Off the Diabeaten Track with Jennifer Sweeting - Diabetes WA
 In News

Do more of what brings you joy

My Wednesdays are often spent walking. It’s my one day off, so after I drop the boys at school, the day is mine until I pick them up just before three o’clock.

I spend some of the day getting caught up around the house, but I make sure most of it is about me.

It feels a little selfish to say that, but as a parent, partner, and professional, I feel like so much of my time and energy is given to other people, projects and planning. For example, I have the upcoming school holidays organised and the boys already have their next dentist appointment… in February. I enjoy being organised, but it can be exhausting. As a result, I am a big fan of self-care and knowing what I need to stay sane.

I talk about it a lot and remind people that “You can’t pour from an empty cup”. It’s important to make time for yourself, so you can look after everyone else. There’s a reason you are reminded to secure your own mask before assisting others in the case of an emergency on an airplane.

The focus of National Diabetes Week this year was mental health. It’s an important topic I am passionate about and I delivered webinars about stress, encouraging people to identify their triggers and employ strategies for coping with stress. In the webinar, I encourage people to seek help when they need it, but remember to connect with others, have a solid sleep regime, and stay active. Find what works for you.

Do more of what you enjoy and “refill your cup” to stay sane.  For me, that’s walking.

Whether it’s at the beach or in the bush, alone or with others, I am happiest when I hit my stride. Walking is a time when I self-reflect; I contemplate writing ideas and welcome the window of creativity as I explore my own thoughts. I don’t listen to music or podcasts, but the sounds of the birds and the wind in the trees makes me feel alive and present.

It is time to observe, take things in and connect with nature and myself. Anything seems possible.

While some may see it as a useless endeavour, French literary critic Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve considered the act of walking without a destination in mind to be “the very opposite of doing nothing”.

In fact, in 19th century Paris, ‘aimless walking’ was so respected that those who engaged in it even had a name – flaneur. To aimlessly walk the streets of Paris doing little more than observing the crowd, frequenting ones surroundings, for no other purpose than in and of itself, was elevated to an art form. I can identify with this, as there is something to be said of “aimless pursuits,” with no other intent.

Each time I walk, I am amazed at the happiness it brings me. A friend of mine once gave me a beautifully simple poster that said, “Do More of What Brings you Joy”.

For me, that’s quite often the simple things like walking in nature, spending time with family and friends or curling up like a cat on my couch with my favourite book in hand.

This spring, think about what brings you joy and “refill your cup” by doing more of it.

Jennifer Sweeting is a Primary Care Coordinator and DESMOND facilitator at Diabetes WA. She holds a Masters in Anthropology and Public Health. As an American anthropologist ‘Down Under’, Jennifer can often be found prattling on about the importance of human connection. She is a sleep evangelist, radio host, and writer who spends heaps of time beach combing and bushwalking with her two young boys.

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