• Fresh Views

    KEEP FRIENDS CLOSE: Today’s words to jump-start solution-focused practice

    “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

    With friends in the Mediterranean this time last year (before the days of social distancing)

    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. 

    Deb’s friends and family participating in a Zoom graduation party.

    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:

    1. Who do you most enjoy spending your time with?
    2. What traits would your VIP say you have that will help you reach your goals?
    3. What do important people in your life consider to be your best qualities?
    4. How can you use those qualities now?
    5. Suppose your friend with diabetes had the same issue you are facing, what solution would he/she find?
    6. 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: 

    1. Talk about concerns, how they’re feeling, and share emotional support.
    2. Swap strategies for coping with changes in sleep or eating patterns.
    3. Do virtual stretching, workouts, or meditations to help care for you mind, body and spirit.
    4. 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.
    5. 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:

    1. Who are the most important people in your life?
    2. How have they been helpful for you?
    3. How are you focusing on staying connected with them while we have been staying at home?
    Friends and colleagues from around the world with a connection to diabetes (looking forward to the days we can huddle in for a picture like this again!).

    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

  • Fresh Views

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

    Andrea Bocelli performing Amazing Grace during Music For Hope – Live From Duomo di Milano on YouTube

    Through many dangers, toils and snares We have already come. T’was grace that brought us safe thus far And grace will lead us home – lyrics from “Amazing Grace”

    As April and this most stressful National Stress Awareness Month come to a close, it seems fitting to try to maintain mindfulness of the people, feelings and things big and small that we are grateful for. 

    Today’s word is GRATITUDE

    In solution-focused practice, emphasis is on the present and the future (rather than dwelling on past problems). We know there is a direct link between thoughts one thinks and the feelings they feel. Several studies suggest that expressing gratitude can decrease stress and anxiety by activating the areas in the brain that release the feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine. When practiced over time, healthy and productive thoughts can produce effective long-term benefit. A few months back we published a blog on developing gratitude practices, including keeping a gratitude journal. Read more about it here.

    On April 12, one entry in both of our gratitude journals was renowned Italian singer, Andrea Bocelli’s, live stream solo performance on YouTube of Amazing Grace (pictured above). Another gratitude entry this month is that our article, A Paradigm Shift: Taking a Solution-Focused Approach to Practice  was published in the journal ADCES In Practice! While it’s exciting to be published, we are most thrilled for the opportunity to share with other diabetes care and education specialists how to embrace a solution-focused approach in practice, shifting from focusing on trying to “fix problems”.

    Another thing we are both grateful for are friendships, far and near, and the video conferencing platforms that allow us to gather together on Friday nights for a “virtual happy hour”. We have fun catching up and sharing our weekly challenges and successes. Here we are hanging out last week! 

    Tami & Mike, Deb & Mark, Joan & David and Terry & Karen

    Through these “stay at home” orders, even though we live in four different states, we’ve had the epiphany, “Why didn’t we think about doing this before?” We can still connect and spend time with each other! We plan to keep doing this even after we no longer have to social distance. 

    How to get started with gratitude practices?

    In addition to the ideas shared in our previous blog on gratitude, here are 2 more strategies to help develop daily gratitude habits:

    1. Start a gratitude jar. A colleague of Deb’s shared this daily gratitude practice her family (children included) is using. When something is going well and they realize they are happy and excited, they write down what’s happening on a small piece of paper and drop it in a gratitude jar. Then during times when they are not feeling as happy and feel struggles, they go to the gratitude jar and read one of those slips of paper, bringing back those happy feelings. 
    2. Say a kind word. The quickest, simplest and easiest way to demonstrate gratitude is to say thanks to another. Let someone know exactly why you are grateful to have them in your life, sharing specific things they have done or said on your behalf.

    THIS WEEK’S SOLUTION-FOCUSED CHALLENGE

    We often close with inviting readers to participate in a solution-focused challenge. This week we challenge you to incorporate at least one gratitude practice into your conversations with clients. Encourage finding a daily time to practice gratitude and try to be consistent. Maybe it’s when they get up in the morning. Maybe it’s before they go to bed at night. Maybe it’s when they’re exercising. 

    We @AFreshPOVforYou are grateful for pets and the smiles they bring! These last few weeks we’ve been spending so much extra time on screens big and small, that our cats are even joining in!

    Tami’s “grand-kitty” Starry (Who knew she loved Andrea Bocelli and classical music??)

    We are grateful for you all and appreciate the opportunity to share our passion for expanding the use of solution-focused principles into diabetes care and education.  We thank you for reading!

    Deb’s “office cat” Puma watching Hulu!

