Feeling Depleted? Go Play Outside!

play outside

Managing life and diabetes can take on some serious challenges throughout the lifespan. Having just experienced my 22nd anniversary with T1D, this past year has challenged me in ways I couldn’t have anticipated. In September 2021, I resigned from my 15-year position at a medical institution in my hometown and started my private practice. That same month, I learned of my brother-in-law’s terminal diagnosis of cancer; he would pass away on New Year’s Day. In April, my appendix ruptured, resulting in having to deal with an unexpected medical crisis. The toll this has taken on me mentally and physically has been more than I could fathom.

A dear friend of mine shared Brene Brown’s “Unlocking Us” podcast with me that spoke to ambiguous trauma and loss, which can be hard to name. Understanding how grief and loss depletes our energy reserves, spoke just to what I was experiencing, helped me name it, and gave me the much-needed strategies I could use to take care of myself.

Three recommendations I have been living by have been:

1) acknowledge the weariness and exhaustion are normal.

2) do small things that are good, no matter what. Doing small things that are in our control to help us cope with the really big things that aren’t in our control.

3) Play! we have a biological need for “PLAY” which is defined as ‘time spent without purpose’.

Being outside is a vital way of connecting with this depleted part of ourselves. Short and simple, getting outside and giving myself space to do playful behaviors is slowly but steadily refilling my depleted energy reserves. Mentally and physically, my brain and body are being respected and nurtured. Try it!  It might make a world of difference for you.