Care Plan: 5 Coping with Diabetes

Diabetes can affect nearly every aspect of your daily life. It’s important to learn to manage stress and other worries in your life because of the effect they can have on your blood sugar levels. You can incorporate diabetes coping strategies in your daily routine to help you follow the care plan your doctor prescribed.

There is no better time to start learning how to cope well with your diabetes than right now!

Coping with the diagnosis of diabetes

Receiving a diagnosis of diabetes can come as a shock. Fortunately, with effort and commitment, you can deal with the shock and stress you may feel by taking charge and managing your diabetes.

It is important to deal with your new diagnosis in as healthy a way as you can, starting with accepting that diabetes is serious. Your next step is to learn all you can by asking questions of your diabetes care team. Be sure to ask them for materials you can read at home. This website has a wealth of information on diabetes care, so be sure to refer to it often. Here are some specific tips that will help you cope in a healthy way with some of the most challenging aspects of a new diagnosis of diabetes.

  • Coping with meal plan changes
  • Getting comfortable with a more active life
  • Coping with regular blood sugar checking

Remember, learning all you need to know to manage your diabetes will take time. The important thing is to keep taking steps toward coping with the challenges in a healthy way. Take good care of yourself, and seek the support you need from others. There is a lot to do when you have diabetes, but you can do it. If you stick with it, you are sure to find that life-even with diabetes-can be good.

Coping with a change in diabetes treatment

Change is a part of life when you have diabetes, but usually the changes are small. Coping with small changes can be annoying, but most people get used to making changes over time.

However, when a significant change in your medicine is suggested, such as when your doctor suggests adding another pill to manage your blood sugar or recommends that you begin an injectable medicine, it can seem upsetting or stressful. First, you may worry that your diabetes is getting worse. Second, you may feel as though you have failed in your efforts to keep things under control. These are commonly held beliefs, but here is the good news. Neither is true.

It is important to realize that type 2 diabetes is a disease that changes over time, even if you do everything right. Most people with type 2 diabetes, even if they follow their diabetes care plans closely, will eventually need more medicine, such as an injectable medicine. When this happens, don’t think the change has occurred because you did something wrong. This is just the nature of type 2 diabetes. And taking more medicine does not mean you are sicker. It just means you need something different to help keep you healthy. The most important thing you can do now is to work on accepting this change in treatment. You can start by learning what you need to know about making these new medicines a part of your new daily routine.

Coping with diabetes-related health problems

When you find out that you have diabetes, you may worry about diabetes-related health problems. It’s important to remember, though, that many people with diabetes are able to live long, healthy, full lives.

People with diabetes have a greater risk for some other health problems. But diabetes-related health problems don’t have to happen. Even if you already have some problems, it’s not too late to make changes to prevent them from getting worse. Healthy coping means not living your life in fear.

At the same time, healthy coping does not mean living life recklessly. It is important to take action to reduce your risk for diabetes-related health problems.

You can do that by sticking to your diabetes care plan and keeping your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible.

  • Coping with fear
  • Coping with guilt and depression

Diabetes-related health problems don’t have to happen. But they can occur, especially when you are not careful about managing your diabetes. It’s important not to give up if you start to have diabetes-related health problems. Instead, look at problems as a wake-up call. Renew your pledge to take care of yourself, and start taking action today to stay on track. For more information on foot care for diabetics, click here.

Frustrated with day-to-day management

Managing diabetes requires careful attention to detail. But you’re likely to feel better and have fewer diabetes-related problems if you can master the details.

It’s normal to feel frustrated sometimes by the details of dealing with diabetes every day. You’re not alone in feeling this way. But it’s important to learn to recognize these feelings of frustration and find healthy ways to cope with them.

Here are some tips that will help you cope with some of the most challenging aspects of managing diabetes on a daily basis.

