Finding the will to practice self care whilst travelling

Type 1 Diabetes Blog

Finding the will to practice self care whilst travelling

This is a post that’s very close to my heart, in that I am currently travelling and at times my ability and patience to keep going when things get tough to have been tested. I am currently on the beautiful island of Ko Samui in Thailand and I am surrounded by beauty, but whilst travelling the mixture of the intense heat and a new atmosphere, as well as constantly being on the go, has got me worn out. I found myself quite ill for the last week. The type of ill that we diabetics hate: when it begins to affect our blood sugars and it’s not only a matter of trying to get ourselves well again, but getting our diabetes under better control too.

I realise that my pace at travelling is a little different from my boyfriend's or sister's. They can keep going for days and days and days without break, whereas I find myself getting extremely tired and worn out quicker - and this isn’t because my diabetes isn’t controlled. Rather it's because I just find my immune system a little weaker. In order to try and combat this, I consciously try and practice good self-care. This means I take rests. I don’t mean a quick nap, I mean I literally take a 2-day break from travelling and just “relax,” check my blood patterns, check my health, and make sure everything is okay. I often find that if I don’t take these little breaks every 2-3 weeks, I find myself feeling worn out and it often has a knock on effect on my blood sugar control and my diabetes because my body is stressed.

I also find I need to take the time to focus on my thoughts. I always find that mental health and diabetes are intertwined and I often have fellow diabetics agree with me. We are constantly under pressure 24/7 from ourselves and medical professionals to make sure we are okay. This is stressful and if things aren’t going to plan, can leave me feeling pretty low.  I know this feeling all too well, so I try to take some time to gather my thoughts by keeping a diary of thoughts and feelings of both life in general, but my life with diabetes. Actually running my travel blog, Dream Big Travel Far, is a way for me to keep myself in check, and I feel it helps motivate me to keep going and keep my diabetes under control when there are times I just can't be bothered.

Many times I get frustrated if I feel like I am holding people back, for example this week when my boyfriend stayed in with me instead of exploring because I was sick. I felt guilty, but I shouldn’t. We all have a different grasp on life and our abilities, and if it takes me an extra day to recover before I can go full swing travelling again, then that’s okay. Always take the time to listen to your body- no one knows your body quite like you, it’s strangely interesting (and frustrating when doctors are telling you one thing and you think another!) So whenever you're feeling like something is a little off, or you’d rather just relax one day, then feel no shame in that.

This is the same for all of life- not just when travelling. Listening to your health is your number one priority and taking steps to make sure you are okay will lead to a happier, healthier life- at least I hope. So whilst I reflect that the last week has been tough, I know if I take the right steps in the future and fine-tune how I am feeling, I can continue to enjoy this amazing journey I am on, for hopefully a long time.  People often ask me if long-term travel with diabetes is difficult. I say yes, sometimes, but it's worth every moment. The only way I can manage my diabetes and travel the world is by making sure I am priority and that I am okay- for once I can be selfish but guilt free!