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Author: Patricia Diaker, Better Diabetes Life
COVID19 and Diabetes
According to the Center for Disease Control, people like myself who are diabetic are at high risk for serious complications from a COVID19 infection. Underlying health conditions such as diabetes limit an individual’s ability to fight off the viral infection. Whether it is an existing complication or the added physical stress of high blood sugars due to illness, when all systems aren’t functioning at peak performance, the virus is more likely to spread unchecked.
Best defense is a good offense
If you have diabetes or any other chronic condition, your best defense is a good (healthy) offense. We all know tight control of blood sugar, nutrition rich foods, adequate hydration and consistent exercise are the foundation of a good diabetes care plan. But with Shelter in Place orders, this already challenging lifestyle becomes even more difficult.
Lack of access to gyms, grocery stores, and providers are troublesome. The disruption of your routine can send your glucose control spiraling. It can be very tempting to indulge in comfort foods and sweet treats when bored or worried. While stuck at home, the TV can be a source of distraction to pass the time, but also means less activity while binging on your favorite Netflix series. Perhaps you are just hunkering down until this blows over with the expectation you’ll return to your diabetes routine later.
What if you have been trying diligently to adjust and adapt, but your blood sugars are still not where you want them? Frustration can set in when you are trying your best, but the results aren’t what you want. Fear and worry are sure to follow. If this continues, you may feel like giving up. Thoughts of “Why bother?” may run through your mind.
When you get to the point where the effort no longer seems worth it, you have reached diabetes burnout. Burnout occurs when you are trying hard but getting nowhere. Sometimes you just get to a point and are “done with it!” A valid frustration, but to succumb to burnout has dire consequences.
What is a person to do? Stuck at home. Your diabetes routine off the rails. Your blood sugars not where you’d like them. Uncomfortable and anxious feelings surround you. And an unseen virus looming out there and you need to be your healthiest?
Give Yourself a Break
No matter what your level of stress from COVID19, coping well or struggling and on the edge of burnout, these two words can be helpful: permission and curiosity.
First give yourself permission to not have all the answers and to not be perfect. The world is a bit upside down right now and everything has changed. Giving yourself permission is empowering and diminishes feelings of loss. Give yourself permission to do today as best you can. No one can ask for more.
Curiosity is one of the most powerful tools you possess. It never judges and often opens doors. Use curiosity to consider your current situation from a distance. If you were an outsider looking in, what would you notice? What patterns might be taking shape? If you become curious about your blood sugar, you might want to check it a few more times to see what’s going on inside you. And be curious about the number on the meter. It is just a piece of data, not a judgement of your character or efforts. What can it tell you?
In these times of COVID19 quarantine, permission and curiosity can go a long way to reduce stress and worry, avoid burnout and promote a better diabetes life.
Below are tools to assist you in your journey of living better with diabetes.
Are you diabetic? How are you doing during this time? Click here to find out.
Enjoy a complimentary 45-min. webinar on Coping with the Chaos of Corona Replay: https://betterdiabeteslife.com/webinars/coping-with-the-chaos-of-corona-replay/
Patricia Daiker is a registered nurse, and a board certified nurse coach specializing in Diabetes Burnout. She is the author of the online eCourse “Better Diabetes Life“. An RN for 35 years, she practiced bedside at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas for 15 years, primarily in the Emergency Department as a Certified Emergency Nurse. Patricia also has over 17 years as an executive in Healthcare IT and is Board Certified in Informatics Nursing. She currently is the CEO and founder of Dragonfly Lights, a company whose mission is to deliver support and services to people with diabetes and other chronic illnesses who experience the psychosocial burden, we know as “burnout”. She is a Type 1 Diabetic, JDRF TypeOneNation Speaker, children’s book author and most recently a COVID19 pandemic homeschool teacher.