• 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

    Flipping the Paradigm: Applying a Solution-Focused Approach to Problem Solving

    I will breathe. I will think of solutions. I will not let my worry control me. I will not let my stress level break me. I will simply breathe. And it will be okay. Because I don’t quit. – Shayne McClendon

    Tomorrow, November 14 is #WorldDiabetesDay! Deb and Tami have had some impactful moments in recent years during diabetes month and on #WDD. Deb has been involved in hosting events at the California state Capitol with speakers, music and lighting of the Capitol in blue. Deb’s also spend #WDD 2017 at the headquarters of  Novo Nordisk in Denmark. Tami has done TV spots, radio shows, Facebook Live and videos, provided community programs, participated in screening events and published articles – all to raise awareness and encourage people to know their risk for type 2 diabetes. 

    The theme of #WorldDiabetesDay this year is the impact that diabetes has on the family. One of the goals is to promote the role of the family in the prevention, management, care and education of diabetes. In a solution-focused approach, the family is important, and we call them VIPs – .and this definition is broad – it includes any one who is a “very important person” in your life. Someone who can provide support when needed, who will notice changes being made, and  who can respect personal decisions and choices. What’s really important is that these VIPs are not the “diabetes police”, or people who make managing diabetes harder. As you think about problem-solving, think about including VIPs in both the discussion and the plan to help foster success and respect.

    Taking a solution-focused approach to diabetes self care

    This is week 6 of our 7-week series on applying a solution-focused approach to the AADE7 Self-Care Behaviors for managing diabetes. This series is focusing on “flipping” the conversation from a “problem focused” (traditional medical) approach to a solution-focused conversation. Last week we shared about taking a solution-focused approach to Taking Medications here.  And the weeks prior we focused on Monitoring blood glucose here,  Healthy Eating  here, Being Active here, and Healthy Coping here. This week, we are talking about Problem Solving.

    AADE7 Self-Care Behavior #6: Problem Solving

    With diabetes, “problem” solving is part of the daily routine…figuring out when, what, and how to eat for meals and snacks. What kind, how much, and when to fit in physical activity. When to check blood glucose, how to time any medications, and the list goes on.

    And then life throws curve balls, and no matter how well you plan, unexpected things happen that can send blood glucose out of range. And that’s when more problem-solving skills are called into action to determine how to handle the scenario and what to do to prevent it from happening again. 

    Also, diabetes needs may change over time, requiring adjustments because previous solutions no longer work.

    In taking a solution-focused approach, we typically don’t focus on solving problems….as you know. We focus on solutions…looking for what is already working and trying to do more of that.  So this self-care behavior is not as intuitive to translate. Here are 4 strategies to help diabetes care and education specialists and people with diabetes flip the problem-solving paradigm.

    1. Practice self-compassion. Diabetes is different every day, even when people make similar choices. We learned from our Twitter research that people living with diabetes would like to practice more self-compassion. They want to be kinder and not blame themselves. 
    2. What has gone well today? When you are faced with challenges, think about what DID work for you during this challenging time. Instead of doing a deep dive into all of the issues that might have impacted you, spend some time focusing on your successes. Then tomorrow, try to do more of what worked.  
    3. Keep a journal of solutions. When things are going well, keep track of these small wins so the next time you are faced with a challenge, you have some “go to” solutions ready to try.
    4. Share with your VIPs. Ask your VIPs about their ideas.  Do they have some ideas about what works well for you and the times they see your successes.

    When working with clients, instead of traditional problem-solving exercise, try to focus on existing solutions to create change.  Begin by exploring these 3 questions to flip the conversation.

    1. Tell me about a time when you felt the happiest about your diabetes management?
    2. What was it about that day or time that made it better?
    3. Can you think of times when the challenge you are facing now was not present in your life? What were you doing then?

    We challenge you each week to try some flips into your conversations and let us know what impact they have. Let’s join together throughout the month of November to raise awareness of all issues that can improve living with diabetes.

    Join us next week for our final installment as we discuss a solution focused-approach to the self-care behavior around reducing risks.

    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

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