Resilience Isn't a Static Thing
Resilience makes managing life with type 2 diabetes easier. It gives us the ability to respond effectively when the unexpected happens.
But resilience isn’t a static thing. You don’t just get resilient one day and then have it whenever you need it. It’s much more variable than that. Being resilient means you respond to your current environment and your response is productive and appropriate — no matter what life happens to throw at you.
You can build resilience
Resilience takes skill. Because of this, you can train yourself to become more resilient. By that I mean you'll be better able to deal with stressful and unexpected situations. Like an unanticipated change to your daily routine. Or a delay in getting your prescription refill. Or starting to feel a symptom, like tingling in the feet, that might signal that a complication is coming on.
With resilience, you can face these kinds of challenges straight on. You can consider your options, make a decision, and take action.
Educating yourself about type 2 diabetes will help you build resilience. Learn how diabetes affects your body and what you can do to manage it. Find out how you can respond when something doesn’t go according to plan. With this knowledge, you’ll know your options before you face a crisis.
Planning and practicing in advance will also help you build resilience. If you live somewhere that is prone to hurricanes or wildfires put together an emergency kit and evacuation plan before the season begins. When planning travel, put together a Plan B in case you get stuck somewhere unexpectedly. With these kinds of preparations, you won’t have to start from square one in the midst of an emergency.
You can’t anticipate every possible situation
If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that the unexpected can always happen. No one can simply think of all the possible ways diabetes management (and life) can go sideways. Some disruptions and roadblocks are more common than others. Those are the ones you can think through in advance more easily.
Another thing this year has made clear is that it’s likely we’ll all experience being overwhelmed at some point. The stress and strain of dealing with the unexpected again and again and again will at some point just feel like too much to take on. When this happens be kind to yourself. No one is successful at dealing with every challenge all the time.
Do your best in the situation
All that you can do when faced with a challenging situation is your best at that moment and in that place. You won’t always have the best response possible. But you can draw on your knowledge and preparations to do the best you can at that moment.
If you find yourself in a situation that is just too much to handle, try to find a way to take a break and come back to it. Go for a 10-minute walk. Have a cup of coffee. Sleep on it. Rarely do you really have to take care of something right this minute, with the exception of having to treat a hypoglycemia episode or being told to evacuate.
Resilience, like any skill, needs to be attended to regularly. It’s yet another thing you’ll need to spend time and energy on in order to maintain your health and wellbeing.
Some things you can do regularly to build and maintain resilience include:
- Keep learning about type 2 diabetes and how to manage your health
- Maintain a problem-solving attitude
- Anticipate and plan for the situations and emergencies that you can
- Accept that your efforts won’t be perfect
- Be kind to yourself when overwhelm happens or mistakes are made
- Acknowledge that you are making your best effort
But most of all, remember that you are not alone. Reach out for help for others when you need to. That may be the most resilient thing you can do.
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