How to Stop Diabetes Burnout & Reverse the Cycle of Depletion TODAY!
Yesterday was World Diabetes Day 2012. Truth is, I almost missed it! Why, you ask? One word: depletion.
Diabetes demands a high level of attention, focus, and time. We don’t ever get a break from it, not even while sleeping. It’s a 24-7 companion and a full-time job. Diabetes burnout is real. It doesn’t take much to deplete our stores of energy and give-a-damn-itude for a while and check-out for a bit. At least for me. But when we’re depleted and burned-out, trouble is never far behind.
Sure, sometimes, depletion happens because life happens: we become parents, start a new job, launch a business, our kids get sick, a loved one dies.
We deal, get exhausted in the process, then we recover.
But there’s another hidden and all-too-dangerous form of depletion I want shine a big blue light on today. This is the kind of depletion that we perpetuate because we’re afraid if we stop, we’ll be freed up to take action on what truly needs addressing, and we’ll have to, y’know, change things.
Only we’re not actually sure we can give it our all day in and day out and do what it takes in the long term. And some part of us is terrified things will change. Comfortable with the status quo, we stay uber-busy, unfocused and scattered.
Or at least I have.
Staying overcommitted to our defaults and uncommitted to things that will move our lives in the direction we secretly crave means we never actually have to pursue our deepest dreams and desires.
This kind of depletion can eat up some of the best years of our lives. This kind of depletion often degrades our mental, physical and spiritual health, and even take away our desire to have our heart’s desire.
I know this because I’ve seen it happen. Time and time again. To myself. And those I love. I can blame it on diabetes or a bad economy and an aging body, but I know better. That still small voice inside me knows the truth. And it still hums along, whether or not we’re listening.
What I know to be true for myself is this: years have rolled on by and I’m only a teensy bit closer to the body, health, and daily life I’ve dreamed of. The dreams are still there, but they’re riddled with excuses and for the time being at least, still remain just that: dreams.
Truth is, they’re waiting for me. Achieving goals requires we take action and rededicate ourselves to the practice of _________ (fill in the blank) every day. Not just when we feel like it. Heck, especially when we don’t feel like it.
Rich, productive healthy lives don’t happen by accident. They require forethought, hard work, and healthy habits that get repeated again and again. And again.
What’s especially insidious about this kind of depletion is we are busy. We may even be taking steps toward what we desire and envision for ourselves—only we never seem to get very far because we aren’t quite taking the focused, bold or committed steps we need to take. Sure, we’re testing our bloodsugars, going to the endo, maybe even starting a new insulin or pump, but life keeps passing us by.
Our days become rather depressing, sky-is-always-hazy and gray and you never know it might rain kinda days. It’s easy to become numb. And no amount of sleep or energy drinks or massages or vitamins seem to help.
So what does help? The three approaches I outline below have made real and lasting differences in my life and helped me reach my goals:
1.) Name it, Then Claim It!
Just like we’d track our out-of-range bloodsugars looking for trends, start tracking the moments that keep the cycle-of-depletion going: when we allow a meeting or phone call to go way too long, when we tweet and check Facebook rather than write or exercise, when we don’t tell anybody about the events and projects we’re working to put on.
Naming and Claiming is not an invitation to beat yourself up and look at all the things you’re doing “wrong!” Self-doubt and unkindness just keep the cycle-of-depletion going.
Just like we look for highs and lows in our bloodsugars and try to figure out why they happened, we can see this simply as important fact gathering. Facts are the way out of the uber-busy, splattered attention fog that keeps draining us.
For lasting change to happen, we first have to see and acknowledge the choices we are making—even when they don’t initially seem like choices. Keep a running log for a couple weeks. Then, reassess.
2.) Do the Highest Value Action First
As you plan your day or week, focus on the more-bang-for-your buck actions that will move you forward--and do that first. Exercising first thing in the morning, writing for 30 minutes, calling a contact about a speaking gig, reviewing and revising your budget – you know what it is for you.
By honing in on what often can be the scariest, but most powerful action, we’re ensuring we won’t just react to life around us. We’re in the driver’s seats—and it’s up to us to tackle the big boys first!
P.S. This includes an important sub-point: planning our days the night before.
When we’re running on empty, it’s easy to live in reaction mode. Reaction mode is draining. When we’re the ones deciding in advance how we want to focus our time and attention before our days start, we lay claim to our right to choose our lives.
This doesn’t mean we won’t encounter resistance, sometimes fail to stick with our plans, or get interrupted. That’s life! Not a sign we should quit. Keep the game plan simple but specific--and do it the night before!
3.) Dare to Ask (& Answer) the Tough Questions
My friend asked me a tough question the other day after listening patiently to my litany of complaints. She didn’t exactly tell me to stop moping and start helping someone beside myself (ok, she kinda did), but first she asked me a question that helped put me back on track.
She simply asked: How many more lives could you touch if you just got out of your own way?” Wouldn’t you be a lot happier, she asked?
First, I got mad. Then, I wanted to hide under the covers and cry. With such a strong reaction, I knew she was on to something. There was a message I needed to hear and if I couldn’t listen to myself, perhaps I could listen to her. I spent a good twenty minutes writing down all the things that might be possible were I to get going and stop getting in my own way. I thought of all the people who might be impacted in positive ways if I were well-rested and living on-purpose-- replenished and rededicated to myself and the highest good.
I’ve started there. My life is on-purpose these days, and though it’s not exactly comfortable to face some hard truths about myself, I’m steadily behaving my way to success. I may not be able to realize my vision in exactly the way I pictured. But I’ve started. And I’m trying. Do I have all the resources and energy and know-how I wish I had? No. Have I achieved my under 6 A1C while walking around with rock-hard abs? Hardly!
But you know what? It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we keep moving forward and focusing on what we are doing and what we value most of all. What is realized--and most importantly--the process of realizing and actively working toward our heart’s desires, contains all the delight and purpose and we crave.
What do we have to lose besides old habits, crutches, and routines that no longer serve us?