Tips to help with diabetes distress

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April 20, 2022
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Have you ever caught yourself saying there are not enough hours in the day? Life is often full of responsibilities like managing work, school, family, household chores, hobbies and friendships. Juggling these can feel challenging.

If you are one of the 1.6 million Veterans enrolled in VA care living with diabetes, you may also feel overwhelmed managing your diabetes. Veterans are 2.5 times more likely than non-Veterans to have diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic health condition and requires several self-care behaviors, including foot care, exercise, dietary changes/food preparation, blood glucose self-testing, and administration of multiple medications. A large study found that the average person with diabetes spends almost one hour per day on diabetes self-care.

Frustrated? You are not alone

Spending almost an hour every day taking care of diabetes can bring up a lot of emotions. Have you ever felt frustrated, tired, stressed, or even angry about having diabetes? Have you ever felt like giving up on trying to manage it because no matter what you do, your blood glucose is still too high? If so, you are not alone.

These kinds of feelings are common and could be a sign that you are experiencing diabetes distress. But, how do you know? If you are concerned you might be experiencing diabetes distress, you can complete a brief self-assessment that will help you decide on next steps.

Experiencing distress? A few tips to cope to get you started:

Ask family and friends for support and encouragement.
Do things you enjoy! Read a book, take a walk, play a game, or catch up with old friends.
Take one day at a time. Be mindful and present.
Connect with other people who have diabetes. Many people can relate to what you are going through. Find a local support group.
Talk to your health care team about what you are feeling.
Take advantage of the many resources available in VA such as:

April is Stress Awareness Month, a good time to pay attention to diabetes-related stress. Diabetes is demanding and you don’t have to manage it alone!

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