• Fresh Views

    “Turning Turtle”: Seeing life from a different point of view

    Dubai, UAE following the IDF Congress, December 2017

    Last week’s blog post focused on developing a practice of gratitude – being grateful for the little, everyday things (and big things too), especially when challenged with the burden of a chronic condition that may sometimes make finding joy in life a struggle.  

    Along those lines, this week we are continuing our discussion on gratitude from a slightly different view……. when things are “turning turtle”, or in other words turned upside down! What are we talking about? You may have seen the recently released movie Mary Poppins Returns. One of the movie’s songs beautifully sung by Meryl Streep is called “Turning Turtle”. If you haven’t heard it, click on the link and check it out!

    The song opens with these  lyrics:

    Turning turtle? What exactly does that mean?

    It means my whole world goes flippity flop like a turtle on its back.

    And I don’t know my up from my down, my east from my west,

    My topsy from my bottomsy…

    By definition, “turning turtle” is to capsize or turn upside down. (For example, during the accident, the car turned turtle). A turtle on its back is helpless and disoriented. It can’t move. It isn’t safe or protected by its shell. It may seem stuck, without options or an evident solution to being trapped on it’s back. Or are there options? The song lyrics go on to say:

    …It’s good to get a different point of view

    You see, when the world turns upside down,

    The best thing is turn right along with it.

    When the world turns upside down so to speak, an opportunity is presented to gain a fresh point of view. And when a situation may seem challenging, being able to bring forth opportunities for gratitude may need that twist – that upside down view. This song is a great exercise in seeing the world through a different lense and creating a different point of view. And in turn, rather than focusing on the “problem”, instead focusing on “solutions” that could work (especially if similar solutions that worked in the past can be applied here). In illustration, a friend with diabetes shared this story that might help us think about the “turning turtle” concept applied to life with diabetes:

    She was traveling out of the country and had recently changed insulin pumps.  By mistake, she packed her old infusion sets, that worked with her old pump. When she was preparing to change her pump,  site realized what had happened. Fortunately she packed enough insulin pens as back up and had those with her to use for the remainder of the trip. When the trip was over she actually felt like she had been on a vacation from her pump.  She never dreamed of stopping the pump – she felt like she would be flat on her back without it, like the turtle. But, she actually found some joy and gratitude in not being attached to her pump for a week, and at the same time gained a new sense of appreciation when she returned home and was able to connect to the pump again. She was pleased with herself for being prepared.  She commented that she always brings extra supplies but has never needed them before. This “problem” had a solution readily available because of her constant effort to be prepared. And her trip might have been ruined had she focused on the fact that she couldn’t wear her pump, but instead she chose to be thankful she had insulin pens available and experienced a different week of diabetes management that then gave her a little more resilience when she was ready to start the pump again.  

    Returning to the song…it goes on to close out:

    When you change the view from where you stood

    The things you view will change for good

    I never thought of things that way

    She never thought of things that way

    Now Wednesdays are my favorite days

    …I have changed. To be exact, I love the fact

    The world is turning turtle, turtle, turtle

    When you next find yourself in a “turning turtle” situation, we encourage you to reflect on the  following:

    • What new point of view is in front of you to be embraced?
    • How can you leverage past successful solutions in this situation?
    • What can you acknowledge gratitude for?

    And like the closing song lyrics, now Wednesdays are our favorite days too since that’s when we share a new blog post each week! Until next Wednesday!


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  • Fresh Views

    What are you grateful for today? 5 strategies to develop daily gratitude habits

    Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow – Melody Beattie


    Do you think about gratitude during your daily routine? Is it a habit you practice? Deb was recently on vacation and needed some self-care so decided to get a massage.  When she was checking into the spa they showed her three smooth stones, each with one of these words on it: Hope, Love and Gratitude.When asked to choose one emotion that she wanted to focus on during the massage, she chose Gratitude. While laying face down during the massage, a smaller stone was placed below her face so she could see and reflect on the word “Gratitude” during the massage, and to help her think about being grateful. (You see that stone in the photo above) This fresh view and experience created a new desire to be more thoughtful and intentional about being grateful for what is and what she has.

    What do you think about when you see or hear the word ‘gratitude”? The simple definition is “a feeling of thankful appreciation for favors or benefits received; thankfulness.”  But the practice of gratitude means so much more.

    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. “Grateful people engage in more exercise, have better dietary behaviors, are less likely to smoke and abuse alcohol, and have higher rates of medication (taking)”. Several studies suggest that gratitude can decrease stress and anxiety by activating the areas in the brain that the release feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine.

    Research discussed in the Jan/Feb, 2019 issue of Diabetes Self-Management also shows that positive psychological states such as gratitude are associated with improved physical health in people with diabetes, improved sleep, and increased self esteem. 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.

    How can you get started with gratitude?

    Here are 5 strategies to help develop daily gratitude habits:

    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, a magnet even a post it note. 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. Tami numbers her entries and is working toward 1000 things for which she’s grateful. Some things are big (Entry #622 – Protection through a tornadic storm). Some things are small (Entry #1- Sun and warmth on my shoulders). 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.
    3. 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. Tami keeps a folder on her desk and a file on her computer filled with nice notes and photos, as well as  an album on her phone of messages and moments she’s grateful for to refer back to when she needs a reminder. Deb has a bulletin board in her office that displays happy memories in photos, ticket stubs, quotes, flyers etc. that she can look at during working at any time.
    4. Voice or write down one (two, or three) good things that happened in your day. On the homefront, this is a gratitude practice Tami has used with her son over the years. In the days when she would take and pick him up from school, she found that the drive time was a good time to learn about his day. That conversation always began with these words, “Tell me something good that happened today.” He knew he needed to answer that, acknowledging something good, before talking about the challenges of the day.
    5. 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. Deb has been struggling with back pain from a chronic disc problem and was at a place where no position brought relief, not sitting, standing or lying down. It was getting challenging to think clearly and work. She began using the Calm app, decided to take the Calm masterclass in gratitude, and use their 7 days of gratitude meditation. The process has helped her to find daily items to be grateful for during a time when it was challenging to not be engrossed in the pain.

    Here are 3 other things Deb has learned  through this experience:

    Learning #1 – When you have a chronic condition that is challenging you, think about ways to appreciate and focus on what you do have and what is working for you.

    Learning #2 – Try not to compare yourself and what you may be dealing with to others. While the grass might look greener on the other side of the fence, we never truly know what others are going through.  

    Learning #3 – Trying to simply look at what is right in front of you and be present in the moment.

    Maybe you employ one of these strategies. Or several.

    Here are 3 tips to help maintain your gratitude practice once you get started:

    • 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.
    • Write what you feel. Don’t censor it.  
    • Refrain from making the list repetitive. Be specific finding new ways to approach gratitude.

    We’ll continue our discussion on gratitude next week from a slightly different view……. when things turn upside down! Read our post next week and find out!

  • Fresh Views

    Hello world! A Fresh POV may change your life

    We started our blog in November 2018, just a couple of months ago, and thought we would re-share our first post in the new year for those of you who might not know who we are. Please subscribe to our email list and we’ll let you know when new blogs are published!

    Deb and Tami in Italy enjoying the view!

    Thanks for checking out our new blog “A Fresh POV for You”!  Join us as we focus on Possibilities, Opportunities and creating a Vision (POV) for the future, based on strengths and leveraging positive learnings from past experiences.

    Who are we?

    We are healthcare professionals and diabetes specialists passionate about positivity and empowering people with diabetes to live life to the fullest! Deborah is a nurse. Tami is a dietitian. We both have spent our entire careers partnering with those living with diabetes to leave a positive imprint.

    We are also speakers, authors, wives, moms, adventurers, and avid travelers always in search of the next fresh and magnificent view. (You see one of those stunning views in this photo, looking out over a vineyard in Italy). You’ll learn more about us and some of our adventures over time.

    What is our focus?

    Simply put, our goal is to inspire those living with diabetes, or at risk for diabetes to design a life that has a personal sense of balance, is realistic and fun. A life that works for them. It goes without saying that managing diabetes is complex and burdensome. The constant focus on problems can make it even harder. We are passionate about turning the focus to abilities and possibilities. What will be different and new instead of what will NOT happen anymore?  What is desired instead of what is NOT wanted? Let’s learn from each other!  

    Why did we start this blog?

    Since November is Diabetes Awareness month there’s no better time than now to let you in on our new adventure in diabetes that’s been in the works behind the scenes for some time.  

    Getting to know us personally, beyond professionally is important. We believe in the concept of a “therapeutic alliance”- which means that the relationship between health care professionals and people with diabetes is the most important component.  

    Awhile back, we discovered an approach called Solutions Focused Brief Therapy. It resonated with us because of the focus on possibilities, opportunities, and creating a vision for the future.  How about applying this to diabetes?  We  look forward to sharing with you as we learn more!

    Then we joined together to craft content for two recently released brief videos focusing on the use of empowering language in diabetes. Language that puts the person with diabetes, their needs and their values first, thus moving away from language that judges, blames and shames. These videos are based on the language position paper published by the American Diabetes Association and American Association of Diabetes Educators. (You can check out the paper and the videos here and on our blog homepage). Over the months that we worked on the video project we had many soul searching discussions about how diabetes care and education needs to evolve and innovate.

    And thus was born A Fresh POV for You! If you are someone who feels challenged and overwhelmed with aspects of life with diabetes – or someone who just wants to learn more about our creative approach – follow our blog as we begin to share more about our exciting new adventure over the next few months. We have lots of creative ideas and ways we hope to engage in innovative diabetes services! Our goal is to create programs and services that resonate and make sense for people living with diabetes.

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou.  

  • Fresh Views

    Make New Year’s Solutions rather than Resolutions

    With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts – Eleanor Roosevelt

    New Year’s Eve Fireworks

    With the start of the new year, many find themselves reflecting on the past year, re-evaluating life, and pondering what “resolutions” they will set for the new year.  New year’s resolutions often focus on “stopping” doing certain things and starting to make changes. Many resolutions revolve around trying to be healthier in some way.  Yet evidence shows that about 80% of people fail to stick to their New Year’s resolutions longer than six weeks.  That means by the time the Valentine’s Day rolls around, many have abandoned their desire to change. Often resolutions are attempts to find ways to solve problems.

    What if, instead of making New Year’s Resolutions which require change and “fixing”  problems (and change is hard!) – you focus instead on 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).

    As you reflect on the past year, here are 5 questions to ask yourself and guide your thinking:

    • What went well for you in 2018?
    • What did you feel happy about?
    • What behaviors helped you feel successful and were doable?
    • How can you do more that?
    • Instead of thinking about “problems”, how can you reframe your thinking into positive “opportunities” and solutions? (Reframing a situation, idea, or belief can bring a fresh perspective. You can read more about this in our January 2, 2019 post.)

    Here’s an example from Deb…

    I am  a fan of Starbucks Mochas. As 2018 opened, I was getting a Mocha most every day. I also like Starbucks lattes. And the latte has fewer calories. So I started ordering the latte more often. I also discovered I didn’t really need a grande but was satisfied with a tall, so I now order a tall most days. When you add up the calories over the course of a year, that’s a significant savings! (Now on some days when I  really need a pick me up I may decide on a Mocha or splurge on a grande, but it’s no longer the routine). I leveraged something that was going well, and did more of it. It was doable. I closed out 2018 happy about this solution.

