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Diabetes burnout is a mental state where you just don’t want to deal with it anymore. It looks different for everyone, and everyone manages it differently. I’ve never dealt with the extreme of “not caring” but I have dealt with the little frustrating moments that one could consider “diabetes burnout.”
Related post: What Burnout Looks Like in a Type 1 Diabetic
Diabetes burnout can come from a lot of different thoughts. I can have a thought about my diabetes, something like “Diabetes makes me strong” and then I feel strong or empowered by thinking that thought, and so I do things and create things in my life that prove that diabetes makes me strong. Things like a 5.1% A1c, or even staying consistent with this podcast.
On the other hand, what if I thought something like “Diabetes ruined my life”? That thought would create a different feeling, probably one of despair, depression, overwhelm, or maybe a feeling of being trapped. Maybe it makes you feel like a victim.
The second thought might lead to burnout, while the first wouldn’t.
Tips for Dealing with Diabetes Burnout
- Recognize the thoughts causing your burnout.
- Set up reminders for yourself to practice self-care.
- Curate a list of five things that you enjoy doing and that fill you up, and aim to do at least three of them every single day.
- Do a Thought Download, which just means getting all your thoughts out of your head and onto a piece of paper. When we write down our thoughts, we become aware of them and it’s a lot easier to see for ourselves when a thought we’re thinking is causing problems if it’s written down. Doing this with thoughts about diabetes can be eye-opening especially if you’ve never really taken the time to realize just what your brain is telling you about your diabetes.
- Remember that comparison is the thief of joy. Others’ blood sugars don’t mean anything about you.
- Ask yourself some questions: are you drinking water? Have you been outside today? Are you clenching your jaw, or other muscles? Have you stood up from your desk or your chair in the past hour? Have you looked away from your computer screen or your phone in the past twenty minutes? Are you listening to music that winds you up? Have you done something from your list of self-care practices today?
- Manage your expectations.
- If you’re sad, acknowledge that it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to feel any feeling, as long as you don’t make it mean that there’s something wrong with you.
- We’re all in this together.
- Follow social media influencers with type 1 diabetes. Listen for when they talk about struggling with burnout.
- Maybe you just need some sleep and time to recharge.
- Listen to your body.
- Identify what burnout looks like for you.
- Talk to other diabetics and your doctors if you feel alone.
- Figure out what you need to recharge.
Wins & Fails
Colleen’s Win: I surprised myself with amazing blood sugars through TSA on a recent business trip. The only difference between this trip and others is that I didn’t have Keto Chow before flying. This makes me think I need to cut out KC before flying that early in the morning.
Jessie’s Fail: Jess was sick, had finals, and just completed her first pageant. Her blood sugars have been up and down, and she was managing them okay, but her blood sugar skyrocketed up to 360 mg/dL after getting through the first part of the day. Despite the roller coaster, Jessie performed great in her first-ever pageant!
Hack of the Week
If you’re on an airplane and your Dexcom reads to your phone, you can turn Bluetooth back on after turning airplane mode on. It doesn’t interfere with aircraft instrumentation, and you’ll be able to see your blood sugars a lot easier on your phone than trying to dig out your pump.
This week’s spotlight is on Connor Herrington, a type 1 diabetic I follow on Instagram. His handle is @t1d_teenager and he posts some pretty funny diabetes memes on his page. He’s a JDRF online ambassador in the UK.
In an Instagram post from January 15th, he had this to say:
“Before I took care of my diabetes and mental health T1D took away my life and left me with nothing but pain. I’ve got it harder than most, but loads of people have it worse than me too. I changed my perspective, I was grateful to have T1D and not something more life-threatening, that’s not me saying T1D isn’t serious because it absolutely is but I’m grateful because I can live with it and overcome the obstacles. I could cry about it, I could be negative about it every day, I could give up, I could say it’s not fair, I could seek sympathy but I don’t because nobody cares, life goes on, I had to embrace it, accept it and continue with life.”
It looks like he’s on the Medtronic 670G and he also looks a lot like British actor Thomas Brody-Sangster, who’s been in Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, and The Maze Runner.
You can follow Connor on Twitter and Instagram @t1d_teenager.
Question for You!
Have you experienced diabetes burnout? What have you found helps you, or on the flip side, what things trigger your burnout the most often? Let us know in the comments or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Diabetes Burnout (Beyond Type 1)
- Diabetes Burnout: It Isn’t What You Think It Is (MyGlu)
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Our music is by Joseph McDade. Check out his website here! Our audio wizard is my husband, Tim. He runs his own food blog, Split Appetites.
Want to Read or Listen to More?
- 25 Truth Bombs to Make You Re-Think Type 1 Diabetes
- The Stress Associated with Type 1 Diabetes
- What is Type 1 Diabetes and Why You Should Care
- What Burnout Looks Like in a Type 1 Diabetic
- World Diabetes Day is About Visibility
- What I’ve Learned from 20 Years at Panther Camp
- 4 Things Type 1 Diabetics Have to Watch Out For
- How to React When Family Members Joke About Diabetes
- This is What a Day as a Type 1 Diabetic Looks Like