Living with diabetes means a LOT more stuff to do. Period. End of story. Nothing to dispute.
More appointments, thoughts about food, measurement of carbs, checking of glucose levels, purchasing supplies, being mindful of your every choice, worry about other’s judgment and a billion other thoughts, tasks and emotions. It can end up being quite the load to bear which can easily spiral downward to fatigue, give-up, and burnout. We all reach that point sometime or another. Unfortunately, when diabetes takes a back seat, we suffer the long and short-term consequences.
It seems counter-intuitive, but we can actually do MORE for our diabetes management, by doing less. Here is a short list of things you can STOP doing that is guaranteed to improve your attitude, your outlook, your energy level, your ability to cope, and ultimately your ability to keep your BGs in check. Want to know? Here you go. STOP doing these things:
- Striving for perfection – it’s impossible anyway. Just do your best each day.
- Pleasing others – again impossible. Keep some of that energy to do some nice things YOU enjoy! The “others” will still be there and always want more.
- Hustling for approval – what are you saying Yes to, but you really mean No? How much time could you get back?
- Wallowing in shame, regret, and guilt – have you messed up in the past? Yep, me too. We all have. And there is absolutely nothing you can do to go back and fix it. But you CAN make now, this day better than the day you feel so bad about. Use that energy to say sorry, build a bridge, or forgive. Each of these is very healing.
- Worrying about the future – being curious and mindful about how today’s actions may impact your tomorrow is a wise and good thing to do, but keep it in check and don’t let it mess up today. If you worry and it comes true – you suffer twice. If you worry and it doesn’t come true – you suffered unnecessarily.
- Blaming anyone or anything for how things are – even if it’s true, it doesn’t lighten your load or correct the problem. All that angst towards the person or event hurts you much more than them anyway. Let go. Move on. Be free!
- Wishing it were different – what is true right now, is true right now. If you don’t like it, use that uncomfortableness to propel you to make some changes. If it isn’t something you can change, then grieve the loss. Dive into it. Process what you have lost. Get angry. Scream. Cry. Be sad. And after some appropriate time, crawl back out into the world and find someone or something that calls to you. Acceptance does not mean that you like it. It means that you honor the truth of the situation. Truth is a solid foundation for your next step.
Each one of those bullet points could be a college credit if we pursued each one deeply. There is a LOT of stuff most of us drag around unnecessarily. So I have a quick coaching exercise to help you get started. Grab a paper and pen. Do each step before moving to the next (I added some scroll space, in case you were tempted to peek ahead!)
1 – Make a list of all the things you SHOULD do.
2 – Next to each item in your list, write down who benefits. (you, a person, work, church, the world, neighbor, boss, etc.)
3. – Cross off any item where YOU are not the beneficiary. (Don’t panic – it doesn’t mean you won’t ever do them”.)
4 – Add the things you WANT to do. (What you should do and what you want to do are often very far apart).
5 – Rank from 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. You can rank from easiest to hardest, most fun to least fun, least expensive to most expensive, silliest to more serious – whatever seems to make sense).
6 – Cross off all but #1. That is where you start. If it is too much to do in one step, then modify it to something fun and easy you are willing to do.
Seem crazy? Consider what you need to let go of, so you can begin #1? How do you get rid of unnecessary baggage, so you get MORE of what your life needs? Get rid of some of the crap that consumes you and doesn’t bring you joy, and you will find more time to take better care of you!
And all that extra energy you get back? That is where you find better diabetes with more energy to do what you love, more time to cook or shop, more focus on what really matters, and heaps more belief in yourself and your abilities.