Published on 2 June 2021

Building Resilience is an Ongoing Journey

During the COVID-19 pandemic, resilience has become a buzzword for successfully navigating through troubled times. But what is resilience? And can it really be improved? Or in other words: Is resilience a muscle you can build? Four experts, belonging to the diabetes and healthcare fraternity, teamed up for a virtual dialogue about building resilience and learning techniques to cope and take control of managing stress, especially for people with diabetes.

The webinar, hosted by Roche Diabetes Care, focused on how to cope with stress, uncertainty, and anxiety factors that often accompany the chronic condition. It was an open webinar and was attended by audiences belonging to a wide spectrum including social media influencers, HCPs, people living with diabetes, etc. The experts shared insights around stress and neurobiology, and specifically, how stress affects diabetes management. Furthermore they introduced resilience building strategies and shared actionable ways to cope with adversities. Read the four key takeaways from the webinar.


1. Recognise the signs of stress Solveig Rabe,Product Owner Health @ Site Basel-Kaiseraugst, is responsible for overarching health topics at Roche Basel-Kaiseraugst. She spoke about the neurobiology of stress, the importance of balanced hormone levels for people with diabetes and how to actually recognise that one is stressed out. The signs are as diverse and numerous: sleeplessness, loss of appetite or being impatient, to name a few. Solveig´s advice when people sense that feelings or behaviours are changing:  “If it is a continuous period, like two weeks, it's a serious signal that you turn into a serious mental impacting situation and that can lead to depression, anxiety.”


2. You are not helpless and have the power to take control What can stress do to people with diabetes? Joerg Weissmann, Head of Global Medical Value at Roche Diabetes Care and Medical Doctor with a wide experience on diabetes therapy, highlighted that repeated episodes of stress can cause serious changes in blood glucose levels, making daily diabetes management even harder and increasing the risk of pronounced glucose fluctuations. Therefore, it is vital to take action to beat stress and diabetes burnout:  "It's important to look at signs of continuous stress and to address this. As a status we cannot accept it, we have to work on that."


3. It is ok to ‘not be ok’ because you are not alone – you are a part of a large community who is here to support you What sounds like a given is not one at all. Webinar host Scott Johnson, who has been living well with diabetes for 41 years and works in corporate communications at Roche Diabetes Care and mySugr, had to learn this over the years:  "If I were to take one lesson from all the resilience building that I have done, it would be 'don’t do diabetes alone’!" When asked what was building up his resilience, Scott replied: “We have to go through challenging situations and those are never fun. It feels very hard when you are going through those situations, but when you come out on the other side you can say "You know what, I survived that and I'm better from that."


4.Take back control, build your circle of influence by identifying what you can control and reach out for support How to take back control? Cecilia Juhlin, a licensed psychotherapist and Learning and Organisational Development Partner at Roche, shared some tips to get back into the driver's seat, such as learning ways to express emotions, verbalising them, writing them down, playing an instrument, singing or drawing. It is important, Cecila says, not to suppress emotions, but to process emotional events thoroughly. She also stressed how important it is not to be hard on oneself:  "It's not a sign of weakness - seeking support. It's a sign of self-awareness and self-competence, that I take that responsibility and I also seek support if it's necessary."

Watch 4 expert tips from the webinar to help get started with building resilience

Solveig Rabe, responsible for the overarching health topics at Roche Basel-Kaiseraugst
If you sense something is changing, you are changing. 

Joerg Weissmann, Head of Global Medical Value at Roche Diabetes Care
It is crucial to remove stress from your life especially when having diabetes because it puts you at additional risk and it is also deteriorating the glycaemic control over-time.

Scott Johnson, Corporate Communications, Roche Diabetes Care & mySugr
The most important lesson for me through most of my challenging situations is to 'not do diabetes alone'.

Cecilia Juhlin, Learning and Organisational Development Partner, Roche
If I don't take responsibility for my actions, I can also not influence them completely if I am delegating responsibility to someone else.

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