Many of us around the world are coming up on 3 months (or more) of COVID-quarantining.
For those of us with diabetes, this takes on a very different meaning. Many of our daily routines have been upended, which (in turn) directly affects our diabetes. Eating schedules, food choices, activity levels, and stressors all seem to be in free fall, to name just a few different variables. And all of those have drastic impacts on our blood sugars.
If you’re struggling with unpredictable blood sugars right now, this is a reminder that with everything going on, it’s no wonder that diabetes management is going to feel more challenging. Remember to be patient with yourself and your blood sugars; remember that you are doing a great job.
Additionally, here are a few simple things you can do, each day, to help relieve any of those additional stressors you may be seeing more of lately. These are simple, yet effective ways to quiet those external variables you can’t control and create space for the clarity and peace that's needed right now.
5 Tips to Finding Calm
1. Take a Walk in Nature
Whether it’s a walk in the woods, a light hike up a hillside, or sitting at the beach, nature has profound power to ground us and bring us back into the present moment. Do this alone, and along the way stay focused on the unique characteristics of your surroundings, like the distinct way a tree branch twists outward from its trunk, each different component of a flower, or bird songs in the distance.
2. Practice Deep Breathing
Sit quietly with your eyes closed. Take a few cleansing breaths, exhaling with a bit of force. Begin by inhaling deeply for a count of seven, imagining a white light entering your body from the top of your head. Hold for a count of seven, seeing the light inside intensify, and filling you up. Release the air by making the “s” sound for a count of seven, imagining your stress exiting with your breath as it dissipates into nothingness. Be sure to exhale all your air before beginning the next segment. Do this for ten segments. The calming effect is in keeping the rhythm steady between inhales, exhales, and segments.
3. Listen to the Music
It’s best to do this lying down with your eyes closed. Lyrics tend to bring specific images to mind, so this works better with instrumental or classical music. Allow the melody and dynamics to move your spirit in whatever direction they take you. You might also consider adding in those breathing exercises while listening to the music to connect your breathing rhythms to the rhythms of the music.
4. Move for the Sake of Movement
As with deep breathing, exercise is a great way to get out of your head by placing your attention on the body. It’s amazing how quickly exercise works to quiet the mind because of its rhythmic nature. While you’re moving, try focusing (and thinking) on the exact muscles that are working inside you to make this movement possible. Whether it’s light or intense exercise, focusing on your own movement can quiet those stressors. Plus, you’ll benefit from the rush of mood-boosting endorphins.
5. Make Something You Love
Art has a powerful way of centering the mind and elevating the spirit. It doesn’t matter whether it’s painting, writing, singing, or some other form of creativity. Any creative endeavor will work, like a small home improvement project or planting flowers in the garden. Bringing something new into the world in the present moment helps to keep us from lingering on the past.
Remember, nothing is constant. Even diabetes (which may seem like it is an absolute constant) is not constant -- it’s in flux all the time! Right now -- this current COVID-19 circumstance -- is also not a constant. Be smart, but also be kind. To yourself and your diabetes.