Coping Skills: Tapping into Your Brain’s “Nooks & Crannies”
Ginger Vieira kind of blows me away. She has lived with Type 1 diabetes and Celiac disease for over 11 years. And she holds 14 national, drug-tested powerlifting records and the Vermont state record for the female bench press. She’s recently established herself as a cognitive Health & Chronic Illness Life Coach at her new company, Living In Progress.
There Ginger works with people (individuals and families) on how their thinking impacts the way they take care of their health. She focuses on a person’s current habitual thinking, and helps them build new, more positive and productive ways of thinking that will help them progress towards their goals of health and happiness. She also helps people overcome obstacles around making exercise a part of their life with Personal Exercise Programs coaching. Today, Ginger shares a bit of her way of thinking with us:
A Guest Post by Ginger Vieira, Chronic Illness Life Coach
Diabetes is so much more than just a disease I live with every day. Diabetes is a constant thought in my head. I am always thinking about my blood sugar, the insulin I just injected, the insulin I need to inject, the food I’m about to eat, the food I ate four hours ago, the workout I’m planning to do tonight, and the jog with my dog I’m planning to do tomorrow morning. Just going for a walk with my best friend causes me to stop and wonder, “What’s my blood sugar? Am I going to be two miles from home when I’m desperately wishing I’d brought glucose tabs with me?”
Diabetes is a giant, enormous, tremendous responsibility that inevitably shapes the way I think about my health, exercise, and even my relationship with food. It shapes how I face this daily challenge, whether I tell myself I can do it, one day at a time, or whether I tell myself I’ll never do it well enough, and I’m always failing.
My doctor can give me the most perfect insulin doses, the perfect diet, the perfect plan to keep my blood sugar as close to “perfect” as possible, but all of these tools can’t help me if the strongest thoughts in my head are, “I’m a failure. I can’t do it.”
But those thoughts aren’t permanent thoughts. They are just a habit. The same way I’ve developed a habit of walking the same path through the grocery store or eating the same exact thing for breakfast every day, I am in control of the habits for the thoughts I put in my own head.