  • Coping with changes in your way of eating
  • Coping with a lack of motivation to stay active
  • Coping with the demands of checking your blood sugar

Your diabetes care plan is the key to managing your diabetes. Mastering the challenges will greatly benefit your health. There is a lot you have to do when you have diabetes, but you can do it. If you stick with it, you’ll find that you can live a full, active life with diabetes.

Coping with diabetes burnout

Managing your diabetes day to day is key to living a full, active life. But having to pay attention to the many details of diabetes management every day is not always easy.

Many people who have had diabetes for a long time have a condition called “burnout.” Psychologist and certified diabetes educator William H. Polonsky defines burnout as “what happens when you feel overwhelmed by diabetes and by the frustrating burden of diabetes self-care.”

It’s likely that you are in the throes of diabetes burnout if:
  • You’re feeling burdened by diabetes
  • You’re angry and filled with negative feelings
  • You feel that diabetes controls your life
  • You’re thinking of quitting your diabetes care
Diabetes burnout:
  • Is very common among people who have diabetes
  • Reduces your energy and interest in taking care of yourself
  • Can be defeated

You may need professional help to overcome your feelings of diabetes burnout. Talk with your diabetes care team about how you are feeling. They can refer you to other specialists as needed. You can also work on changing your response to diabetes and its challenges. Instead of reacting from a feeling approach, try a thinking approach. For instance, let’s say your blood sugar level went up. When you react by feeling, you might respond with, “Oh no, I’ve failed again!” With a thinking approach to the same event, you might focus instead on, “Okay, my level is up. Now what can I do to bring that number down?”

Your diabetes care plan is the key to managing your diabetes. Mastering the challenges will greatly benefit your health. There is a lot you have to do when you have diabetes, but you can do it. If you stick with it, you’ll find that you can live a full, active life with diabetes.

Learning to change

Changing your habits or behavior can be hard, but you have the power to change. Just take 1 step at a time! This Contract to Meet My Goals can help you get started.

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Diabetes support groups

Living with diabetes is much easier when you have support. There are several organizations you can call if you want to learn more about diabetes and find support. Two of these groups have national headquarters as well as local chapters. (To find the local chapters, check your phone book, go to the group’s website, or contact the national office.)

American Diabetes Association
1701 N. Beauregard Street
Alexandria, VA 22311
1-800-DIABETES (342-2383)

26 Broadway
New York, NY 10004
Phone: 1-800-533-CURE (533-2873)
Fax: 1-212-785-9595

Many diabetes support groups meet at hospitals or places of worship. Check with your local hospital or diabetes education program for more details if you are interested in joining a support group. Diabetes magazines can be a good source for finding pen pals and for other helpful tips. You can probably find diabetes magazines at your local library. Your family and close friends can also be a great source of support.

Your diabetes care team is a very important source of support.

They can help you:

  • Get information and follow-up care
  • Understand when and how to get emergency care
  • Get your diabetes supplies, education, and services paid for
  • Use community resources for information and support

Managing diabetes can be hard for even the most motivated person. But with effort and commitment, you can manage your diabetes and get through the tough times successfully.

In 2001, a survey was commissioned to measure how attitudes, psychological health, and ability to cope with challenges affect the health and well-being of people living with diabetes. The survey found that most people with diabetes had trouble following their care plans, for a variety of reasons. In addition, many felt that managing their diabetes was demanding and kept them from doing what they wanted to do in life.

You may identify with these findings. But it’s important to know that when you do follow your diabetes care plan, you can reduce your risk for diabetes-related health problems. Yes, it does require many changes to live well with diabetes. But learning to cope with the changes is an important part of managing your diabetes.

There are 3 key factors to coping well with diabetes:

Knowledge. Try to learn all you can about diabetes. Find out what you can do on a daily basis to manage it for the rest of your life.

Skill. There's a difference between knowing what to do and being able to do it. Developing good coping and self-care skills helps you take your knowledge and put it to good use. Give yourself time to learn these new skills, though. It won’t happen overnight.

Support. Most people find it easier to deal with the challenges of coping with diabetes when they have the support of family, friends, and members of their diabetes care team.