11 Ways to Cope with Diabetes Distress

A pre-diabetes, insulin resistance or PCOS diagnosis might feel overwhelming. This diagnosis requires considerable lifestyle adjustments if you want to support healthy blood sugar levels and live a healthy life.

Lifestyle adjustments can be exciting and empowering at first, however over time you may find yourself exhausted, frustrated, and may leave you feeling burned out. This burnout is called diabetes distress.

What are the Sings of Diabetes Distress?

If you or a loved one is suffering from insulin resistance, PCOS or pre-diabetes, these are some of the common symptoms of diabetic distress.

  • Increased risk of frustration or worry regarding the cost of healthcare and medications.
  • Increased risk of burnout from frequent testing, as well as an increased reluctance to manage blood glucose levels.
  • Emotional exhaustion as a result of a perceived absence of support from friends and family.
  • Fear and a focus on potential health complications triggered by diabetes.
  • Feelings of being unable to speak effectively with your healthcare provider.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it may give you an idea of the frustrating and exhausting feelings that you may experience when you have diabetes distress. It is characterized by an overall sense of dissatisfaction, fatigue, and an insufficient support system. 

Is Diabetes Distress a Type of Depression?

Diabetes distress is not the same as clinical depression according to The Society of Behavioral Medicine. It is not classified as a psychological condition. Diabetes distress results from the constant stress of trying to manage diabetes, which usually consists of monitoring, eating, and medications.  

These are natural emotions often experienced by someone who has been dealing with diabetes for an extended period of time. That said, it is not beneficial to whole-body health. Diabetes distress has been demonstrated to increase the risk of negatively influencing the management of healthy blood sugar levels and long-term health outcomes. 

11 Tips to Cope with Diabetes Distress.

  1. Communicate with your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider should be knowledgeable when it comes to diabetes distress. They are trained to provide you with the support you need to feel re-energized so that you may continue on your journey to better health. 
  2. Communicate with your family and loved ones. Assist your family in understanding the pressures of managing diabetes and the value of being supported. 
  3. Seek help from those who are on a similar journey. Your healthcare provider may be able to recommend services and support groups in your area for added support. If there are no local groups, look for a supportive online community. This sort of assistance may make a significant impact on mental and emotional wellness. These communities are also a great place to discuss ideas, hobbies, and advice for living a happy and healthy life with diabetes. 
  4. Talk with your friends. You may have friends who were first enthusiastic and encouraging but have now lost interest. This may make you feel isolated. Tell them you still suffer with diabetes on a daily basis and that you need their active support to keep going.
  5. Limit exposure to negative input. You may know people who make you feel worse about having diabetes. Some individuals are unwilling to care, support, or assist you in making healthy choices. These people can exacerbate your distress. Limit your time with them if they refuse to be supportive.
  6. Increase exposure to positive input. If you have people in your life who are really supportive, make an effort to spend more time with them. You don’t need to only talk about diabetes with them; simply enjoy the happiness and relaxation they add to your life. These friends and family members are beneficial to you sine they are more likely to understand with the highs and lows of diabetes management.
  7. Seek financial assistance. If you continually concerned about the expense of monitoring equipment, medications, and supplements, talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about any programs that are available to help with the supply cost of managing diabetes.  
  8. Request physical assistance. Ask for assistance if you are overburdened with food preparation, medication tracking, glucose monitoring, and day-to-day activities. Ask relatives and friends whether they would be willing to help you with small tasks that will help you to feel supported and keep you on track. If you can afford it, consider hiring someone to help with washing, cleaning, and/or meal preparation.
  9. Take it one task at a time. Diabetes management obligations may leave you feeling overwhelmed. Rather than focusing on everything at once, concentrate on one task at a time. Making lists may help you better organize your thoughts and tasks at hand. This may also reduce the fear of forgetting anything important in the future.
  10. Take it one habit at a time. You cannot transform your entire life in a single day or a month. Attempting to do so increases the risk of feeling distressed. This is especially true if you fail to meet a goal. Concentrate on doing something new that is healthy for you, but take it one at a time.
  11. Take time to enjoy life. A diabetes diagnosis might feel like a whole life overhaul. However, you remain the same person and enjoy the same activities. Choose healthy hobbies that have always invigorated and calmed you and commit to continuing to enjoy them. This focus will help you recall why you want to live and re-energize your efforts toward improved health. 

We understand that diabetes management might feel like a full-time job. We also believe that you have the ability to achieve and positively change your life. 

Do You need support on your journey?

We encourage you to join our supportive community of people on similar journeys as yours. We understand that support may make all the difference in the world and we are here for you. 


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