Over the years, there've been lots of online sharing initiatives for our Diabetes Community, like D-Blog Week and the #IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes campaign. But ironically, today is marked Diabetes Social Media Burnout Day, in which we're all encouraged to post about how we may get frazzled by all this online sharing.
The effort was initiated by our friends over at Diabetes Daily, and this is the prompt they're calling for input on:
Do you take breaks? Have you been the target of an attack? Felt bullied? Exhausted? Unappreciated? How do you heal, endure, recharge, or reconnect to find your own happy balance within this powerful and tremendous community?
Across the DOC (Diabetes Online Community), people are writing and sharing their own stories via blogs and on Twitter using the #DOCburnout2015 hashtag.
Here's my personal take on this topic...
On a recent day in the DOC, I found myself pulled between three different trains of thought --- all of which led me to a point of exhaustion:
1. Big news broke that a new diabetes device had been cleared by the powers-that-be, and being a diabetes journalist by trade, of course I had to jump into immediate breaking news coverage mode.
2. For the first time in many months, I was tuned in to the hour-long DSMA chat on Twitter, actually acting as host that evening on behalf of the 'Mine, tweeting up a storm about all things diabetes.
3. My blood sugars plunged into the 40s and skyrocketed up into the high 200s over the course of the day, in part because I'm currently working to fine-tune basal and bolus rates and there's some experimentation going on.
Yeah... diabetes was definitely on my mind.
I found that the next day, I was a little spent when it came to doing anything for, or thinking about, diabetes. I kind of had to turn off my diabetes switch after the intensity of the previous day, otherwise it would've overwhelmed me.
Working at diabetes both personally and professionally is something I've never had to deal with before joining the 'Mine back in 2012, and while I absolutely love this, it does require that I put more effort into balancing all sides of diabetes in my life. Sometimes I do wish I could step away from the DOC and the constant "talking about diabetes online," but that's not an option at this point in my life. When it's your day job, you don't have the leisure to just look away for a while.
Don't get me wrong -- I love what I do. It's just that I need to recognize that I sometimes teeter on the precipice of burnout. I need to allow myself to embrace that feeling.
"We cannot numb ourselves to our own experiences. We cannot lead ethically when we are numb."
Yes, I have to recognize and respect how "Everything D, all the time" affects me, and how that influences how I do my job and live my life.
Being a news guy at heart, my D-journalism radar is by default always turned on. Most days, I can turn the switch on full blast and keep that light radiating during most of the day, and then once we get into the evening hours, dim the light and step into a different room -- one where I'm focusing on family, personal life and whatever else may be going on.
Of course, my own D-management radar is always turned on to some degree. But over the past few years, I've learned to put on different hats individually rather than try to wear multiples all at once and inevitably burn myself out. There are obvious overlaps because this is all so personal to me, but it takes a certain finesse in balancing it correctly to preserve my own sanity.
Unfortunately, stepping away from the personal side of the DOC has been a needed sacrifice. I don't hang out on Twitter or engage in my off-hours as much as I once did. Instead, the evening hours are now times reserved specifically for interacting with family, watching TV, or going out to see some of the rest of the world around me. Those are all very healthy activities, but it means I don't just hang out online and "chat with other D-peeps" as much as I used to.
'Mine editor AmyT says she's experienced this too. After concentrating on the site and our @DiabetesMine feed all day, there isn't much left over for the kind of individual peer interaction we both used to do so much in the early days of the DOC. She says her endo has even expressed worry that she's just too seeped in diabetes -- all day every day -- and that might lead to major burnout at some point.
To me, the key to all of this is: Know Yourself. Be able to recognize what you need and how much is too much, and make sure no matter how and when you're engaging in diabetes social media, it's on your own terms. It has to be something you're not just obligated to do, but something you want to do. So far, despite a slight drowning feeling some days, I can honestly say that it's worth the juggling act.
If you write your own entry for Diabetes Social Media Burnout Day, you're encouraged to log that at Diabetes Daily here. You can also follow along with the discussion on Twitter using hashtag #DOCburnout2015.