My Diabetes Inklings

Taking Mental Breaks

Diabetes takes up majority of my brain space and my life. There are limited times and places where my diabetes isn’t put on the spotlight. Things have been slightly hectic at the moment with my PhD project, other project works and being on the organising committee for the upcoming Young Leader in Diabetes training in Vancouver. So lately, I’ve come to appreciate moments where I get a chance to take a mental break from everything.

A few people have recommended meditation to me as a way of unwinding. To be honest I cannot meditate by myself for the life of me. I’d happily do some breathing exercises at a yoga class but tell me to download an app and meditate to that just doesn’t work. And although my gym doesn’t offer classes like yoga, I find that even spending a good 15 minutes of cardio helps me to unwind. For me, the key is to focus on everything my body is doing, including breathing, during exercise. Doing so helps me feel a bit more refreshed when I get back to whatever task that needs to be completed.

Another activity I’ve come to appreciate (again) is playing music. I play clarinet with a concert band on the other side of town every Saturday. It’s a long drive there and back and I would love nothing more than a sleep in on the weekend. But to be part of a group who enjoys creating music and channelling emotion and meaning with every note produced is pretty special. And while my brain is focussed on the music in front of me and its meaning, my worries and diabetes takes a back seat.

Otherwise, if I’m feeling particularly lazy, I would put on one of my Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar movies and laugh and cry along to it. Yes, there are very few animated movies I don’t find myself in a mess of tears. Or even some mind-numbing comedy movie I could just laugh at or follow along. Anything to take my mind off the endless things I need to do.

Although I do have a thousand and one things to do, it’s equally as important that I give myself a mental break from time to time. I remember hearing that if stuck on a problem, to take a break or work on something different and the solution will come in time. I mean how often does a new idea or solution pop up while you’re on the toilet or in the shower?

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