    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

  • Fresh Views

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

    The Pont du Gard, a spectacular bridge that supports an ancient Roman aqueduct system built in the first century AD to carry water over 30 miles to Nîmes, Provence, France.

    April is national Stress Awareness month, and around the world stress is at an all-time high amidst the COVID-19 crisis! Since stress during an infectious disease outbreak such as this can worsen chronic health conditions as well as mental health, getting support is essential.

    It’s timely that today’s word is SUPPORT 

    Putting COVID-19 aside for a moment, diabetes is a complex and challenging condition – one that requires attention every minute, every hour, every single day. According to an October 1, 2015 blog posted by Manny Hernandez, people with diabetes (PWD) spend only 0.007% of their time over the course of a year with healthcare providers and emergency departments. They spend the remaining 99.993%  time self-managing their condition on their own. And thus ongoing support is critical. People who have a strong support system in place tend to be healthier (and recover more quickly when they are sick.)

    Asking for and accepting help (support) is a sign of strength.

    In solution-focused practice, it’s vital to step alongside the person with diabetes to guide them in selecting the resources or activities that best suit their needs, and that works for them.

    Support comes in many forms: 5 ways to guide your clients to engage in ongoing diabetes support

    1. Check in with loved ones often. A common reaction during this time of physical and social distancing is feeling socially isolated, especially for those that live alone or are in a community setting that is not allowing visitors because of the outbreak.Virtual communication can help you and your loved ones feel less lonely and isolated. Maybe it’s connecting via video chat, text messages, email, social media, mailing letters or cards, or a good “old fashioned” phone call. It may help for you to share specific ways they can support you (such as “Do join me in making healthy lifestyle changes, but please don’t offer unsolicited advice about my eating.”)
    2. Reach out to your diabetes health-care team. Call on them if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row. They are dedicated to helping you take an active role in caring for your diabetes. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic many healthcare providers are using telehealth, so you don’t have to leave your home to get the help you need.
    3. Support yourself by taking care of your own emotional health. Last fall we wrote about a solution-focused approach to healthy copying. You can find 6 ways to deal with stress and cope with life with diabetes in a healthy manner here. This is even more important for those caring for a loved one during this health crisis, which can take an emotional toll. 
    4. Learn about free resources that are available. There are many resources available to support stress management and coping, and some of them are free! There are free versions of mindfulness apps for your phone to help with meditation or sleep. There are many YouTube videos available that are freely available to watch, including videos for self-help as well as videos that just make you smile and laugh. During this COVID-19 crisis there is a wonderful free resource from Livongo called myStrength. Anyone can sign up (no credit card required) to participate in a series of small lessons ranging from coping with stress to learning how to communicate while being physically distant from your friends and family.
    5. Connect with others with diabetes for peer support. Connecting with others in the vibrant online diabetes community is an opportunity to learn from others facing similar issues, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, when it is convenient to engage. Peer support using social networking sites improves glucose management, especially in people with type 2 diabetes. Other avenues to gain peer support are through a “support group” or participating in a diabetes program or workshop. The American Diabetes Association has an online discussion board that allows people with diabetes to share their ideas, questions, and opinions on a variety of topics. These settings provide great opportunities to discuss common problems and concerns as well as share helpful advice, offer support, and celebrate success in diabetes self-care. The Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists website has lots of resources about online peer support here and you can download a handout here.
    Tami & Deb staying connected via Zoom

    THIS WEEK’S SOLUTION-FOCUSED CHALLENGE

    We often close with inviting readers to participate in a solution-focused challenge. This week we challenge you to incorporate these questions around support into your conversations with clients.

    1. What types of support are helpful to you currently?
    2. What types of support could help you now?
    3. Where will you get it? 
    4. When will you take the step to see this support?
    5. On a scale of 0-10, where 0 means not likely and 10 means very likely, how likely are you to engage in a support resource to help you?

    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

  • Fresh Views

    Happy 4th of July! 5 Solution-focused Strategies for Picnics and Celebrations

    Celebrating with family and friends on the 4th of July is a highlight of the summer for many. Sometimes it can be challenging to maintain healthy habits during group gatherings, especially if everyone is not on the same page. It’s helpful to have strategies in your back pocket to pull out. Today we want to share with you 5 solution focused strategies for navigating picnics and celebrations. We put these into practice during our recent trip to France, with the goal of enjoying a special vacation together, yet keeping it healthy. We’ll share how they worked for us. And we invite you to consider how the strategies may work for you. 

    Here we are: Four diabetes educator AADE past and current presidents (with our husbands), getting ready to enjoy a Mediterranean-style dinner at a house we rented on the southern coast of France in Eze (We all traveled together to Ireland 4 years ago so we knew we would have a great time!) Learn more about that trip in our blog post, Going off the beaten path..

