and a mindful mind have to do with each other? One of my favorite quotes (and I have a lot of them) “How you do anything, is how you do everything.” left a powerful impact on me full of self-reflection and realization. Which led to the following – how do I manage my diabetes, my career, my goals, and ultimately my life? Well, I had to get off my wheel and become conscious of my energy; where I’m putting it, where I want it to go, and how I’m talking to myself throughout the process.
Below are the ways I choose to stay mindful on my journey through life with Type 1 Diabetes while creating a business, keeping an active life,working, and trying to keep my blood sugar under control. (Trying is the key word there because at the end of the day, your blood sugar is affected by things that are completely out of my control) And just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
YOU GOTTA FEEL IT TO HEAL IT
- When your emotions present themselves it's important to acknowledge them without judgement in order to let them pass. When I'm feeling overwhelmed with blood sugars that are less than desirable, I take a breath and pause for a minute to reassess what it is I actually have control of in that moment. Factors such as; outside temperature, exercise, stress level (conscious and subconscious), and altitude have an affect on my glucose levels. I can control my next insulin and ease through the frustration by taking a minute to respond rather than react.
FOCUS ON THE PROCESS, NOT THE RESULT
- Another important tool I use to stay mindful through anything is what am I focusing on. If my goal A1C is 6.5 but I'm at 9.2 then I need to be mindful of my daily actions. The process I focus on includes; food consumption, activity level, stress management and insulin intake reminding myself that small steps lead to big results. It may not drop my A1C today, but in the end it will drop my A1C. Have reasonable expectations for yourself throughout the journey.
REMEMBER YOUR WHY
- Lastly I call on my WHY more often than not. Reminding myself why I'm doing all this hard work in the first place. I want to feel good, I want to be healthy, I want to be the person that overcomes statistics. My focus stays on what I want rather than what I don't.
The way we perceive things has the ability to completely change our experiences. Imagine if you used a coin toss each morning to decide how you’d react to events throughout your day - heads you look at things as you usually do, tails you take the opposite approach— high blood sugars are a signal of what you shouldn't eat, your to do list is a guide to help prioritize your day, and sales calls are only informing you of your options.
How different would your day be?
We cannot control every challenge that enters our lives, but we can take a moment to breathe and process if we’d like to absorb those negative vibes and react, or simply wave as they pass on by.
We can change our minds and we can grow. Your mood affects your partner’s mood, which affects their co-workers’ moods, which affects their children’s moods, which affects their teacher's moods… Even a small moment of mindfulness can ripple in ways we can’t always see.