It’s that time again: the change of seasons. And with it comes a multitude of shifts and adjustments. Weather that grows cooler or warmer. Landscapes that become greener or grayer. Days that are getting shorter or longer, changing almost every part of your routine.
All of these changes are felt. Every single one affects my diabetes routine and self-care.
It can seem like just as I start getting everything under “control”, the world goes and disrupts it all.
On the upside, the change of seasons provides me with a natural checkpoint. It’s an opportunity to take stock, anticipate changes, and make adjustments. A chance to improve my routine in response to my environment.
With each new season, I try to remember something Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt said, “Every season, for me, it’s like starting from scratch again.”
With the change of seasons the first thing I do is look ahead to the pleasures the new season will bring. Spring means blossoming gardens and warmer days. Summer is filled with long, sunny days that make spending time at the beach appealing. Autumn brings fall colors and walks in crisp air. Winter means fewer hours of sunlight and more holiday celebrations.
At the beginning of each season I get my labs done, paying most attention to my A1C. Once my results come to me in an email, my pondering begins.
My A1C gives me a high level view of where my blood glucose readings have been for the past three months. It gives me an overall average.
Has my A1C changed? Is it higher or lower? Where would I like it to be next?
Looking through the report generated by my BG logging app and my calendar gives me a more granular view. Here I look for trends, variations, and disruptions.
How close is the plotted line of each day’s BG readings to my target zone. BG readings that are above or below my self-defined target zone are highlighted in red on the report. Do I see steady BG readings from week to week? Or are there wild fluctuations?
Looking back at my calendar, do I see anything that disrupted my regular routine? Travel? A job change? Starting or stopping an exercise routine? Illness?
Each and every change potentially affects how I manage my diabetes and the results I experience.
Did anything change in my diabetes management? A change in medication or dosing? A new tracking app or other tool? A different kind of exercise?
I take time to reflect on the numbers presented in my log and by my A1C results. I try to make sense of them without obsessing or reproach.
The old adage “Eat well, exercise regularly, die anyway” comes to mind. I try to smile at the irony and not succumb to the despair.
I ask myself what worked out well and what not so much. Of course, I want more of worked well and less of what didn’t. And when there’s no clear answer, I have to accept that and move forward.
I look ahead. What do I anticipate happening in the next three months? Any special events? Or work changes? Or family gatherings? What is there to look forward to? What will require mindful management?
I consider the changes the new season will bring. Do I need to think about how I can keep up my daily exercise during the rainy season? Do I need to plan out lower carb dishes for upcoming holiday potlucks? Do I need to make sure I order all my prescription refills by the deadline so I don’t lose any money in my FSA?
Each new season is a checkpoint. A mile marker. An opportunity to reflect and respond. That is — if I make it so.
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