    5 Solution-focused Strategies for Picnics and Celebrations

    #1- Eat fresh and local. We are fans of supporting local farmers and enjoying local produce at the peak of ripeness. When trying to decide what to take to a gathering, think local and fresh. Picnics can be laden with rich casseroles and sides, so taking a fresh, low carbohydrate side that you know will work for you helps to insure there is something you can eat at the event. One of our favorite go-to’s that is ALWAYS the first dish to disappear is this (you may know it as Caprese salad): juicy ripe sliced tomatoes on a platter, topped with a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped fresh basil (or a dollop of pesto sauce), then drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sometimes we’ll layer sliced avocado on the tomatoes as well. Serve with  salt and pepper grinders alongside so everyone can manage what goes on their salad.  

    A version of the Caprese salad we enjoyed in France made with yellow tomatoes

    Deb shopping at the local market in Arles, France 

    Fresh herbs at a local market in France

    #2 – Portion your picnic plate by the healthy plate for diabetes. When you are ready to sample the celebration spread, if there’s a choice on plate size, go with a smaller plate (maybe the ones that are out for salads or desserts). Then fill half the plate with non-starchy vegetables (such as veggie salads, green beans, or sliced tomatoes), one fourth of the plate with lean protein foods (such as a grilled turkey burger or grilled chicken), and one fourth with carbohydrate foods (this is where potato salad, corn on the cob, or a sweet treat may fit). When asked how high one can “pile the plate”…try to keep it no higher than a deck of cards is thick. This simple strategy has brought success for many when navigating picnics and celebrations. And, Tami recalls one client she worked with that embraced this as a “year-round” strategy, purchasing the “old fashioned” partitioned 9-inch paper plates to use at home. He went on to lose over 30 pounds managing his portions and blood glucose in this manner. And he was thrilled that he didn’t have to wash dishes!

    We put the healthy picnic plate into practice on one of our outings to taste local Provence wine. We had a lovely outdoor picnic (on the perfect sized plate), including fresh salad, vegetable quiche, and fresh strawberries, all  served in baskets! We felt very French!

    #3 – Stick with small tastings. Maybe there are a number of things on the picnic table that you want to enjoy. And maybe you are not sure exactly what is in some of the dishes or how much carbohydrate they contain. One tried and true strategy is to stick with small tastings. You can sample a number of different items if you choose, fitting them within the plate sections reviewed above. And there’s a lesser chance of sending your blood glucose out of range with small tastings versus a serving spoon portion. This is a great strategy for travel as well discussed in our blog on Traveling with Diabetes.

    We put this strategy into practice during our trip too as we embraced a Mediterranean eating style.. And while we had such fun sampling many delectable foods and treats, we came home without gaining any weight.

    #4 – Fit in fitness. With the eating and celebrating, fitting in fitness can help manage blood glucose and spend more time in range. Whether it’s participating in a local walk/run, swimming, playing cornhole, or joining the kids in a water balloon toss. How can you fit in fitness on the 4th?

    Fitness was a part of our daily routine while in France. Our days were filled with sightseeing and tons of walking, with most days averaging 15,000 steps or more. We came back in the afternoons and and swam in the pool.Then in the evenings we played games, laughed, and laughed some more as we de-stressed and regrouped. Below you can see part of our group walking down to our street to catch the train.

    Daily short walk to the train station

    5- Stay hydrated. No matter where you are at this time of year, it’s likely to be warm (or hot)! Keep a calorie-free beverage at your side to sip on. We are fans of the Yeti cups and water bottles (we’re not paid by Yeti to say this, just fans) which have kept our iced drinks cold for over 12-hours in the summer heat! Another favorite trick is to freeze bottled water and use it as ice packs in the cooler, then drink it as it thaws.

    In France, while the temperature was only 72, the sun was intense and felt more like 92. Hydration was important. We all brought our water bottles to sip on and stay hydrated in the heat.

     We had such a great trip that we are all hoping to gather together again in another 2 years and maybe this time explore the Greek Islands! 

    As you prepare for 4th of July celebrations, we encourage you to consider:

    • What strategies have worked well for you in the past to navigate picnics and gatherings? 
    • Which of the strategies that we’ve shared might help you? 

    We’d love to hear from you on strategies that worked for you! Happy Independence Day!

    Enjoying good food, good friends and Fresh Views near Marseilles, France!

    Subscribe to our blog and we’ll email you when a new post is published!

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou.

    Disclaimer: A Fresh POV for You is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

%d bloggers like this: