Caring for diabetes is a non-stop job as are many other things that we do on a daily basis. Monitoring blood sugars, eating appropriately, taking medications as prescribed, exercising, dealing with insurance, dealing with high and low blood sugars are things that are day multiple times throughout the day. Explaining diabetes and what it feels like to others is also a daily hassle. With a condition that is 24/7, stress and diabetes burnout is very natural. Although it is common, it does not mean that it is not easy to cope with. The effects of stress on our physical and emotional well-being have been studied extensively. Ultimately, we know that long-term stress negatively affects our health. Since we know that it can harm us, it is important to address it.
You need to identify what is causing stress in your life. This can be something major such as a job change, financial problems, family drama, long commutes to work, etc. The cause of stress does not have to always be something that is negative as positive things are stressful too, such as planning a vacation or getting married.
Divide you list of stressors into three categories: 100% control, some control, and no control.
Conquer the 100% control list first. Since you are in absolute control, you have the power to significantly reduce the stressors in your life. Then move onto the “some control” category. Here, you will be able to eliminate some stressful things in your life. Be sure to cross the items off as you conquer them as it will give you the satisfaction knowing that you have eliminated it. There will be some items in the “no control” category, however by eliminating the first category and part of the second category, you will significantly reduce the overall stress in your life.
Attitude is very important in dealing with stress. Asking for help can be very beneficial in dealing with stress. Asking is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength. Realizing that you are not a robot and that people are often very willing to lend an ear or a helping hand. Sometimes you may not feel comfortable in asking your closest friends or family for help, so seeking out a professional is a good option. This person is a real human being who deals with stress too and can act as a sounding boarding for your thoughts and frustrations. Sometimes getting things out in the open can decrease a lot of the burden. If we let stress build-up in our life, often something gives and that something is usually diabetes self-management. Diabetes always has a presence and it can be easy to ignore the signs, especially if you have many other things competing for your attention. Be sure to allow yourself some time to unwind from the day. You can do it in any way, as long as it works for you, such as taking a hot shower, reading for 20 minutes, doing a puzzle, petting you dog, etc. Also, it is important to make sure that you have done something enjoyable each and every day, something that makes you smile. Hopefully, that positive attitude will help carry you throughout the day.