Managing diabetes can be hard. Each day, you need to:
- Check your blood sugar levels
- Eat healthy food
- Be active
- Take your medicine
- Make good health choices
Plus, there’s the worry — from in-the-moment issues like high or low blood sugar to bigger-picture ones like the cost of meds or the possibility of complications.
It’s a lot.
That’s why you may find yourself with diabetes distress. This is when all the worry, frustration, anger, and burnout make it hard for you to take care of yourself.
The good news is that there are things you can do to cope with diabetes and manage stress. Here are 10 tips that can help.
Pay attention to your feelings
Almost everyone feels stressed from time to time. Dealing with diabetes can add to these feelings. Extreme stress for more than a week or two may signal that you need help coping so that you can feel better.
Talk with your healthcare provider about your feelings
Let your doctor, nurse, diabetes care and education specialist, psychologist, or social worker know how you’ve been feeling. They can help you problem-solve. They may also suggest that you speak with other healthcare providers to get help.
Talk to your healthcare providers about negative reactions people may have. They can help you manage feelings of being judged by others. You should never feel that you have to hide your diabetes from others.
Ask if help is available for the costs of diabetes medicines and supplies
If you are worried about paying for meds, talk with your pharmacist and other healthcare providers. They may know about programs that can help with costs. You can also check with community health centers to find programs that help people get insulin, diabetes meds, and supplies like test strips.
Talk to your family and friends
Tell those closest to you how you feel about having diabetes. Be honest about the problems you’re having. Just telling others how you feel helps to relieve stress. If the people around you add to your stress, let them know how and when you need them to help you.
Allow loved ones to help you take care of your diabetes
Those closest to you can help. They can remind you to take your meds, help monitor your blood sugar levels, join you in being active, and prepare healthy meals. They can also learn more about diabetes and go with you to doctor’s appointments. Ask your loved ones to help with your diabetes in ways that are useful to you.
Talk to other people with diabetes
Other people with diabetes get what you are going through. Ask them how they cope. They can help you feel less lonely and overwhelmed. Ask your healthcare providers about diabetes support groups in your community or online.
Do one thing at a time
When you think about everything you need to do, it can be overwhelming. Instead, make a list of all of the tasks you have to do. Try to work on each task one at a time.
As you work on your goals, take it slowly. You don’t have to do everything right away. Your goal may be to walk 10 minutes, three times a day each day. You can start by walking two times a day or every other day.
Take time to do things you enjoy
Give yourself a break! Set aside time in your day to do something you really love. It could be calling a friend, playing a game with your children or grandchildren, or working on a fun project. Find out about activities near you that you can do with a friend.
Remember that it’s important to pay attention to your feelings
If you notice that you’re feeling frustrated, tired, and unable to make decisions, take action. Tell your family, friends, and healthcare providers. They can help you get the support you need.