    Here’s an example from Tami…

    One of my favorite ways to get physical activity is to walk in the neighborhood after a long work day. I especially like this in the fall and during the holidays with all of the decorations and twinkling lights providing a fresh view to take in while meeting my step goal and unwinding from the day. The past few months I’ve battled a foot injury that has made walking my usual routes impossible some days. Rather than focusing on the “I can’t”,  I’ve turned and focused on what I CAN do. By reframing my thoughts, I find myself thinking, “ I can do this. I am not lazy. I am rebuilding my endurance step by step. I am grateful I am able to do half of my usual walk, it’s better than none.” And I’m really grateful for the days I’ve been able to complete my routine route! I’ve focused on keeping the habit going. Focusing on what I CAN DO and what is going well, rather than fixating on what I can’t accomplish. By reframing the situation, my resulting emotions are feeling confident, in control, and hopeful.

    So as we look with excitement to 2019, join us in making New Year’s Solutions and resolving to do more of  things that we do well!

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  • Fresh Views

    Reframing: One way to bring a fresh perspective

    Our key to transforming anything lies in our ability to reframe it.  – Marianne Williamson

    Reframe by definition means, “to look at, present, or think of in a new or different way or from a different perspective.”  We can change the way we look at something and consequently change how we experience it. Reframing is not simply “positive thinking” – it is different. It is a technique to help view a behavior or situation in a more positive context that allows recognizing and appreciating positive aspects of the situation. The facts remain the same, but a deliberate shift is made in how we see it. Reframing helps us to use whatever life hands us as opportunities to be taken advantage of and live life more fully, rather than problems to be avoided.

    Reframing a situation, idea, or belief can bring a fresh perspective. In illustration, this week Tami found herself at a dead standstill in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic. All she wanted was to just get home. Ever been there? The stress started to rise, until she intentionally made the decision to reframe the situation. Rather than focusing on the sea of red brake lights, and viewing the traffic jam as a stressful “problem,” she reframed it as an “opportunity.” An opportunity to pause after a stressful day. An opportunity to catch the dramatic sunset you see in the picture below. And an opportunity to gain a fresh perspective on her situation. “Problem” has a heavy quality to it, while “challenging” is energizing. Our energy can be affected by a simple change of word.


    By the way, what do you see in the clouds? Many have shared that they see a Phoenix, the mythical, magical bird that lives for several hundred years before it dies and is reborn from the ashes, to start a new, long life. Such powerful symbolism. Could reframing help you to start a new life, so to speak, with a fresh perspective?

    Reframing can even enable you to implement the ancient wisdom that says – you can’t always control what happens to you, but you can certainly control how you react to it. Beyond reframing a “problem” as an “opportunity” for change, here are a few other examples of reframing:

    • A “weakness” as a “strength”
    • A “demanding” person as an “assertive” person
    • “Unkindness” as “lack of understanding”
    • An “impossibility” as a “possibility”

    In reflecting on clients we’ve worked with over the years, a multitude of times we’ve heard them reframe a diabetes diagnosis from a “problem” to an “opportunity.” An opportunity to  eat healthy, be more active, or lose a few pounds. Some clients have new, close friends or even new jobs, because they have diabetes. Living with diabetes encouraged them to change their focus in life.  Looking at life through a positive reframe certainly doesn’t mean ignoring the stress and pain that life may bring, but it does help deal with the challenges by seeing them in a different light and from a fresh perspective. It transforms a less than desirable situation into a worthy purpose. Reframing gives you an opportunity to neutralize negative feelings and be more action-oriented.

    Reframing is a tool you already have in your tool belt. By implementing the powerful tool of reframing, we can find resources we didn’t realize we had, and continue to move forward becoming more resilient. We can be inspired to keep our attitude strong and hopeful. In closing, here are some characteristics of resilient people:

    • Awareness
    • Perseverance
    • Internal locus of control
    • Optimism
    • Support
    • Sense of humor
    • Perspective

    We’ll revisit reframing in January, and how to use this tool to make New Year’s Solutions (rather than New Year’s Resolutions).