Managing your diabetes can sometimes seem overwhelming. All the attention that must be paid to nutrition, physical activity, medication management and blood glucose levels can sometimes take a toll on your emotional well-being. Below are a few small steps that can help you cope when your feelings about diabetes seem intense.
1. Stay motivated, not “perfect.” Rather than compare yourself to perfection, remember all the things that you do well to manage your diabetes. Celebrate your victories, but learn and move forward from your setbacks. Don’t focus on negatives or mistakes, like missing a workout or having a rich dessert. Instead, reward yourself for being good – for having a great blood glucose reading, or for cooking a healthy meal. Read our article Blood glucose level fluctuations: not all blood glucose levels need to be perfect.
2. Keep calm and carry on. It’s well-known that stress can raise blood glucose levels. When you’re feeling anxious about your diabetes management, there are some simple and effective stress management techniques you can use.
- Take 10 deep breaths and focus on positive thoughts.
- Run yourself a warm (not too hot!) bubble bath and relax in the soothing warmth.
- Listen to your favourite music and sing or hum along.
- Sit down with a good book or magazine and read a few pages – the time spent will help you turn your attention away from negative thoughts.
Refocussing your mind and your energies on pleasant activities can help you eliminate the stress that can sometimes accompany your diabetes management.
For further reading on stress management, check out Coping with Stress: 5 Ideas that Work.
3. Ask for help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, reach out to a trusted confidante. Friends and family members – the people who know you best – can provide generous support when you feel overwhelmed. Remember, diabetes is your journey, but it’s not yours alone – sharing your feelings and experiences with other can help you manage your diabetes to your best abilities.
4. Stay sharp! Diabetes requires you to make many decisions on any given day. A high or low blood glucose reading will often require rapid, informed decisions about food, physical activity and medication. Think, in advance, about situations that may occur, and plan how you will deal with them. For example, if your medication makes you prone to hypoglycemia, always have a source of carbohydrate handy (a few packets of table sugar or a roll of Life Savers). When you’re prepared for the situations that are bound to arise, planning solutions in advance will make it far easier – and less stressful – to cope.