How to Safely Get Away From Your Diabetes


When you have a disease that changes your life for months, years, or even decades with no cure in sight, it’s easy to feel like you can’t handle it all. To feel powerless, worn out, and just DONE.

Too many people with type 1 diabetes feel like this, and it leads to diabetes burnout. People often give up on all ways of taking care of their diabetes because of this emotional black hole. This kind of behaviour can quickly kill someone with T1D. If you don’t get insulin for a few hours, your body will go into DKA, and if you don’t get treatment for a few more hours, you’ll be in a life-threatening condition.

If you’ve ever felt like you were heading towards diabetic burnout, you’ve probably read a few articles about how to set goals, connect with others, and change how you think about diabetes to prevent burnout. Even though these things can help you stay in a better frame of mind to deal with the daily challenges of diabetes, they usually aren’t enough to pull you back from the edge if you’re already there.

What if the answer to giving up on diabetes control because of burnout is to take a break from it before you burn out?

Don’t give up, but take a break

Have you ever been so sick of your job that you couldn’t stop thinking about quitting? What happens if you instead go on vacation? You get some time to relax and do other things you enjoy. Then, when you go back to work, you’re refreshed, energised, and ready to take on the problems that were making you crazy last week.

The same idea applies to taking care of diabetes. Instead of “giving up” diabetes for good, take a short break. You won’t be able to stop taking care of your diabetes, but you can take a break to recharge and feel better so you can take better care of yourself when you go back to your normal life.

So, how can you take a break from diabetes without putting yourself at risk for major problems? The trick is to pay attention to the parts of managing diabetes that are making you feel bad.

You can eat what you want, whenever you want.

A few months after I was diagnosed with diabetes, one of the first times I cried about it was at my graduation party. I was looking at a huge spread of food at a table. Heavy on carbs, pasta. Desserts with sugar. Fast food. I wanted to have it all, but I couldn’t.

I am still very careful about what I eat. I know that my body needs better food than the average person’s because diabetes is hurting it so much. Not only that, but I also need to eat things with a low GI and the right amount of carbs to keep my sugars in the right range. It wears you out. And this is by far the most stressful thing about having diabetes in my life.

I throw out all ideas about good, low-carb food and eat whatever I want. Can I have a whole pizza? Donuts? Yes, thank you!

Even though I know that these kinds of food are bad for my general health, I also know that they are great for my mental health. I also know how to count the number of carbs I eat and check my blood sugar after a meal. So, even though I’m taking a break from the main part of managing my diabetes—my diet—I’m still taking steps to keep my blood sugars from going up to dangerous amounts.

Best of all, after a few days of overeating, I remember why I try to eat well. My stomach hurts, I feel “blah,” and my blood sugar goes up and down like a roller coaster. This is usually enough to get me back on track and back to eating for better health.

Skip the Gym and Do What Makes You Happy 

While food is my Achilles heel when it comes to diabetes, for many people, exercising is what causes them worry.

It’s time to take a break from exercising if you feel like you’re going to burn your workout attire and glucose metre. So instead of going to the gym, do something you genuinely enjoy. A good movie, playing with your dog, or going out with friends are a few examples of what that might be. whatever brings joy to your soul.

Expect your blood sugar levels to be affected by the reduced activity, and be ready with greater basal rates or correction, but otherwise, put any concerns about diabetes to the side. You may pretend to be a human for a moment. And people occasionally get unmotivated and lazy.

Spend a week doing the things that make you feel human, then use the ensuing energy to hit the gym again on Monday.

Remove emotions from the numbers

Sometimes going on vacation just means altering your mental routine rather than your physical one.

It can be exhausting to constantly evaluate your performance based on the readings on your CGM or BG metre. It’s a never-ending barrage of criticism. There are two, three, or a hundred bad readings for every positive one that makes you smile. It’s time to take a break from caring if you discover that you tend to be overly critical of your numbers and you’re having trouble managing your diabetes as a result.

Make a deadline for yourself and declare out loud, “This week, I don’t care what my numbers look like.” Tell your relatives and friends about your trip if they enjoy keeping an eye on you and scrutinising your financial decisions with the same rigour that you do. Ask them to keep their opinions to themselves, or even better, give you a high-five for once being a little forgiving of yourself.

Your numbers will need to be corrected and adjusted as necessary during the course of the following week, but other than that, consider them like a meaningless symbol. Refrain from worrying about what you did wrong or how that reading will impact your health in five years. Take a moment to relax and tell yourself that you are on vacation and that you don’t need to worry.

You might even discover that taking a “don’t care” vacation helped you take better care of yourself once you get back from it. Use some of the techniques you employed to distract yourself from that concern in the future to lower your diabetes performance anxiety. 

Every Vacation Has To End

Naturally, the length of time makes all the difference between simply practising poor diabetes control and taking a holiday from managing your diabetes.

The trick is to establish a time frame for your trip before you leave. If we didn’t have to, none of us would go back from a fantastic vacation to a demanding work. Although managing your diabetes isn’t glamorous or entertaining, it is your responsibility and an essential one. Give yourself a vacation that is long enough to recharge your batteries, but not so long that you lose track of how to handle it or risk developing long-term issues.

If you’re having trouble readjusting to everyday life, it might already be too late to take a diabetes vacation and prevent burnout. If so, you should start looking for assistance to get your diabetes management back on track. 

And the next time you experience those familiar emotions of wanting to scream at your diabetes and demand it to go away, consider taking a trip first.

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