• Fresh Views

    Top 10 Things 2020 Taught Us

    We were happy to see the sun set on 2020! 

    Life is not about how fast you run or how high you climb, but how well you bounce. – Vivian Komori

    It’s been said that “Life is not about how fast you run or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.” That pretty much sums up 2020! We’ve all learned to “bounce” through the multitude of challenges before us this past year. Yet, through it all there were many positives that we @AFreshPOVforYou personally realized during those unprecedented days. And one of those positives was celebrating the second birthday of this blog!

    WHO ARE WE? 

    If you are new to our blog, we are solution-focused diabetes care and education specialists. We are passionate about doing diabetes care and education differently. Too much of life is spent focusing on problems. Instead, we believe in turning attention to possibilities, opportunities, and a fresh vision for the future. We see the benefit in stepping alongside our clients as “think partners” to focus on what’s important to them, what’s already going well, and build upon that to reach their goals so that they may live life to the fullest. We invite you to join us in doing the same if this is a new paradigm for you. We are advocates for person-centered, strengths-based language, and believe that self-compassion is essential when living with a chronic condition. 

    OUR MISSION

    As we welcome the new year, our Mission continues to be that We guide healthcare professionals in taking a solution-focused approach to practice to enable clients with diabetes to embrace possibilities, opportunities, and a fresh vision for the future.

    Our interest and passion around taking a solution-focused approach to practice (and life), means acknowledging what has gone well, acknowledging how that success was achieved, then identifying how to do more of that and build upon that moving forward.

    TOP 10 THINGS THAT 2020 TAUGHT US (in no particular order)

    1. Importance of connection with others and having support. We don’t take the human touch for granted after living through 2020. We learned that connection and support comes in many different forms. We found creative easy ways to Keep Friends Close, as well as family, through Zoom virtual happy hours, virtual graduations, virtual birthday celebrations; hugs through windows; and drive by celebrations. Find 5 ways to guide your clients to engage in ongoing diabetes support here.
    1. Do hard things early in the day to feel accomplished. We both work the best in the morning. While we’ve known this, it was never quite so clear as it was in 2020. We did the “hard” work early in the day when our minds were freshest, so that we felt accomplished. The stressful days left us tired and spent by days end, and after dinner to help us relax and “escape” we could often be found indulging in Netflix, Prime, and others (who knew you needed so many streaming channels?). We identified a time when things were working well (in the morning) and tried to do more of it. When working with clients, try to identify when they think the clearest and encourage them to focus on their diabetes at that time. Help them identify their “Exceptions”, those times when things are going well. If your client wears a CGM, help them identify a quiet time to retrospectively review their CGM reports to identify patterns and trends and develop 1-2 small behavior changes to move then towards their goals by “doing more of what is working well.”
    1. We CAN be healthy. While many have gained the “COVID 19 pounds”, and may have been over indulging during the past several months, we learned that we could continue to adopt healthy habits, even during a stay at home order. Deb likes and has been focusing on the Mediterranean eating plan that includes lots of healthy fruits and vegetables with less red meat. She also decided to go back to using her WW (formerly Weight Watchers) app to help her track her food, activity and sleep. Tami purchased an under desk elliptical machine to help keep her active during the week, and spent time enjoying great outdoor walking trails on the weekends while social distancing. While in ways it has been challenging being home so much, we learned that it can also be healthy. When eating at home there’s more control over the ingredients added to recipes. There also may be a little more time to prepare meals, or do “meal prep” for the week. Read more tips here.
    1. There are many possibilities, we just have to identify them. With restaurants closed and outside entertainment challenging, we quickly began to think of out of the box possibilities. Deb and her husband decided to have a “car picnic” after they picked up wine at a local winery. From the front seat of their car they could see the peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains while enjoying a picnic lunch and a cool glass of Rose. On the work front, taking a solution-focused approach to diabetes care and education can be a fresh new start and bring possibilities to light. Gather some tips from our blog here.
    1. Keep a mindset focused on finding solutions (rather than focusing on problems). We learned that in matters big and small, diabetes-related or not, by embracing a mindset that focuses on solutions, and channeling energy into leveraging strengths and possibilities, we can cultivate a solution-focused mindset. One that envisions success. One which helps manage stress. In our blog you’ll find 7 strategies you can use to step alongside your clients and support them in embracing a solution-focused mindset and managing stress.
    1. Acceptance and gratitude. While social distancing and stay at home orders in 2020 kept us from living out our plans for the year, we eventually came to accept that, and focus on what we could do and find gratitude and happiness in that. Read our tips on developing acceptance as a personal strength and helping cultivate it in others in our blog here, and tips to get started with daily gratitude practice here.
    1. The joy in giving. With life moving at a little slower pace, Tami found joy in giving to others. Small surprise “porch drops” on family and friends’ porches to brighten their day. Dropping by bags of food to be distributed to those in need in the community. She even took up baking bread as surprise drop-offs to those who would enjoy it. With the news coverage of families without food, Deb’s family and her workplace donated to www.feedingamerica.org on multiple occasions to support those in need. Sparking Joy in life and in diabetes education is an important element of our mission.
    1. Active listening is critical. With our daily Zoom meetings and family gatherings we learned that listening is crucial. It can be challenging to not “talk over” people when the virtual conversation includes many individuals. We couldn’t have “side bar” conversations unless they were by text or personal chat. We couldn’t read body language easily. Read more about how listening in a solution-focused practice can support the process of becoming a “think partner” with your clients.
    1. Resilience can be developed. How many virtual conferences or meetings have you attended in 2020? We attended more than we can count, and who knew just how successful they could be! While we missed the ability to be face-to-face with our friends and colleagues, we appreciated the opportunity to continue to learn and conduct business. We just kept going! That is what resilience is all about! Learn how you can build resilience in our blog here.
    1. Power of humor. How could we have survived the past year without humor! Laughing with friends online, reading silly memes on social media, and trying not to take ourselves too seriously. One of our dear colleagues and friends always provides us with comical relief and was no exception in 2020. You can sample our thoughts on humor in our blog here.
    Virtual happy hour laughs!

