By Mayo Clinic Health System staff
It can come as a shock to be diagnosed with a long-term illness. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless, but it’s important to know how to manage those feelings and learn how to cope with the daily stress of living with Type 2 diabetes.
Many communities offer diabetes classes or groups that can help you to manage your disease.
Read these tips from the Healthy Living with Diabetes class:
Take small steps
It’s a stressful feeling to be diagnosed with an illness that will affect your lifestyle long-term.
Here are a few ideas to get your feet on the ground:
- Take small steps.
Find small, weekly goals that are attainable and easier to accomplish. Long-term goals are great, but when you can accomplish something in a matter of days, you are more likely to continue to reach and set more goals for yourself.
- Get physical activity.
If you are one who rarely engages in physical activity, start by getting outside and going for a short, 5-minute walk. Once you start, it’s easier to continue on, so start small if you need to.
- Take time for yourself.
It is OK to feel overwhelmed. In fact, it’s normal. Take a few minutes of your day to do something that you enjoy to get you back on track to feeling like yourself.
- Eat healthy.
Whatever that may mean for you — give it a try. Even if it’s smaller portions than you normally eat, just start there.
Cope with new emotions
- Think positively.
Positive thinking can truly affect your ability to overcome emotions you may feel you have no control over. Turn negative thoughts, such as “I’m too tired” into “If I’m tired today, I probably got a lot done yesterday.”
- Practice gratitude.
There are many things in life to be thankful for. Choose to think about the good over the bad.
- Attend a diabetes-related class or support group.
These offerings allow you to share feelings with others coping with the same diagnosis. You can learn about what has helped others and maybe even help them along the way, too.
Easy steps to take
- If you’re watching TV, get out of your chair every time a commercial comes on, and take a few steps around.
- Use a smaller plate when dishing up your meals, and make sure half of your plate is nonstarchy vegetables.
- If you’ve been sitting for 30 minutes, take a 2-minute break and stand up.
- If you’re feeling stressed, sit in a quiet room and turn on calming music. You can even give calming essential oils a try, such as lavender.
- Before you go grocery shopping, eat a healthy snack so you’re less likely to grab unhealthy foods.
- Remember to ask your friends and family for help if you ever feel that you need it.
Not all tips and tricks work for everyone. Contact your health care provider for further questions and techniques that will meet your specific needs. Remember to give yourself time, and know that change doesn’t happen overnight. Although living with Type 2 diabetes often is difficult, it is manageable. Your health care team can help you answer questions and ensure you receive the care you need.
Learn more about managing diabetes:
- Mike Krueger was committed to improving his situation with healthy lifestyle choices. Read how he learned to manage Type 2 diabetes without medication.
- Debbie Hundley's extreme fatigue signaled Type 2 diabetes. Read how lifestyle changes in diet and exercise brought her rapid results in managing her diabetes.