I know I have been quiet this year. As many of you know by now, I have had some significant life tragedies that have been somewhat overwhelming. But I am managing to cope with these challenges, and they are exactly what has given me the motivation for my upcoming content.
(I used to let all the crazy things people say on social media provide me with MUCH content, lol. But since I have lessened my time on social media, I will just have to continue sharing with you my personal experiences as well as my experiences as a professional working in health education lol. Sound good?)
We talk a lot about all of the things we must do to manage our health, eating right, exercising, monitoring our health markers, etc. etc. But, we don’t often talk about what is keeping us from doing those things.
As I mentioned in a prior post, when I first became a diabetes educator, I would sometimes sit in wonderment after an appointment with a patient and think to myself “why is this person’s diabetes NOT important to them.” How misinformed I was. It was not that their diabetes WASN’T important to them, it was just that other things were even MORE important. (Or, maybe, more distracting.)
It wasn’t until I began to see patient’s in their homes that I really began to see the bigger picture. I had patient’s that were dealing with huge stressors in their life that they had neither the energy nor motivation to move diabetes to the top of the list. And now, I understood why.
So, in upcoming content, I intend to discuss the role of stress in our health management and how to manage stress so that it does not interfere with us achieving our health goals. This subject has hit very close to home this year, so I am excited to share with you things that have worked for me. This will be my first topic.
Sadly, for some though, it is really true that diabetes is just not all that important to them. They don’t have any major life stressors going on, they are either just in denial, or sometimes, don’t seem to care. I recently asked a patient what was his biggest hurdle in managing his diabetes and his answer was “Me, I’m my biggest problem, because I really don’t give a d*mn.” I thanked him for his honesty, lol!
Here is a sad fact about, particularly Type 2, diabetes. While unhealthy choices may lead to significant future complications, often, it doesn’t provide immediate detriment that is sufficient enough for many to act. Nothing hurts, nothing is bleeding. Sure, you may feel lousy overall, but that often is not enough to get folks to take diabetes more seriously. The reason many aren’t managing diabetes is NOT simply a lack of knowledge. I have given quality education to thousands of people, but it is not always acted on. Who of us really doesn’t know that the key to managing Type 2 is healthy living? We all KNOW that, but so many do not act on it for one reason or another.
So, in upcoming content, I intend to discuss the role that negative emotions / attitudes, like denial and apathy play in management of our health, why it may be happening, and how to overcome it.
Finally, in speaking of apathy, I realize that apathy often comes from those who have made significant effort in managing their diabetes and have been unsuccessful (this is also very often true of weight loss). I often hear “nothing I do works, so why bother?” Even those who have been successful at one point in managing their diabetes (or weight) have experienced difficult or even traumatic life events that have gotten them off course. Reviving the diligence that we once may have had seems to be an insurmountable task. Why? Because sometimes, we just get burned out.
So, in upcoming content, I intend to discuss the role that burnout plays in management of our health, how to overcome it and become motivated again.
Once again, here is my upcoming focus:
- Stress management and our health
- Overcoming denial apathy about our health
- Dealing with health “burnout” and becoming motivated again
These are very complex topics. I think that the behavioral component of managing health is the biggest hurdle to overcome. Sure, I can teach you how to eat healthy. But how do I actually get you to do it if: 1) you are going through so much stress that you cannot handle another area to focus on 2) if you see no benefit to doing so, or 3) you’ve done it for so long and you have just gotten burned out.
I do not claim to be an expert in mental health. However, I have often felt many of these emotions and have worked through them with so many people with similar issues. I will share some of the amazing resources I have found and use to manage my own stressors, stay motivated and pick myself up again when I feel like I can’t go any more.
Now, many of you that follow this page are highly motivated and stay on track well. But might you have a friend or family member that is having a hard time managing their health? I can tell you now that no matter how much you approach them with logic about how healthy living will benefit them, some may still not respond. Often, we feel like the way to handle this is to then threaten the friend or family member with the knowledge about all of the terrible things that could happen to them if they don’t change. Have you noticed that this usually doesn’t work either? So this new content will help us with new approaches to overcome these obstacles.
In fact, I will be building a new page on this site for behavioral health management. So stay tuned for good things to come. It’s going to take me a bit to write this new content because it is very complex. In fact, conquering the behavioral side of health management is FAR more complex than the knowledge about how to actually do it. This content will be harder to compose than anything I have previously worked on. So, bear with me as I want to provide you with quality, useful content.
Wishing you continued health and happiness!