The last thing you expected to hear from your doctor was that you’d now have to be coping with diabetes.
You’d seen friends and relatives have to change their lifestyles after a diagnosis. You knew it wasn’t something you wanted for yourself.
You were likely told that you’d need to exercise regularly, pay special attention to your diet, regularly check your blood sugar levels, and maintain a healthy weight.
Then, you were probably told about what would happen if you didn’t do any of those things.
This really put on the pressure. Because there’s no known cure for diabetes, you were told that you’d have to continue this regimen indefinitely. What a day!
You left the doctor’s office knowing that you had to make some serious changes. Your quality of life depended on it. Maybe you were given pamphlets on what to eat, how to be physically active, and how to check your blood sugar levels.
Unfortunately, you left with no information on how to cope with the stress of coping with diabetes.
When many of us decide to change our lifestyles for the better, we do so hoping the best. We begin our new habits and soon realise that the new habit takes more planning, more explaining, or more commitment than we’d initially thought. So what helps us stick to a new lifestyle when the going gets tough? Coping skills.
The University of Scranton conducted a study that tracked how long people were able to stay committed to a new, healthy habit. 81% of people had failed to remain committed by the second year. 81%. The reason many reported being unable to maintain the new habit—a lack of effective coping skills. You won’t be like that 81% of people because today we’re going to look at six powerful ways of effectively coping with diabetes.
Keep a Journal
Writing in a journal isn’t only for teenage girls. Those who practise journal writing have reported benefits like decreased stress levels, personal growth, and the ability to see the positive aspects of stressful events.
Your journal serves as a place to be completely raw and unfiltered in expressing your fears and difficulties. There are no guidelines to your writing, and your sentences don’t have to make sense to anyone but you.
Allow yourself to become liberated from pent up emotions and confusing thoughts. Get started with a pen and blank notebook.
Begin Practising Meditation
Many people tend to have misconceptions about meditation. Some people believe that you must be part of a certain religion in order to practise; others don’t believe that meditation has any real benefits. Luckily for us, neither are true.
Meditation is for everyone. Studies continue to prove its benefits. This small, 8 week long-study, found that people with diabetes who practised meditation, saw significant improvements in HbA1c. They also saw a decrease in depression and anxiety. This means that an at-home practice of sitting quietly and placing focus on your breathing can improve your mental and physical health.
Oftentimes, a fear of doing something incorrectly, keeps us from doing anything at all. That needn’t be the case with meditation. Different meditation styles suit different people. There are many to choose from: guided, mindfulness-based stress reduction, Zen, transcendental, and more.
The key is to simply choose one and begin practising it. It’s important that you don’t stress over doing it “right.”
See a Professional About Coping with Diabetes
In many societies, it’s acceptable that a person seek medical help when he or she has a physical ailment. This differs from when a person has a mental or emotional ailment.
There is a mental health stigma in many societies. People are fearful that if they seek mental help, others may label them as “crazy” or “unstable.” This is unfortunate because at some point, most of us could benefit from seeing a mental health professional.
A counsellor or therapist provides a non-judgmental environment where you’re able to vent and make sense of your thoughts and feelings. When you seek mental help, you decrease the likelihood of falling back into unhealthy habits.
Read Success Stories
Personal stories link us together and remind us that we’re not alone in our experiences.
A news anchor may only peak your interest by telling a burn victim’s survival story. You’ll likely experience a stronger reaction if the burn victim is televised telling her own survival story including details, emotions, and insights.
Success stories show us that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Stories like this one remind us that someone was once where we are today. This can be especially encouraging when dealing with a disease that affects so many people like diabetes does.
Learn as Much as Possible
People repeat the saying “knowledge is power” over and over because it’s true. The more you know about coping with diabetes, the more equipped you’ll feel to actively take charge of your health.
Subjects we know little about tend to intimidate us. Increasing your knowledge about diabetes will allow you to ditch any fear based perceptions and allow you to form new, informed perceptions.
Join a Support Group
Don’t experience the hardships of life, alone. We’re social creatures who require support. Joining a support group for diabetics is one of the most beneficial steps you could take. It allows you to meet others who are going through similar experiences and to learn from their stories. It also gives you the option to ask questions and to gain the needed encouragement.
Coping with diabetes takes planning, preparation, and adjusting. It’s important that you know effective ways to cope. Without effective coping skills, you risk falling back into old habits that are harmful to your health. The six coping skills that we covered today will allow you to decrease stress, receive support, and to become more knowledgeable—all resulting in a more successful journey to health.