Is there anything better than getting a reward for being awesome or doing something awesome? I’m a h-u-g-e fan of rewards, mostly because they help maintain and jumpstart proactive behaviors. If you think about it, we operate on a merit based system in a lot of areas, especially school and work. Get a 4.0, earn a scholarship. Perform above and beyond your duties at work, get a promotion. It gets a little bit more gray when trying to figure out what a good reward is outside the classroom or office. For some people, rewards are a nice dinner out, a slice of cheesecake, or a vacation. This is probably one of the few times when diabetes is actually “fun” because it presents many occasions that call for rewards- consistently earning in-range A1C levels, having a good month of blood sugars, being diligent about recording BGs and eating habits, etc etc. And, you know, diabetes is a mentally draining, never ending disease (for now...) so it’s important to keep yourself motivated to prevent mental burnout and a deliberate avoidance of proper treatment. I also try to pick rewards that I won’t feel guilty about, because guilt will just negate any positive emotions derived from chosen reward. As such, I reward myself a lot with a few different things:
- Shoes- Is there anything better than a new pair of shoes? Killer heels, demure flats, fluffy moccasins, the list goes on and one. I love it all, and find that shoes are an easy thing to pick up when I need a little pick me up. I’m a deal shopper though, so I try to snipe shoes that are on sale or are at a really good price so I won’t kill my credit score.
- Dinner- I love food, and I love good food at that. Since diabetes makes it a little harder to eat out (guessing carb counts on the fly is not an enjoyable activity) I try to eat out when I feel like I deserve it, like after I consistently pull great BGs for a week or two. I’m not talking dinner at some chain restaurant either- I’m going to a local restaurant with great food and craft beer. It’s also convenient that I am a vegetarian and don’t need an $80 steak for dinner for something to feel like a treat.
- Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL y’all)- This qualifies as a reward because these things are not for casual diabetic consumption. I have no idea how much sugar is in these and I don’t want to know, because that will ruin the reward mentality behind it. I make sure I walk to and from Starbucks, I always get a small (...tall?) and have it made with soy milk so that my sugars don’t rage like a lunatic for hours after.
Those are my rewards for good diabetic behavior, but everyone is different. Do you have any rewards for being a diabetic superhero? Let me know!