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Extinguishing the Fire, Preventing the Burn

Are you tired of being diabetic? So tired that no matter how you drag yourself to face the day to get on the daily grind of eating right, exercising, and taking your meds, your physical, as well as spiritual and emotional selves just won’t budge anymore. Everything that surrounds you seems desperate, and negativity has taken over your once cheery and hopeful disposition. Take heed, you may be suffering from diabetic burnout.

Defined as the loss of interest and zeal about life and the state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion due to extended stress duration, burnout per se may appear to totally suck the life out of a person. Help Guide explains that a burnt out person may feel constant helplessness and cynicism.

Dr. Agnes Bueno, professor of psychiatry, explains that “Burnout is a very western concept and people who usually suffer from burnout are the ones who work for long hours such as pilots, doctors, airport comptrollers, and others who are exposed to lengthy and very demanding jobs.” Dr. Bueno adds that, “You are burnt out if you cannot perform at par anymore.

What was once your expertise, you cannot do it the way you did it before and up to the optimum.”

The burnt sugar
Because maintenance and cure for diabetes doesn’t just happen overnight using a one-shot, quick-acting pill, people with diabetes may sometimes feel what experts call the diabetic burnout. Although not all diabetics experience throngs of haywire emotions due to burnout, more often than not, Diabetes Explained says, patients suffer from the daily toil of managing the condition and the uncertainty it entails.

Dr. Bueno adds that although the concept of burnout does not directly apply to the Filipinos because of it being a Western ideology, “diabetic burnout” may be defined as the desire or the decision of the patient to finally stop following his doctor’s orders and discontinuing treatments and medications to the point of complications and further deterioration.

While William H. Polonsky, certified diabetes educator, psychologist, and author of the book Diabetes Burnout—What To Do When You Can’t Take It Anymore, defines “diabetic burnout” as that instance or the offshoot of the long period of time devoted for the maintenance of diabetes. It is “what happens when you feel overwhelmed by diabetes and by the frustrating burden of diabetes self-care.”

“Too often, people who have diabetes get discouraged and don’t follow the treatment plan they’ve developed with their healthcare providers,” explicates Bobbie Hasselbring in the article Avoiding Burnout on a Diabetes Treatment Plan. “Many reasons keep people from sticking with their treatment. Some may not like the side effects of medications, others may feel discouraged because they don’t feel better right away or they are doubtful that any treatment will help.”

To the Rescue
Patience is key and it won’t hurt to take note of these tips and strategies to help you breeze through diabetes with a smile on your face: Understand every bit of your treatment plan. What’s it for and what it can do to you?

One key word in this process of acceptance is patience. “You may be trying to change several behaviors at once. It is hard to change how you eat, for instance. Congratulate yourself for each healthy step you take,” says Hasselbring.

Involve your family and friends in your daily regimen
“Physical and emotional support from family and friends are needed,” suggests Dr. Bueno. Given this, you may opt to ask the assistance of your siblings to remind you of your glucose testing schedule should you forget. You may also request your close friends to keep track of the food that you eat or order when you go out. Or you may start a pact with them that you and your friends will eat healthier when you are with each other’s company.

Experiment and try new healthy recipes
The internet does not exist for nothing. At the click of a button, hundreds and thousands of healthy recipes can pop up in no time. Make sure you get them from reliable websites though. Try one new recipe each day and by the end of the week you are your own personal chef, just healthier.

Make exercising fun.
Exercising is not just about running or weights. Sign-up for a fun-filled circuit training with your best bud and work your way to fitness sans the boredom. You may also work it out and have fun using Nintendo Wii, which also has Gold’s Gym’s workout program that’s pretty much like the real thing, sweat and all.

Create an alternative life.
Living a life with diabetes can sure take a toll on your happiness and zeal for living, but fret not. Dr. Bueno suggests that you develop or create an alternative life. Doing this may take your mind off being diabetic and will make you focus more on the things that you love the most.

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