“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” – C.S. Lewis
As our world begins reopening from the pandemic, we are longing for the day when we can be in close proximity to friends and family again! Some of the most treasured moments for us personally are sharing life adventures, laughter, and good food and drink with friends (can you see that in our smiles in the picture above from our Mediterranean escape a year ago??) Yet in these days of physical distancing, we are reminded how critical it is to keep friends close, and stay connected while being physically away.
Today’s words are: KEEP FRIENDS CLOSE
So with that, today in our series on words to jump-start a solution-focused approach when managing diabetes, we’re again using a few words (rather than just one) to generate thinking about how to focus on being healthy, living healthy, and making healthy choices, as a follow-on to our last blog “YOU CAN BE HEALTHY”.
We chose today’s words – Keep Friends Close – because they were used frequently during Diabetes Social Media Advocacy (#DSMA) Twitter chats we hosted in 2018, and seem appropriate in these days of physical distancing. It became crystal clear during those Twitter chats that among people with diabetes, friendships are incredibly impactful and important – especially friendships with peers who also live with diabetes.
Beyond the concept of friendship alone, we want to stress 3 things (maybe it’s 4 things):
- Truly valuing friendship
- Understanding how friendships can support one in living their best life
- How even in crazy times like we are now living, it is possible to maintain friendships, and might we even suggest, strengthen them
Video chats, calls, and linking up through social media can provide breaks from upsetting news coverage and help reduce feelings of isolation, loneliness, fear, disappointment (missed graduations, delayed weddings, and the list goes on), help cope with stress, and manage diabetes distress. Those who regularly engage in social media and online discussions, like the previously mentioned Twitter chats have some advantage during these pandemic days because they’ve already experienced the benefits of online friendship and support.
What does this mean for diabetes care and education specialists (DCES)?
Here are 6 solution-focused questions you can use in your conversations to focus on VIPs (friends) and identify opportunities to receive support and strength:
- Who do you most enjoy spending your time with?
- What traits would your VIP say you have that will help you reach your goals?
- What do important people in your life consider to be your best qualities?
- How can you use those qualities now?
- Suppose your friend with diabetes had the same issue you are facing, what solution would he/she find?
- What would the important people in your life say that is different about you when you achieve your goal?
In these days, here are 5 ways you can encourage your clients to Keep Friends (VIPs) Close virtually:
- Talk about concerns, how they’re feeling, and share emotional support.
- Swap strategies for coping with changes in sleep or eating patterns.
- Do virtual stretching, workouts, or meditations to help care for you mind, body and spirit.
- Share ideas on how they’re eating healthy. Since May is National Mediterranean Diet Month, maybe find a Mediterranean-style recipe they and a friend can cook together virtually via Zoom. Or try this favorite of ours from a previous blog here.
- Provide an outlet to unwind and laugh.
THIS WEEK’S SOLUTION-FOCUSED CHALLENGE
Each week we’re including a solution-focused challenge that can help evolve care and education in a solution-focused manner. Here’s this week’s challenge: When working with clients these next few weeks, try asking at least 3 questions to understand their VIPs and how they are working to Keep Friends Close during this pandemic. Here are some examples:
- Who are the most important people in your life?
- How have they been helpful for you?
- How are you focusing on staying connected with them while we have been staying at home?
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