    2020 was a good teacher! Let’s embrace 2021 with New Year’s “solutions”, rather than “resolutions”

    Our challenge to you as we embark on this new year still facing struggles and uncertainty, is what if, instead of making New Year’s Resolutions this year (which require change and “fixing problems”), you instead guide your clients (and yourself) in making New Year’s Solutions? Who doesn’t like a solution after all? One way to identify solutions is to focus on things that have gone well in the past, and pinpoint how you can do more of that (rather than trying to change). One of the benefits of focusing on what went well, is that you can do it every day. Instead of dwelling on what you didn’t accomplish today, identify what was successful and try to do that “one thing” again tomorrow.

    WHAT’S TO COME? 

    Throughout 2020 we launched a series of posts, each revolving around a “word of the week” to inspire solution-focused thinking and practice. We embrace those words in practice and hope that you’ve found them impactful in your conversations too. What will we write about in 2021? Here are some of our ideas that we may write more about in the months to come: practical coaching tips; building your solution-focused question library; solution-focused behavior change; and incorporating solution-focused principles in a technology-enabled world. We’d love to hear from you, and learn about what you are interested in learning regarding incorporating a solution-focused approach in  your practice!

    We hope that  2021 will be kind to all of us and that together we can learn how to help people with diabetes live their best life!

    We welcome anyone interested in our approach to Subscribe to our blog and we’ll email you when a new post is published!

    If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, when you subscribe to our blog, we’ll send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

  • Fresh Views

    More Love in 2021

    The sun shining brightly on the United States Capitol

    Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

     As we started this new year that is 2021, we were hoping for something better and bright, hoping for a vaccine for COVID-19, and hoping for change. While we had planned a blog post for today that allowed us to look back on 2020 and share what we learned, we decided it best to take a brief pause, to allow everyone the necessary time to reflect on the events that took place at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.

    We, at A Fresh POV for You are sending love and light into the world today and we hope that 2021 will bring all of us more love and less hate.

    We’ll be back next time to share our thoughts on 2020!

  • Fresh Views

    Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season from us here at A Fresh POV for You!

    Tami’s “grandkitty” Starlight 
    (No kitties allowed on the tables or counters, but…she wanted a fresh point of view, and who could resist the cuteness!)

    We’re taking a couple weeks off but will be back in the new year with reflections on what 2020 taught us! We’ll also return with more fresh points of view to guide and support healthcare professionals in a solution-focused approach so clients can embrace possibilities, opportunities, and a fresh vision for the future.

    We wish everyone a very happy and healthy holiday season. We look forward to 2021 with new hopes and dreams!

  • Fresh Views

    WELL-LIVED: Today’s word to jump-start solution-focused practice

    A life lived with purpose and growth is a life well-lived. – Lisa Layden

    As 2020 is drawing to a close, we find ourselves reflecting, “Was the year well-lived despite the chaos of the pandemic?” Admittedly, the first response was “no”, as it’s easy to focus on the social distancing, not spending in-person time with those we love, stay at home orders, loved ones with Covid-19, and the list goes on. BUT, upon deeper reflection actually, YES, there are many positives that have come out of these unusual, unprecedented, stressful and anxious days. 

