Running to Live Vibrantly with Diabetes

Running to Live Vibrantly with Diabetes

When Mind Body Align asked me to write the Live Vibrantly blog, I was honored and excited to be given this topic.  It is, as a matter of fact, the way I strive to live my life.  My hope is that my story will inspire you to live vibrantly no matter what curve ball is thrown your way… like the curve ball thrown my way at a young age.

Welcome to Your New Life

Let’s rewind 32 years.

At the age of 18 and one week prior to graduation, overwhelming news was given to me.  I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and I was immediately required to inject insulin with a needle.  A big fear!  As any teenager would react, I was confused, scared and not sure how I was going to handle this burden since my life up until now was fairly “normal.”

I had two choices:

Let diabetes wreak havoc on my life and become depressed about it,  -OR-

Take control of the disease and do whatever I could to stay healthy.

You guessed it, I took control!

Don’t get me wrong, there were ups and downs of life events dealing with diabetes.  I won’t sugarcoat it (no pun intended).

Strong family support and a great team of doctors kept me in check.  Diabetes didn’t cause me to be angry at life nor to question why I ended up with it.  I learned to appreciate the challenges of the disease and use my mantra “let’s look at the positive side” to change negative habits into positive ones.

A friend once said, “You’re diabetic? But you’re always so happy and active.”  It was this comment I knew I needed to be a role model for others diagnosed with this disease. There is no way diabetes has to slow anyone down!

Hit the Ground Running

I took up running at the age of 30 and switched from injecting insulin with needles to wearing an insulin pump.  Running became a new passion for me. It gives me time to clear my mind, enjoy the scenery and re-energize myself. Any form of exercise can physically, emotionally and mentally make you feel amazing!  When you feel amazing and share your passion with the world, it positively impacts others.  It’s a ripple effect.

In my mid-40s, I challenged myself to run a Tough Mudder obstacle race and a ½ marathon. (I have three Tough Mudders and three ½ marathons under my belt so far!)  Those types of challenges might not be the definition of living vibrantly for everyone, but for me, it’s what keeps me smiling and motivated.  What motivates you?

The New Normal

My life now consists of checking my blood sugar up to ten times a day, visits to the Endocrinologist and eating healthy.  Running keeps me positive and well-balanced, plus I enjoy sharing tips with others on exercise and diabetes.   Having diabetes has taught me discipline, appreciation and bravery. Diabetes altered my life and I’m thankful for it. It has put me on a path to a healthier life style with the purpose to enrich the lives of others with my story.

As I searched living vibrantly topics on the internet, the definition “pulsating with vigor and energy” kept appearing.  I laughed to myself thinking, yep, that’s me!  We all want a happy, vibrant life.  We all have circumstances in our lives that throw us a curve ball and it’s how we choose to live our lives that will make the difference.  Do your very best at whatever life hands you.  Surround yourself with positive influences.  Find support groups.  Live your life with passion.  Go out into the world with a smile on your face and share your enthusiasm with others.  We all deserve a vibrant life.

Gratitude & Ice Cream: Tips for Living Vibrantly, Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

Gratitude & Ice Cream: Tips for Living Vibrantly, Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

It’s easy to live an energetic life when everything is going your way. But how do we live a thriving life when things aren’t going the way we planned?

Life is hard.

As “life” wears on us,  we start to get tired: mentally tired, emotionally tired, tired of work, tired of schedules, just plain tired.

Since we’re only human, we get cranky when we’re tired.

And when we get cranky, we start to focus on the negatives in life.

At this point, you have two choices: you can either pull yourself out of whatever funk you’re in and live vibrantly, or you can allow yourself to wallow in that low feeling, where you gain nothing, but you sure do waste a lot of energy and good days.

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.
—Helen Keller

Instead of focusing on the negative, let’s focus on the positive, and seek to remember one powerful fact: our happiness is a choice.

We have the power to choose to live a vibrant life despite the fact that things don’t always go our way. We may not have everything we want or think that we need, yet we can choose to be happy with what we do have, and live life to the fullest.

When we commit to changing our outlook, a radical shift occurs. The lows feel less low, and the mundane starts to take a turn for the more exciting. We begin to understand that agonizing over the past that we’d like to change or trying to alter the future that we can’t predict gets us nowhere, and instead we start to find joy and appreciation in times when we felt all could be lost.

So what can you do today to start living a life of vibrancy? Here are a few of my own favorite tricks for climbing out of the daily grind:

1. Gratitude

Think about everything in your life that is good.

Start with the basics:

Do you have a roof over your head?

Do you have food to eat every day?

Do you have clothes to wear?

Then move on to things that are more personal:

Maybe you have children who are the light of your life.

Maybe you’re dating or married to someone who treats you like royalty.

Maybe you have the good fortune of a job that you love, or maybe…

…you have your health: mine isn’t perfect, but it sure is a whole heck of a lot better than it was ten years ago – and for that, I am grateful.

2. Spend time with loved ones

Family—and close friends who might as well be family—have a profound effect on boosting your mood. If family time isn’t a fit for you, you can get the same “warm glow” from volunteering, so hook up with an organization whose work is meaningful to you and spend some time helping others instead.

3. Focus on what matters

Ask yourself: “Is this life-changing? Will this have any significant impact on my goals for this life?” If the answer is no, move on. Don’t bother dwelling on things that upset you. Your mind has more important things to do. See tip #5 for an extension on this.

4. Feel the happiness of savoring little things

Here are my top three:

1. A pint of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. Any pint will do.

2. Soaking up the sun, drinking a frosty beer at The Phoenix Brewing Co in the company of my husband and friends.

Bonus: Vitamin D, good for your mood and your energy. (It should be noted here that the Vitamin D comes from the sun, not the beer… drinking beer solely to get vitamins may actually have the opposite effect.)

3. Loving on my dog Juno. I think she likes a long hug as much as I do – I do squeeze her pretty tight, so she may just be stuck in it. It feels good nonetheless.

5. Mindfulness, pure and simple

Catch yourself in those negative moments, and change the subject or change the tone. Learn to become aware of yourself and the thoughts that you’re thinking. You might be surprised at how often you’re weighing yourself down with subconscious negativity.

Yes, life is hard. But there’s good news, too: we are in control of our own selves and the way that we view the world. We soldier on through the tough times, and learn to embrace the good in this world. When we do that, taking nothing for granted, we are able to live our most vibrant lives.