Gary McClain, PhD, is a therapist, patient advocate, and writer who specializes in helping clients—as well as their family members and professional caregivers—deal with the emotional impact of chronic and life-threatening illnesses.
Living with diabetes isn’t easy. You have to be on top of your game all the time—diet, exercise, monitoring your numbers, medication compliance. It’s a full-time job!
So sure, you know the deal. If you strayed off the path, you found your way back. Diabetes has a way of reminding you of the consequences pretty quickly. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t having a day when you’ve followed all the rules and still can’t seem to get your numbers where they should be. If you have had a few of those days in a row, chances are you’re ready to scream: “Enough already! I’m tired of this!”
5 tips to cope with diabetes burnout
Let yourself be human. You didn’t ask to get diabetes; it just happened. A new challenge in managing your diabetes can awaken that voice that whispers, “If I stop cooperating, maybe the bully will give up and go away on its own,” or that louder voice that just wants to have a temper tantrum and scream, “I’m not doing this anymore. It’s somebody else’s turn!” Managing your diabetes can be a pretty bumpy road at times, and it’s only human to get frustrated. Accepting that your diabetes isn’t going anywhere without you is part of the journey. Show yourself some compassion.
Shift your focus toward the benefits of diabetes self-care. Sure, your treatment regimen presents some challenges, but what’s the upside of managing your diabetes? Participating in activities you enjoy, going to your job, being there for the people you care about. Maintaining your self-care is what makes all the good things in your life that much more possible!
Give yourself some tough love. If there is one thing that PWDs are aware of, it’s what can happen if you don’t stay compliant. Most likely your doctor gave you this lecture when you were first diagnosed and dusts if off once in awhile if your numbers are out of whack. Gently, but firmly, remind yourself that your regimen helps prevent further problems down the road, but also keep in mind that staying compliant with your medication and self-care regimen is not only the result of whether you are “feeling it” or not.
Keep an eye on your mental health. The daily challenges of diabetes can take a toll on your emotions, and that can lead to depression. Symptoms of depression include helplessness and hopelessness and that “Why bother?” attitude toward taking care of yourself. If you suspect you might be depressed, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.
Connect with other people with diabetes. After all, nobody knows what it’s like to live with diabetes better than someone who is traveling this road along beside you. Talk, vent, share ideas. Get some support and advice.
Living with diabetes isn’t easy. Show yourself some compassion. Put that compassion into action by taking the best possible care of yourself. Seize the day!