6 Ways Diabetics May Boost Their Mental Health
Most people are aware of the toll that a diagnosis of diabetes can make on someone’s physical health. However, did you know that it can severely impact mental well-being, too?
Given that diabetes can affect so many aspects of one’s health and lifestyle, some people can feel overwhelmed dealing with the daily demands of diabetes and experience mental health issues along the way.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that people diagnosed with diabetes who are feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, or unhappy trying to manage their diabetes may be affected with what is known as “diabetes distress.”
If this is not recognized, diabetes distress can cause people to slip into unhealthy habits that can negatively affect their health and quality of life, and can make diabetes worse. This condition can affect even patients who have already adjusted and managed their diabetes well. According to the CDC, diabetes distress can affect around 33% to 50% of patients in an 18-month period.
Stress may negatively impact your blood sugar levels, causing unpredictable rises or falls and lead to worsened health issues. In some instances, the stress caused by a diabetes diagnosis can make it difficult for you to take care of yourself well.
So how do you deal with mental health conditions associated with diabetes? Take note of these tips to help you cope with a diabetes diagnosis. These strategies can help you (or someone you know) lessen the negative feelings that arise with diabetes:
- Talk to family and/or friends about your feelings. One piece of advice that health experts have constantly reiterated when it comes to mental health would be to talk to your loved ones about the feelings and problems you may be struggling with.
As much as possible, try to be clear and honest about how you want people to help you. Expressing these feelings may help alleviate some of the stress you are already experiencing. Moreover, bottling the emotions or feelings you may have inside can lead to negative consequences.
- Consult health professionals and talk to them about your feelings. You may be consulting or visiting them for quite some time, so it may be wise to be honest about what you are feeling about your diagnosis.
These health professionals may help you learn how to cope with diabetes mentally, suggest ways to alleviate these emotions, or even refer you to some of their colleagues who they feel can assist you better.
- Pay attention to your feelings. You may deal with a rollercoaster of emotions because of a diabetes diagnosis. You may start journaling to help keep track of what you may be feeling on a particular day.
However, if you notice that it can get overwhelming or distressing, seek the guidance of a mental health professional or counselor right away, especially one who is knowledgeable in dealing with people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes.
- Join support groups for diabetics. When someone understands what you may be going through, they may be able to give you helpful advice. Joining communities or participating in virtual or face-to-face activities will not only allow you to meet other people who know what you are going through, but also help you learn more about how they deal or manage their condition better.
- Engage in fun and relaxing activities: These may help alleviate feelings of stress, whether on your own or with other people. Good examples include:
- Playing games with family and/or friends
- Going on a quick walk
- Reading a book
- Practicing relaxing exercises like meditation or yoga (just ask your doctor first if you can do these activities to prevent further injuries)
- Follow a healthy lifestyle. There has been talk that good physical health may help improve your mental health. With this in mind, try to keep your physical health in tip-top shape by implementing positive lifestyle changes.
If you have diabetes, eat as much nutrient-rich and healthy food, reduce consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and/or sugar, exercise (provided you have consulted with your doctor about the ideal workout for your current health status), and get enough quality sleep.
While these changes may not provide “significant” results at first, you can reap the benefits of these practices in the long run.
Check out other strategies on how to address stressful feelings caused by diabetes, as well as other important information about the disease, by visiting the Tamang Alaga website today.