Tips for Living Happy and Healthy Life with Diabetes
So much of successful diabetes management comes down to two things: commitment and mindset.
Yesterday I offered the first of my top three tips for cultivating a healthy mindset and life with diabetes. My point? That by shifting some of the tired old beliefs we've been lugging around with us all these years we allow ourselves to make space for something better--and get out our own way.
What follows are my other top two tips for living a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life with (or without) diabetes.
NOTE:I come by these things honestly. After 21 years of life with diabetes, these are the things I know work. Embracing the tips and action steps has made all the difference for me--in the way I show up in the world--and the increased level of health and success I've had managing--and embracing--my diabetes and my L.I.F.E.
Ready to try? Here we go:
- Get Active & Create a Strong Support System!
It's a fact of L.I.F.E.--and diabetes management--that we increase our chance for success and sustained progress exponentially when we create and nurture a strong system of support for ourselves-and our diabetes.
One thing I know for sure is that a lack of support, encouragement, and connection to others has led to my most miserable-and loneliest-of days-and my unhealthiest results. And I've got to take responsibility for most of that misery and isolation-self-imposed as it may have been. We don't have to go it alone. Keep the following in mind:
- Systems don't develop over night. We've got to be proactive and seek them out. While our doctors may be medical experts we respect, they're not the kind of support system I'm referring to. We need people we can relate to. Folks who lead by example. Mentors and friends we admire and respect. And folks who respect us--enough to encourage us and also tell it like it is (even when our inner-rebel may not want to hear it)!
- There are encouragers and supporters to be found all around us when we humble ourselves enough to admit we could use some support-and ask for it. When we have the courage to put our diabetes-and ourselves-"out there." When we don't hide. When we risk moving out of our comfort zone.
AMYLIA'S ACTION CHALLENGE:
Is there someone out there in the diabetes online community that you admire but have been shy about reaching out to? Why not take the first step toward connecting with them today? What do you have to lose? Consider doing one of the following T.O.D.A.Y.:
- Ask a friend (online or local) to be your accountability partner. Check in with each other every week or bi-weekly.
- Give an old friend-or a potential one--a call and say hi.
- Write a letter to someone you've been thinking about. And send it!
- Leave a thoughtful comment on someone's blog or send them a note via Facebook.
- Write an email of appreciation. In it, ask the person if they're open to being one of your "extreme encouragers."
- Schedule a visit with an old friend.
- Ask to meet someone you admire for coffee-or set up a time to Skype if far away.
What you'll find is that diabetes-like life-rewards action. Make T.O.D.A.Y. the day you take that first small step to encourage your health and success-as a diabetic, I find the two inextricably linked. Do something today. It beats waiting around for others to anticipate your needs and wants...which leads to my final tip:
- Get Clear About What You Need---And Then Ask For It!
It is generally true that the most we get out of life is what we ask for. If you struggle to muster up the courage to reach out and ask for the things you want and need, remind yourself that you're worth it! Asking for what you need is not selfish. You're helping others AND yourself when you get clear your needs and intentions-and are able to articulate them.
In my experience, most people are willing-and quite happy-to help you out when they can, provided doing so won't negatively affect them or others. People like making other people happy. It makes them happy. And people like making you feel good. It makes them feel good, too.
AMYLIA'S ACTION CHALLENGE:
Is there something you need but have been afraid to ask for it? Someone or something you've been hoping for more of in your life?
- Choose one thing-or person-on your list--and ask for it (or them) T.O.D.A.Y.!
- If you're reticent, start small.
- Asking for some innocuous thing you're less attached to "getting" helps you stretch and build up your "courage muscles." This can be an important first step before asking for a bigger or more challenging need you'd like met.
**BONUS: Each time you practice asking for what you want and need you send yourself (and the world!) the message that you're worth it. And not afraid to go after what you want.
*TIP: If they say no, remind yourself this is not a reflection of you. It's normal to be disappointed, but don't be discouraged. While it can be scary to ask and risk a "no," doing so is helping you become stronger--and tipping the odds in your favor.
OR... Think about it this way:
- Even if you get a "no," you're no worse off than you were before. And you can feel proud of yourself for having stepped outside your comfort zone and courageously stepped up to ask for what you need!
- The more you do these things, the easier it gets. We can't always go it alone-not should we. Especially when it comes to our diabetes. There's power in numbers, and when we're in a diabetes or L.I.FE. rut, the momentum of those around us can help propel us forward. Everyone benefits from good support and encouragement. There's no shame in asking for it.
If you do, I guarantee you'll feel healthier, happier and more empowered-and greater success with your diabetes management-and life-is bound to come to you. And what you'll also notice is that your increased happiness and inner-strength automatically radiates out to all around you.
It's unstoppable. And really, what's better than that?
*P.S. I love this quote by Marianne Williamson who inspires us to put ourselves-and our diabetes--out there. We can S.H.I.N.E. Every. Single. Day. I. Can. And trust me, if I can do it, so can you! Marianne believes:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be?
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do...And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
- from A Return to Love