    If you’ve followed our blog, you know that our interest and passion revolves around taking a solution-focused approach to practice (and life), which means acknowledging what has gone well, acknowledging how you achieved that success, then identifying how to do more of that and build upon that moving forward.

    TODAY’S WORD IS WELL-LIVED

    Today we’re sharing with you 4 strategies that have helped us to declare 2020 well-lived. These are strategies that we plan to continue to embrace through the pandemic and beyond so we can continue to declare that even through challenging times life has been well-lived.

    1- Be still, be present.  During weeks of stay at home orders and working remotely, we’ve spent MUCH more time being present, living in the moment, and pausing to fully appreciate our surroundings and backyard spaces. In doing so, we saw many things we otherwise would likely have missed while zipping through life: hummingbirds in both of our backyards (who knew!), a baby bunny that would sit by Tami’s feet and eat when she was in her “outdoor office”, spectacular sunsets, and then the shift to brilliant fall leaves.

    A socially-distanced hike in Bernheim Forest in Kentucky

    2- Surround yourself with things that bring you joy. This past year more than ever we’ve appreciated the importance of this concept. It doesn’t have to be something big, just something as simple as the bright flowers Tami planted outside her kitchen window that she’d see when she passes by during the day.

    3- Find laughter in some way each day. Laughter is good for your health! You can learn more about that in our blog post here . We have intentionally found something to make us laugh each day, whether a GIF, a meme, a funny YouTube video, a Facebook post from our friend Lorena, a cat in a box…you get the idea.

    Tami’s son’s kitty Starlight        
     Deb’s kitty Nike enjoys a little “bubbles”

    4- Want what you have.  As you know, we were avid travelers prior to the pandemic, always in search of a new fresh view and looking forward to what’s next. However, these last 9 months we have embraced the attitude of “want what we have”. Being grateful for exactly what we have. Deb added Christmas lights and heaters to her backyard this year so she can enjoy at home, outdoor dining this holiday season. But she is most grateful that some of her kids have spent time at home this year when they would have normally been living out of town and even out of state.

    Diana and Deb enjoying a sunny winter day in Apple Hill, Placerville, CA

    We look forward to sharing a few more learnings and reflections that the year has brought us personally in our January 13, 2021 blog. 

    EACH WEEK WE INVITE READERS TO PARTICIPATE IN A SOLUTION-FOCUSED CHALLENGE… As you close out the year with your clients with diabetes, we challenge you to spend a few minutes with them reflecting on 2020 and identifying one, two or more things big or small that have helped them live well this past year.

    We welcome anyone interested in our approach to Subscribe to our blog and we’ll email you when a new post is published!

    If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, when you subscribe to our blog, we’ll send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

  • Fresh Views

    GRATITUDE: Today’s word to jump-start solution-focused practice

    Gratitude turns what we have into enough. – Aesop

    Heart-shaped fall leaves in Tami’s yard that she acknowledged in gratitude

    In this season of Thanksgiving in the midst of the pandemic surge, we are being intentional in practicing gratitude – reminding ourselves of all that we have to be grateful for…including YOU, our readers and followers! The timing seemed perfect to focus on gratitude practices as part of taking a solution-focused approach to interactions with clients, leveraging things that they’re already doing well to build upon to generate solutions to realize future success.

    Do you think about gratitude during your daily routine? Is it a habit you practice? Is it a practice you encourage with your clients?

    TODAY’S WORD IS GRATITUDE

    The simple definition of gratitude is “a feeling of thankful appreciation for favors or benefits received; thankfulness.”  But the practice of gratitude means so much more.

    Gratitude is good for health

    Practicing gratitude is powerful. While the relationship is not fully understood, positive emotions such as expressing gratitude, are linked to healthier lifestyle choices. And healthy lifestyle choices including healthy eating and being active are in turn linked to overall health. According to the American Heart Association, several clinical trials show that engaging in a practice of gratitude can lower blood pressure and help the immune system. It’s also been noted that grateful people have healthier eating habits, are more physically active, have improved sleep, are less likely to smoke and abuse alcohol, and have higher rates of taking medications as prescribed. Several studies suggest that gratitude can decrease stress and anxiety by activating the areas in the brain that release feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine. It’s difficult to feel sorry for yourself or feel down if you’re practicing gratitude.

