If you have never experienced a feeling of being burned out then you are a rare and extremely lucky breed. Can you imagine living with a chronic condition such as Diabetes, Hypertension, High Cholesterol and others? These conditions are essentially a life sentence. It’s like being a good parent; you work 24/7 for the rest of your life. No holidays. A full time job with no salary.
“A chronic disease like diabetes inflicts a heavy load,” says B. Hatipoglu an endocrinologist at the Cleveland Clinic. “One can carry the load only so long before fatigue hits. It can be exhausting to take care of a chronic disease daily, because it doesn’t stop.” Quite often
The answer to living with this 24/7 job is not avoiding your medication, exercises, recommended diet and laboratory work because such a choice will lead to complications such as a stroke, kidney damage, heart attack, blindness and a tall list of negatives that may even worsen your plight.
Many people with chronic diseases are familiar with the feeling of just throwing caution to the wind and living life the way they want to, just letting themselves go and damn the consequences but quite too often the price to pay is extremely dear. Probably as costly as taking your eyes off your child; you will wake up one morning to realize you may have created a monster.
Together we can develop a blue-print to avoid a burnout from living with a chronic disease and this runs through other aspects of life.
- It all starts in your mind
- The mind is extremely powerful and without roping it in, we stand a big risk of failing in our quest to stay healthy.
- We need to think long term and realize that all that we have been advised to do will help us live long fulfilling lives. Consistency is paramount and in the unlikely event that you go off course remember that you need to get back in line.
- Variety is always golden
- Doing the same things everyday is a recipe for burnout; taking a 30 minute walk in the park may be exciting initially but after a few weeks to months the thought of the walk could rival listening to a comedian who has long gone past his best days.
- Spice things up, visit a gym sometimes, join a group to walk, change your route, and inject some weight training into your schedule. Talk to other people and get new ideas.
- Set your priorities
- Quite often we want to get everything started at once and we may only be setting ourselves up for failure. Remember your long New Year resolution list? How many did you get right?
- The most efficient way to reach your realistic health goals is to make small healthy choices daily; pick the two or three most important points e.g. taking your medication daily and checking your blood pressure or blood sugar regularly. Gradually incorporate exercises and the eating plan. It is great to know that invariably one good choice always follows another so you increase your chances of not feeling overwhelmed by adding on gradually.
- However remember that you should make these changes as soon as possible to avoid complications.
- Identify bottlenecks
- As humans we love to fret. I have invited people for a walk only to be told they don’t have the right attire etc. and sometimes it’s just because they want to be seen in the most fashionable outfit. Yes make sure you are in something comfortable and definitely wear a good pair of trainers but don’t spend a year waiting to save up to buy designer costume or to sign up with the most expensive gym. You will only be wasting time and jeopardizing your health. Get what is needed; lace up your boots and start walking while you look for frills.
- If getting the right food is your biggest challenge and you don’t have time to cook or the canteen at work serves inappropriate meals then consider cooking in large batches over the weekend (sometimes we are even busier during the weekends), freeze (if you are lucky to have electricity) and reheat and even pack your meal to work.
- Get support from a friend/family
- An exercise friend or buddy or a diet friend goes a long way. Things appear easier whenever we partner with someone. Also we are motivated to do extra because we do not want to disappoint our buddy or that extra pair of eyes that is looking over our shoulders.
- Choose a buddy or buddies who should not necessarily have a similar disease as you but someone who has your welfare at heart and preferably is health conscious.
Remember living with a chronic disease such as diabetes and hypertension is no walk in the park; you did not apply for this “job” though in some instances your lifestyle may have contributed but don’t give up, you have what it takes to beat a burn out and live a long, happy and healthy life.
AS ALWAYS LAUGH OFTEN, WALK AND PRAY EVERYDAY AND REMEMBER IT’S A PRICELESS GIFT TO KNOW YOUR NUMBERS (blood sugar, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, BMI)
Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
Moms’ Health Club/Health Essentials (firstname.lastname@example.org)
*Dr Essel is a medical doctor, holds an MBA and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy and fitness nutrition.
Thought for the week – “This Father’s Day, show love to your father or male role model by giving him a GIFT of a medical examination/screening.”
* Diabetes Focus -2014