Don’t Let The Mud Drag You Down…

There’s an unfortunate side-effect that comes with having Type-1 Diabetes that people often ignore or fail to recognize. For the most part, it isn’t their fault. After all, Diabetes involves so many side effects and necessary treatments for various aspects that we often tend to ignore the symptoms that aren’t detrimental. What I mean is a significant and noticeable lack of personal energy. It’s a common side-effect of someone with Diabetes but in reality, it can affect absolutely anybody.

In my teens and through the majority of my twenties, I had significant difficulty finding my “get up and go.” A lot of that had to do with improperly balance blood sugars as a result of poor insulin dosing and a diet that DIDN’T involve the calculation of carbohydrates (my family basically thought that “no sugar” was all the diet I needed). But I would often have to melt out of my bed, stagger to the washroom and physically struggle to eat, get dressed and get out the door. To say that I was thankful to have no responsibilities beyond sitting in class and listening to teachers was an understatement.

I’ve had incidents where I’ve faltered or fallen asleep in class, often because my blood sugars were too high or too low. I would usually be okay by the time classes let out, which was definitely a good thing since Sensei wouldn’t have taken that grogginess with stoic silence. He’d have punched and kicked the grogginess right out of me. But there were nights where even karate class saw me feel as though lifting my limbs was like lifting blocks of concrete and I didn’t feel as though I had the energy to put forth my best effort.

This kind of effect isn’t simply limited to someone with Diabetes, and there’s a lot you can do to reduce/eliminate that “checked out” feeling one often gets on those days where the energy to get shit done just doesn’t seem to be there. One good example I like to use when it comes to this, is how a person starts their day. I usually make a point to wake up roughly two hours before my scheduled work time. If I use a specific morning last week as an example, I awoke about five minutes before my alarm went off. Annoying, but decent.

I started by putting away all the dried dishes I had done the night before, took my prescribed medications and began sucking back some caffeine and made Nathan’s lunch for school. This was followed by preparing a work lunch for myself, getting cleaned up and dressed and getting all the trash receptacles in house emptied as it was trash day. I got dressed, brushed my teeth and stepped out to put the trash bin to the curb. I finished with ten minutes of relaxation, sitting in the living room as my infant son Alex, climbed around my legs to get some much-needed attention before I left.

I walked out the door feeling pretty good. Blood sugars were normal and my day had begun. I know some folks who get up a couple of hours before work, but basically sit like a lump until they almost literally have to step out the door. What’s the point? May as well get some extra sleep, if that’s all you’re gonna do! But my point is how you start your day sets the standard for how the remainder will go. If you start your day on a negative kick with no “get up and go,” it’s almost a certainty that you’ll like feel stagnant throughout the day. If you hit the ground running, well… An object in motion tends to stay in motion.

What people need to understand is that the energy is already there. But it’s how you promote it and use it, that makes the difference. You don’t need to be an all-star athlete in top shape in order to feel energized throughout the day. You just need to be smart about it. Light knows, I have my days where I have to hammer through the sluggishness to make it back to the pillow at night. But it’s important to remember that even the most powerful 4×4 truck will still struggle and spin its wheels, when trying to get out of the mud.

Energy creates life. Life promotes movement. Movement promotes energy. And on, and on, and on… If you get you and get moving, your energy will be better allocated and you’ll feel better. You may have to struggle through that first little bit, but it’ll happen. If you settle in like a rock, you don’t get that promoting of one’s energy that’s so critical to a healthy and energized day. So when the alarm goes off, first thing in the morning, start by getting up immediately. Avoid the temptation to hit the snooze button and stay curled up. Hit the ground running. You always be tired at the end of the day but then again, that’s when you’re SUPPOSED to be tired. And as I always say, balanced blood sugars and regular exercise are always a great help. ☯

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I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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