    Beautiful mountain scenery near Mt. Charleston, Nevada

    Here are 8 ways to help develop daily gratitude habits in this season of Thanksgiving: 

    1. Have gratitude reminders. These are simple cues to remind you to focus on gratitude daily. Maybe it’s an alarm on your phone, a bracelet or wristband, a photo, or a magnet. And with that reminder, pause, take a breath and focus on being grateful in that moment.
    2. Keep a gratitude journal. We both have found this to be a good personal practice to express gratitude more readily and find things to be more grateful for. Some log entries in their journal weekly, and others daily. Our personal goal is to identify at least 3 things daily for which we’re grateful. While the goal is to write in the journal daily, sometimes life happens and weeks may go by without an entry, but we pick right back up with our entries. Even if we don’t write it down, we still try to practice mindfulness and pause and be grateful when we see or experience something that brings us joy. 
    3. Notice the beauty in nature each day. When taking a recharge break sitting in her back yard a few days ago, Tami noticed stunning heart-shaped redbud leaves falling. She looked around her and realized she was surrounded by “hearts”, prompting her to practice gratitude. Deb was visiting her son recently and enjoyed a beautiful hike out in nature near Mt. Charleston, Nevada and was not only grateful to be in nature but also to be spending time with her family.
    4. Start a gratitude box. Keeping a box (jar, album, folder, or whatever works for you) filled with notes, pictures, and moments you are grateful for can bring a boost when needed. 
    5. Voice or write down one (two, or three) good things that happened in your day. This is a practice Tami uses routinely with her clients to turn the focus to what’s going well.  She uses this as well on the home front with her family. In these stressful days it’s so easy to focus on all the chaos in the world. This mindful gratitude practice helps to refocus on the good things rather than the challenges of the day.
    6. Use gratitude apps. There are a number of apps with a range of capabilities including sending reminders, sharing uplifting thoughts, and organizing memories for which you are grateful.
    7. Reach out to a family member or friend via call, text, video chat, email, or an old-fashioned hand written note to let them know how much you appreciate them or to compliment them. 
    8. Post  quotes, thoughts, and images that remind you to be grateful. Tami’s desk has an array of colorful post-it notes with such on them. On her home refrigerator can be found pictures with family and friends that bring her joy, along with positive affirmations. Deb has a wall of picture tiles in her entry-way that remind her of happy experiences with family and friends that she’s grateful for.

    EACH WEEK WE INVITE READERS TO PARTICIPATE IN A SOLUTION-FOCUSED CHALLENGE… This week, we challenge you to support your clients in developing their own gratitude practices. In addition to the ideas above, here are 3 guidelines you can challenge them with:

    1. Find a daily time to practice gratitude and try to be consistent. Maybe it’s when you get up in the morning. Maybe it’s before you go to bed at night. Maybe it’s when you’re exercising.
    2. Write what you feel. Don’t censor it.  
    3. Refrain from making the list repetitive. Be specific, finding new ways to approach gratitude.

    We wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! Even though you may not be with the family and friends you typically celebrate with, let’s all be grateful for what we have today.

    We welcome anyone interested in our approach to Subscribe to our blog and we’ll email you when a new post is published!

    If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, when you subscribe to our blog, we’ll send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

  • Fresh Views

    RESILIENCE: Today’s word to jump-start solution-focused practice

    World Diabetes Day 2020 theme is the Nurse and Diabetes

    “Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.” ― Gever Tulley

    Can you believe we find ourselves in the middle of November already? November is diabetes awareness month and the activities and events that take place create an opportunity to heighten awareness of diabetes care, education, and health outcomes. 

    Each year on November 14 World Diabetes Day (WDD) is celebrated, with global themes to improve access to critical medicine, care and therapeutics. This year’s theme is the role of the nurse in diabetes care. In many parts of the world, the nurse is frequently the healthcare professional that helps manage people with diabetes, especially in remote and rural parts of the world with limited health care access. 

     The goals of this year’s WDD emphasis include the following: 

    • to raise awareness of the critical role nurses play in the lives of people with diabetes 
    • to recognize the need for more nurses
    • for nurses to educate themselves about caring for people with diabetes

    You can read more about this year’s activities here.

    We @AFreshPOVforYou want to acknowledge that nurses are especially important members of the healthcare team in the midst of the global pandemic! We see the role that nurses play every day as front line workers and appreciate all they do! For those providing direct care to people with COVID-19…what resilience to get up every day and go into work…not only facing the challenges of day-to-day work, but often acting also as a support person, and at times a surrogate family member. 

    TODAY’S WORD IS RESILIENCE

    This month-long focus on diabetes awareness, brings about the opportunity to touch on one of the skills essential for people with diabetes to develop in order to live well with diabetes. That skill is resilience. And yes, resilience is a skill. We think about resilience as the ability to “bounce back” after challenging times. It’s having inner strength when life throws you challenges and still being able to hold your head up.  

    People who see themselves as being resilient are typically those who have suffered adversity, faced significant challenges and were able to come out of their struggles stronger and with a different perspective on life. Often those who have faced the biggest challenges are the most resilient. Living with a chronic condition like diabetes means living with chronic stress, and that can make managing diabetes more challenging. That’s where building resilience comes into play. 

    While some believe that one is either resilient or not, research shows that resilience is a skill that can be developed over time with practice and support. And when a diabetes care and education specialist – whether a nurse like Deb, a dietitian like Tami, or other diabetes health-care professional – engages in a solution-focused approach to practice, the ability to build resilience is not only possible, but highly likely.   

    When we reinforce and recognize positive behaviors and strengths, people tend to do more of those things more often. In solution-focused practice we call these “exceptions” or times when problems don’t exist and life is working well. 

    In our recent research we learned about resilience. Participants in our study described resilience as strength, optimism, stubbornness and persistence. People acknowledge they have no choice to move forward with diabetes management. One participant acknowledged “stubbornness and persistence. They seem to pay off (sometimes) I’d say resilience too, but that is a moveable feast and very noticeable when absent.” This comment really made us think about the need to support the development of resilience.

    Cultivating resilience is critical in diabetes, especially in those who are not more naturally inclined to recognize their resilience. A friend of Deb’s that lives with diabetes shared a story where she accidentally gave a very large insulin bolus via her pump, almost her total daily dose of insulin at one time. While completely stressed and nervous, she texted Deb who immediately called her to help her problem solve. She spent the next four hours on the phone while eating more carbs than she had in the previous month, but was determined not to go to the ER. She wanted to take charge and manage the situation. So that stubbornness really paid off.  She never went below 70. With the help of her continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and support, she was able to manage the situation. While the day was extremely stressful, she was able to think through her options and what they meant to her. While this situation is unique and not a frequent occurrence, it does help to identify a need for planning for challenges.  A key focus in resilience is on recognizing stressors and building plans to work through the stressful situations and setbacks and come out on the other side feeling successful, even if it is just one very small success.

    EACH WEEK WE INVITE READERS TO PARTICIPATE IN A SOLUTION-FOCUSED CHALLENGE… This week, we challenge you to support your clients to develop their own resilience. Here are 4 ideas to try:

    1. Start all engagements with positive statements with focus on the individual’s strengths and what’s working well for them (even if it’s not directly related to their diabetes management).
    2. Encourage small personal experiments to gain small wins. Every significant step forward towards goals is a step in the right direction.  Recognize and celebrate these small steps. (Such as increasing time-in-range of 70-180 mg/dL from 50% to 55% or fitting in an extra 5 minutes of activity several days).
    3. Encourage your clients to engage in peer support whether in person or online. Help them learn how to seek support from others living with diabetes. Let them know that when they acknowledge their challenges and talk through them, they will often feel a sense of relief.
    4. Help clients to identify their VIPs (very important people in their life) who they can rely on for support.  Sometimes it may be simply someone to listen to challenges.  But, we also need people in our lives that “challenge us” and encourage us to see our true selves. Often we need different support people to play these different roles.

    We welcome anyone interested in our approach to Subscribe to our blog and we’ll email you when a new post is published!

    If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, when you subscribe to our blog, we’ll send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou

    Deb is an employee of Dexcom but all comments are her own.

  • Fresh Views

    NO JUDGEMENT: Today’s words to jump-start solution-focused practice

    Pumpkin Mania at Transylvania University

    Often people who criticize your life are the same people that don’t know the price you paid to get where you are today. – Shannon Alder

    Halloween is just around the corner! Pumpkin Mania at Transylvania University in Lexington, KY (pictured above) always gets Tami in the holiday spirit and ready to see all of the costumes and trick or treaters on Halloween night. (That’s something we both will miss thanks to the pandemic). Halloween doesn’t have to be all tricks and no treats though for those living with diabetes. Many clients with diabetes have shared over the years the “judgement” they have felt and received from others when choosing to enjoy a small Halloween sweet treat or two. Having heard that again just recently, it prompted us to focus on “No Judgement” in this post. 

    TODAY’S WORDS ARE: NO JUDGEMENT

    Stigma and “judgement” are common around diabetes, and can contribute to stress and feeling shame. Receiving negative and blameful comments and judgement, whether through “a look” or through words, has an impact on motivation and behavior. Each member of the healthcare team can play an important role in serving people with diabetes by taking a respectful and inclusive approach. Clients may not even remember all you said to them in the encounter, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel – if you made them feel good or feel bad, if you made them feel valuable or invaluable, That’s where listening and replying  without judgement comes in. What we say and how we say it matters. 

    In fact one respondent’s comment from a #DSMA Twitter Chat we hosted on World Diabetes Day a couple years back has stuck with us: “Success would look like people realizing what diabetes is and we can stop with these assumptions and jokes about diabetes.” So powerful. (By the way, you may want to read more about insights we gained, published this month in The Diabetes Educator journal: “Applying a Solution-Focused Approach to Life With Diabetes: Insights Gleaned via Twitter ” Volume 46, Issue 5 of The Diabetes Educator.  We’re super excited to have these findings published!)

    Putting “no judgement” with a solution-focused approach into practice
    On the topic of Halloween, Tami recalls a client with diabetes she worked with a few years back that absolutely adored Halloween candy, particularly the fun-size chocolate bars. This individual was struggling with trying to manage her carbs, “stay strong”, and “resist” the treats she encountered every time she stepped into the grocery store. And then there were the “after Halloween” sales to navigate when all the treats were 50% off!  She shared that she had learned if she bought 1 bag and kept it out of sight, rather than in a bowl on the counter where she would be reminded of the chocolates, she wasn’t as tempted, but still found herself reaching for the bag more often than she desired. How would you approach this conversation applying solution-focused principles? Tami, acting as her “think partner” spent some time talking with her – no judgement – acknowledging the positive discovery she made and exploring how she could leverage that. Tami rephrased and included the clients own words, “How were you able to decide to keep the candy bag out of sight? What else can you do?” Building on that, the client decided that when she bought a bag of chocolates, she would put the bag in the freezer and only take out 1 or 2 chocolates at a time to help reduce her temptation further. She reported back that this was hugely helpful. Building on her discoveries and areas where she was having some success, helped to discover a new solution and achieve her goals to fit in a favorite Halloween sweet treat without compromising her blood glucose. 

    If you haven’t seen it yet, JDRF has an excellent easy-to-use Halloween Guide with tips on how to keep the holiday fun and safe, along with carbohydrate counts for popular Halloween candies. Helpful information for “kids of all ages”. 

    So whether you choose a low- or very-low carbohydrate eating approach without sweet treats in the mix, or you choose to fit in and enjoy an occasional sweet treat, we hope these real life examples illustrate how others have found success around managing holiday treats, and how to apply a think partner approach with clients in a “no judgement” way, to find solutions leveraging past successes. 

    EACH WEEK WE INVITE READERS TO PARTICIPATE IN A SOLUTION-FOCUSED CHALLENGE… This week, we challenge you to strive to be mindful and consider how you may convey judgement in both words and actions in client interactions. Think about:

    1. The strength, courage, and time it takes for individuals to carry out their daily diabetes self-care.
    2. Using person-first, strengths-based language. (View a previous blog on language here.)
    3. Practicing cultural humility.

    We welcome anyone interested in our approach to Subscribe to our blog and we’ll email you when a new post is published!

    If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, when you subscribe to our blog, we’ll send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou

    Deb is an employee of Dexcom but all comments are her own.

  • Fresh Views

    LISTENING: Today’s word to jump-start solution-focused practice

    The horn sounds as the ferry leaves the port in Edmonds, Washington

    “Listening is often the only thing needed to help someone.” ~ Unknown

    Listening is a crucial skill to hone in all areas of life and things we do, both personally and professionally.

    TODAY’S WORD IS LISTENING

    In solution-focused practice, listening is a critical component of the therapeutic relationship, and the ability to be a “think partner” to the client alongside you. Listening for what’s important to him/her, what areas they’re having success in that you can build upon, and listening for challenges and concerns they may have. With limited time to spend with a client and guidelines or recommendations deemed important to deliver, it can be easy to forget the human aspect, that the client before you is a person too (read our previous blog post about Being Human here). They may be stressed, overwhelmed, angry, grieving, etc. and looking for support and someone to help them find solutions, rather than receive a list of marching orders. 

    A real world example

    Along those lines, an acquaintance of Tami’s recounted a recent interaction at a cardiologist’s office. This acquaintance who we’ll call Carol had developed heart arrhythmia and was sent by her primary care provider to a cardiologist to be placed on a holter monitor for a month to determine exactly what was going on. Carol arrived at one of the large health system campuses having no idea that it would take her 45 minutes of walking to get from her car to the actual office in the hospital complex (coming in contact with more people that she’d come in contact with since the pandemic began!). She finally arrived at her destination, anxious, stressed, and short of breath, to be whisked in a room, connected to and handed the holter monitor, verbally given numerous instructions, and sent back out the door. She shared with Tami that she felt totally overwhelmed when she left, she wasn’t sure exactly what to do, and was extremely frustrated and scared. It seemed that she was “just another number to get in and out of the office”. That human touch had somehow been lost. She felt as if she was just a “problem” to be “fixed.”There was no listening to her concerns or real opportunity for questions. That said, granted, there are many positive healthcare interactions where listening IS a core part of the interaction, however, this scenario struck us as a timely reminder that in many it is NOT.

