As we entered November, most of us diabetes non-profits were ready with our cheerful and engaging ideas for World Diabetes Day, Diabetes Awareness Month, and Giving Tuesday. The nations’ focus quickly turned serious for one of the most divisive elections in history, leaving communities on both sides of the line feeling disempowered, angry, and for many, fearfully unsure of the impact the election would have on their family’s healthcare. Thanksgiving — what can be a time for rejuvenation — instead heightened the stress and weight of division, as many close family circles felt their opposition more than their common ground.
As someone with diabetes, I often feel the decision-making overload and care fatigue that many other patients with diabetes (PWDs) report as a common “side-effect” of managing a chronic condition 24/7. Our PWDs or caretaker roles, in addition to the other hats we wear — parents, friends, partners, employees, concerned citizens, volunteers, etc. — can come under multiple-point stress, especially when the weight of the world becomes heavier. Our health is not simply affected by physical and nutritional factors; social, spiritual, environmental, and mental factors influence our health, our energy levels, our recovery rates, and our stamina.
There can’t be diabetes care without total person care. Focusing only on our diabetes care, or focusing only on current world events, or focusing on any one thing, will soon lead us to imbalance, feeling over-stressed and fatigued. We need to take care of our physical & nutritional states ALONGSIDE the social, spiritual, environmental, & mental components. So, in the spirit of total person care, we wish you a recharging holiday season, with time off to focus on all areas of your health. Your definition of “recharging” could include alone time with a good book, social time with good friends, learning a new recipe, or spending some time in nature. However you recharge, we encourage you to make time for it!
Sometimes, the holidays can be a time of loneliness and depression, so we encourage everyone to spend time creating a self-care plan, know which resources are available, and reach out to chat to a community member on TuDiabetes or EsTuDiabetes if you need a pick-me up at 2:00am from your family’s home out-of-state. Below is a great list of self-care resources; I keep many of these in my back pocket year-round. Warm wishes!
- Our sites TuDiabetes.org (in English) and EsTuDiabetes.org (in Spanish) offer people touched by diabetes a place to turn for information, community and social support on their journey.
- University of Michigan: How To Manage Election-Related Stress
- Everything is Awful and I’m not okay: Questions to Ask Before Giving up (a self-care/crisis management handout)
- 3-Minute Mood Boosters
- Self Care Starter Kit for individuals or community workers
- Crisis Text Line
- Text NAMI to 741-741
- Connect with a trained crisis counselor to receive free counseling
- For anyone in crisis
- 24/7 crisis support via text message
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Lifeline Crisis Chat (text based)
- For anyone in crisis
- Multiple languages available