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3 min. read

From isolation to socialisation – are you ready?

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all had to adapt to the isolation we’ve experienced during lockdown. Renza Scibilia, diabetes advocate and author of Diabetogenic, living with type 1 diabetes in Australia, has regularly shared her experiences throughout. For Renza, isolation has brought some positives, with the restrictions allowing her to better foresee and plan her days, giving her more control of her diabetes and finding a good daily balance.

With many countries now starting to emerge from lockdown, for most people the possibility of getting out into the world again seems exciting, but people with diabetes are still in the “high risk” category for COVID-19.

“I live with diabetes, and I understand that I am high risk of complications, and so it seems, death, if I get COVID-19. But mostly, more than anything else, I am a person trying to make sense of all of this and stay safe, healthy and sane”

-Renza, living with T1D, Australia

“I really hate feeling vulnerable. And that is exactly how I feel right now” explained Renza.

Maybe this sounds familiar to you? Even though infection rates are falling, unfortunately the risk of contracting COVID-19 hasn’t gone away. Easing of restrictions are a sign of progress but, as it becomes possible for people to go out and socialise (in some way), it remains important to remember to take care and follow all the necessary precautions according to your local government guidance.

“I feel torn. I miss my family and friends. I am desperate to be able to get back out and be around them and just not worry. But equally, I don’t know where they’ve been! I don’t trust people – which is a terrible thing to say. So, what is it? Why do I feel this way?"

-Renza, living with T1D, Australia

Helping you feel confident and safe when starting to socialise again

You may find that socialising in the current situation can make you feel anxious and nervous, but hopefully the following tips can help you to be confident that you’re doing all you can to stay safe.

  • It is always important to take care of yourself and your diabetes first. There is growing evidence that good blood sugar control reduces the risk of severe complications from COVID-19. You should always continue to follow the local health advice during the pandemic, e.g. regularly wash your hands, maintain social distancing, and look after your physical health and mental wellbeing.
  • If and when you do feel like going out to a restaurant or café, or socialising in another public place, choose somewhere that you know well where you know people are taking the right precautions in terms of cleaning and hygiene. Sticking to places you trust will help gain your confidence in going out.
  • If you’re less confident about going out and meeting in person, keep up with other forms of socialising like calling a friend while enjoying a good cup of coffee/tea and enjoy catching up in this way – this is still a great way to stay connected with friends and family.
  • Try connecting with other people living with diabetes online through social media groups and blogs. This should give you a chance to understand what others are going through and can help you form balanced decisions and put your feelings into perspective.
  • As your routine evolves, make sure it’s sustainable. Don’t do too much too soon or you may find that you’re too tired to enjoy socialising again.

“The idea of everything opening up, even slowly, makes me feel a bit anxious being in the most at risk group. I feel frustrated, angry and scared … and not ready or confident to leave the house yet. It affects my mental wellbeing and this is tough for so many people right now”, says Renza.

Many people living with diabetes are feeling scared and anxious during this time – you are not alone. Sharing your feelings with your family and friends will help them better understand your personal choices around socialising and the need for them to respect your boundaries and decisions.

Hopefully, in time you will be able to find a balanced ‘new normal’ that you’re happy with and there’s plenty of other support on feeling anxious, dealing with stress and the emotional challenges with lockdown restrictions easing available for you to read too.

If you are having difficulties in controlling your blood sugar levels, it’s important to speak to your doctor or nurse. They can offer tips and advice, or they may need to adjust your medication(s).

This is general disease awareness and should not be understood as medical advice. If you experience symptoms of COVID-19 or have questions, doubts or concerns, you should contact your doctor. Always follow the advice of local authorities.

In this article you will find links to third-party material not owned or controlled by Novo Nordisk. We are not responsible for the content or the accuracy of the information provided and have no control over the privacy policies or terms of use of such third-party sites.

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