    Listening can transform interactions

    Over the last couple of years we’ve shared a variety of tips, techniques, and approaches to embrace and employ a solution-focused approach to practice (rather than one focused on “fixing problems.”) Some solution-focused techniques may seem simple…such as encouraging more listening. That seems simple. However there is a strategy in place. When listening from a solution-focused perspective, you listen in the present state while trying to co-create conversations to help your client visualize their ideal future state, and move in that direction. It means looking for cues and clues to identify strengths. Practitioners call solution-focused discussions the “language of change.” When acting as the “think partner”, the practitioner listens for the clients words and meanings that are focused on change. Once identified, the clients own words are then used to move towards generating solution-focused change. Every answer requires continued listening and is another opportunity to identify a potential move towards solutions. It is simply not possible to implement a solution-focused practice without heightened listening skills.

    EACH WEEK WE INVITE READERS TO PARTICIPATE IN A SOLUTION-FOCUSED CHALLENGE… This week, we encourage you to actively focus on listening before speaking with clients. Your conversations will be different than focusing on diagnosing and treating problems. 

    1. Ensure each meeting with a client is focused on their concerns and what is important to them.
    2. Listen for clues and cues that highlight exceptions, current resources and strengths the client identifies. Maybe open the conversation with a simple question, such as, “What’s been going on in your world?” It’s broad, enables the client to take the conversation where they wish, and can provide insight into other aspects and impacts in their life.
    3. As the conversation evolves, use the clients own language to help the client envision their preferred future

    We welcome anyone interested in our approach to Subscribe to our blog and we’ll email you when a new post is published!

    If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, when you subscribe to our blog, we’ll send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou

    Deb is an employee of Dexcom but all comments are her own.

  • Fresh Views

    COMPASSION: Today’s word to jump-start solution-focused practice

    “Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

    It’s official – summer has come to a close! (At least in our parts of the world). We welcome autumn and the change of seasons it brings. We find that this time of year is a time for reflection for us. A time we often reflect back over the year and look ahead to what the remainder of the year will bring. How about for you?  On the note of fall and reflection, we’re sharing a favorite pic from Scotland in September a few years back with a beautiful reflection of the Highlands in one of the lochs. It’s an image imprinted in our minds! (You can learn more about our perspective on “imprinting” happy memories here.)

    TODAY’S WORD IS COMPASSION

    One topic we think it’s particularly  important to reflect on is COMPASSION. Compassion as a healthcare professional with your clients. Compassion towards others you encounter. Compassion towards yourself. With the recent passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we’re reminded of the impact of compassion. She was someone who had a strong sense of compassion while working to serve the people, a champion for equal rights in all areas of life.

    On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate your level of compassion towards your clients? To others you encounter? To yourself?

    BENEFITS OF COMPASSION

    Evidence suggests that there are actually physical benefits to practicing compassion. People who practice compassion produce less of the “stress hormone” cortisol, experience greater happiness (and thus impart happiness to those around them), and even appear to produce more of a hormone that counteracts the aging process. Good stuff all the way around! 

    The key to developing compassion in your life is to make it a daily practice.

    Compassion can be expressed in many ways; in small acts of kindness, when working with teams at work by respecting everyone’s opinion, and by supporting people with diabetes in their choices.

    4 COMPASSION PRACTICES FOR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS 

    Reflect on recent interactions you have had with your clients with diabetes, and your level of compassion. Compassion in attitude, language, and interactions are core in solution-focused practice. It’s easy to become so focused on delivering pertinent recommendations, in constrained amounts of time, that compassion may unintentionally fall to the way-side.

    In evolving to solution-focused practice, here are 4 different compassion practices that you can perhaps incorporate in interactions with clients:

    1 – Greet each morning with a compassion frame of mind. Take a couple of minutes each morning to focus your mindset on being compassionate. Keep a note where you’ll see it  with affirmations to practice, such as, “Today I am alive. I am going to make the most of it and not waste it. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others. I am not going to get frustrated or think badly about others. I am going to be compassionate to others as much as I can.” 

    2 – Practice empathy. Many believe they have empathy, and on some level nearly all of us do. But many times we get so side-tracked in the client encounter that we may let our sense of empathy slide. In client interactions, try to imagine the challenges, stress or pain they are going through, in as much detail as possible. This moment of mindfulness can help change perspective in attitude, language, and the overall interaction.

    3- Recognize what you have in common. Try to identify something that you may have in common or have experienced when the client is in front of you. At the root of it all, we are all human beings. We need recognition for hard work done. We need caring. We need happiness.

    4- Practice acts of kindness. Practice doing something small each day to make life happier for someone else, even in a tiny way. Imagine that you are the person in front of you, dealing with diabetes challenges on top of routine life stuff. Maybe the act of kindness is a simple smile, a kind word, or just spending a few minutes talking about life (outside of diabetes) with the other person. Find a way to make it a daily throughout-the-day practice.

