“The Path Out Of The Valley Appears When You Choose To See Things Differently.” ― Spencer Johnson, Peaks and Valleys: Making good and bad times work for you–at work and in life
Provence and the southern coast of France have long been on Tami and Deb’s travel to-do list. From the beautiful Luberon valley and it’s fields of lavender to the hilltop town of Eze in the French Riviera. We look forward to sharing with you some photos and experiences from the peaks and valleys we encounter on this upcoming journey. There will be many amazing views and lots of time spent soaking up and “imprinting” those views. As you may know, we use the practice of imprinting (described here in our blog) as a mindfulness exercise. When you are in the moment and enjoying a special view, feeling, experience etc., take a moment and a breath, to capture everything and imprint it in your mind forever. Not only does it help you appreciate what you have and acknowledge gratitude in the moment, it also creates an opportunity for you later when life may be more challenging. You can recall your imprinted memories when you feel overwhelmed.
On the theme of peaks and valleys, peaks and valleys are a routine part of life. And part of life with diabetes without a doubt. However, when life feels like a rollercoaster and the peaks and valleys are constant, that may signal it’s time for a new approach. Peaks and valleys are opportunities for change.
Let’s use continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) as an example that’s part of life with diabetes for many. When looking at CGM tracings, such as the one below, it’s not uncommon to see peaks and valleys. It’s easy to see those peaks (or time above range) as negative and a “problem.” And as for the valleys “below sea level” – that plunge into an uncomfortable low blood glucose – you don’t care for those either. Rather than thinking about these peaks and valleys as “problems” to be “fixed”, is it possible to take a step back and think differently?
While the many peaks and valleys on this CGM report might create a sense of frustration and fatigue, how might we use a solutions focused approach to manage thinking?
We know from Adam Brown, interviewed in our recent blog on Diabetes Bright Spots and Landmines, that there are 42 factors that impact blood sugar. Some of these factors are much easier to measure and manage than others. Maybe you’ve been sick or struggling with a very stressful life event. You need to give yourself permission to just say, “Some days diabetes is like this. Some days I don’t know why I’m not in range, and I’ll see what happens tomorrow,” without feeling guilt, blame or shame. Sometimes it’s hard to really know what’s happening, and a “problem-focused” approach isn’t going to help.
In looking at the tracing above, you see blood glucose in range between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. That’s where to start. What was going on then? What can you learn from this time in range to repeat and help see more time in range in the future?
Let’s look at an activity tracker record as another example.
In taking a quick glance we see definite peaks and valleys in activity. Rather than focusing on the “problem” of the day there’s only 22 steps tracked, (maybe the activity tracker battery died??), instead let’s focus on the day where there were over 13,000 steps! And the day where there’s over 10,000 steps. What was going on those days? How did this individual successfully fit that many steps in? How can that occur more often to help achieve physical activity goals?
As you look to the next week, month, or year. We challenge you to consider peaks and valleys as catalysts for positive change.
And check back over the next few weeks as we share some peaks and valleys that we encounter on our journey.
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