Welcome to day two of Diabetes Blog Week. Already its been an intense smorgasboard of words and images to take in. I am absolutely loving this years posts and it’s only Tuesday. Huge thank you to Karen from Bitter Sweet Diabetes for making this happen. Todays theme is The other half of diabetes- Tuesday
We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk?
Oh my god I love diabetes- said no one EVER! But I can live with it. Why? Because I’ve worked for years to refine my attitude towards adversity. When I was a kid I was super competitive. If someone said I couldn’t do something I was determined to prove them wrong. Simple dares, like I bet you can’t climb to the top of that tree to complex ultimatums like; if you quit college you’ll never be a success were treated with equal merit. I made sure I climbed that tree, quit college and lived a successful happy life.
Living with a type A personality however is a double edged sword. I obsess about the numbers on my meter as much as I try and perfect my to-do list. I sweat over my doctors visit espousing to be the perfect Zen yogi when all I really want to do is eat chocolate pizza and give up!
I actually think my frustration helps me cope. Allowing myself to cry, be angry and feel hopeless gives me a break from the part of me that strives for perfection. In fact, every now and then I let myself be a disaster area. Test strips all over the floor, a handful of almonds (yep that’s my comfort food) and binge watching ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.’
But besides slacking off I do see yoga and yoga practices as a lifeline. Having solid tools to calm my mind and nervous system makes a huge difference to my mental emotional state. Especially when I am dealing with a week of frustratingly high blood sugars or panicking over lows.
Coming back to my breath, slowing down and gaining perspective through quiet reflection are just some of the ways I cope. I also look to my partner for support and advice. He doesn’t have diabetes but he has incredible wisdom and knowledge and is always reminding me that even though the body has a disease, I can never be the disease and that my thoughts about the disease are much more trouble than the diabetes itself.
Learning to manage my thoughts, seeing them for what they are and knowing myself as that presence in whom all thoughts come and go creates a space for me to accept what’s happening. It’s not always easy but it helps.
And then there’s my absolute favourite tool for changing my attitude. The breath!
Try this simple technique to let go of stressful thoughts, worries and negativity
You can do this sitting in a chair, lying down or simply standing in line at the post office. Breathing in for an even count imagine you are breathing in love, joy, peace and calm Doubling the length of your exhalation breath out stress, negativity, fear or whatever it is that you want to let go of. Keep going until you find you’re hardly breathing and totally relaxed.
With great respect… Rachel
P.S Want to know more about my passion for yoga and diabetes? I’m offering the first chapter of my new book on Yoga for Diabetes for free. Find the right practice for your type by learning all about Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga.
Us Aussies are up early! It means I get to be inspired by your lovely posts before I go to work. As a mum of a child with diabetes, doing a couple of yoga classes last year changed my life. I learned, at a very basic level, how to control my breathing and that really helps me get back to sleep in the middle of the night when I’ve have to do a blood test for my son. I look forward to reading your book when it comes out! Maureen
Breathing is such an amazing tool and I am so heartened to hear how much it ha supported you too. Thanks so much Maureen for being inspired to check out my book. I can’t wait for it to be printed. Any day now !
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Yoga helps me so much with my mental health – my Sunday night yoga class is the highlight of my week, and I always end up feeling calmer. After a particularly terrible day last week with a BGL and mood rollercoaster, I ended up driving to yoga like it was my lifeline! Great post, and love the permission to be a ‘disaster area’ – us Type As need that sometimes xx
Thanks so much Georgie. I am so glad Yoga works for you too. I just don’t know where I would be without all its amazing benefits! So glad we are connecting…
Thanks for the breathing technique! I use similar techniques to help anxiety, but I love to be reminded to practice them anyway. I’d love to give yoga a go one day, but with BP issues I often end up with a massive headache.
Its all about finding the right practice for you… sometimes with BP issues its good to have some private sessions with someone who teaches yoga therapy. Then you know the poses you can do that don’t create tension and headaches. I’m glad the blog was a good reminder.
Thanks for sharing your tips! They’re fantastic- from a fellow Type A.
Great post, I could definitely relate to a lot of it. I should keep yoga in mind for the future when dealing with the many frustrations diabetes brings!
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Thanks! Yoga is a total life saver! Having a crap day today with my levels so grateful I did some yoga practice this morning to keep me sane
Ooohhhh, chocolate pizza!!!! Okay okay, I’ll watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and do yoga instead. 😉
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that totally made me laugh!
I practice yoga to help centre me and deal with anxiety caused by managing my son’s diabetes and coeliac disease. My weekly Kundalini yoga class is like going to church for me, I leave feeling spiritually uplifted and nourished. I’m also doing daily yoga at home now to bring more joy into my pregnancy and connect with my baby. I love how it helps on do many levels. My children even join in with me sometimes! I hope they take it up too one day. Loving your blog x
hey! Just saw this… thanks so much for your comment! I am so glad yoga is such a supportive part of your life.