    Another “reflection” from the Highlands of Scotland on a September day 3 years ago

    PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

    These compassion practices we’ve shared can be done most anytime, anywhere. Greeting each morning with a compassion frame of mind, can help set the stage for interactions during the day.

    EACH WEEK WE INVITE READERS TO PARTICIPATE IN A SOLUTION-FOCUSED CHALLENGE… This week, we encourage you, at the end of each day, consider taking a few minutes to reflect on your day. Maybe it’s during a commute home, while taking a walk, while fixing dinner, or while getting ready for bed. Think about the people you met and talked to, and how you treated each other. Think about the intent that you started the morning with. How well did you do? What could you do better? What did you learn from your experiences today? 

    Try acting with compassion until you are good at it. With practice, compassion can become an integral part of interactions that you can do throughout the day, throughout life.

    We welcome anyone interested in our approach to Subscribe to our blog and we’ll email you when a new post is published!

    If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, when you subscribe to our blog, we’ll send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou

    Deb is an employee of Dexcom but all comments are her own.

  • Fresh Views

    EXPERTS: Today’s word to jump-start a solution-focused practice

    Today’s word is: EXPERTS

    If you’ve been following our blog, you know that we’re in a series addressing how to move towards a solution-focused practice….one word at a time. This week our word, EXPERTS, applies to both diabetes care and education specialists (DCES) and people with diabetes (PWD). You can read more about STRENGTHS, OPPORTUNITIES, and incorporating the input from experts in their diabetes management here.

    The Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (ADCES) recently published two technology focused papers in The Diabetes Educator journal addressing the role of DCESs in leveraging technology to improve outcomes in people with diabetes. You can find a link to the ADCES landing page here that highlights both papers and includes links to two different podcasts with the primary authors of each paper.

    The Identify, Configure, Collaborate (ICC) Framework

    Deb and co-authors of A Framework for Optimizing Technology-Enabled Diabetes and Cardiometabolic Care and Education document a systematic approach to incorporating technology into the diabetes self-management plan known as The Identify, Configure, Collaborate (ICC) Framework. It is a model to support DCESs to maximize and ensure successful use of technology. We’ll walk you through the 3 components of this framework when incorporating technology into care…

    IDENTIFY: First, identify technology tools that will support self-management and decrease the burden of living with diabetes. It’s important to identify individual bias regarding technology to ensure everyone is offered tools to support them regardless of their age, gender, race and socioeconomic status among others. DCESs are technology champions and can have a big influence regarding technology use. However, we don’t want to be “gatekeepers” denying technology based on our assumptions. 

    CONFIGURE: Once a tool is identified, configuring the settings and plan for use is just as important.  Technology can only improve outcomes if the tools are used to their fullest potential. For example, helping PWD enable alerts and alarms or weekly email notifications when using continuous glucose monitors (CGM)  can help them learn from their own diabetes data in real-time. Mobile apps can be configured to capture patient generated health data (PGHD) that is meaningful to the individual.

    COLLABORATE: Finally, viewing all of the data generated from the technology tools then engaging in collaborative discussions around what the data means and how to make health behavior or medication changes is essential. The DCES is the key team member to support  PWD in the use of technology. DCESs have been focusing on PGHD since the invention of blood glucose monitors and are experts in using data to manage diabetes. And, the use of PGHD can support PWD as experts in their own diabetes as they learn how  food choices, activities, stress, and medication, among other things affect them.

    When incorporating a solution-focused approach into practice, the client is recognized as the expert in their own life and their own diabetes. Clients already have the resources and strengths to move forward to achieve their desired future state. When considering incorporating technology to support diabetes self-management, begin by acknowledging PWD as EXPERTS, prior to identifying and configuring tools, and then collaborating to modify the treatment plan. Create an opportunity to learn from your clients and discuss the value and benefits technology has provided them, as well as the challenges and burdens. This collaborative discussion can help all of your clients as technology evolves.

    Each week we invite readers to participate in a solution-focused challenge. Our solution-focused challenge for this week is to focus on your clients as the experts when incorporating technology and applying the ICC Framework.

    1. Identify and highlight the client’s strengths, positive qualities, resources, and ability to generate solutions prior to suggesting technologies.
    2. Configure technology tools that focus on the details of the solution instead of the problem.
    3. Collaborate to develop action plans that support what is working well for the individual.

    We welcome anyone interested in our approach to Subscribe to our blog and we’ll email you when a new post is published!

    If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, when you subscribe to our blog, we’ll send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou

    Deb is an employee of Dexcom but view here are her own

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