Living with constant blood tests, injections, monitoring, emotional issues, and physical issue that happen over and over again takes its toll. Over time, you may feel worn out. In my previous blog, “Dealing With Diabetes Burnout,” I discussed the causes and symptoms of Diabetes Burnout. I talk about how diabetes is a highly stressful job, and diabetes management is never as simple as 1 + 1 = 2. This blog addresses some of the ways to prevent or reduce the severity of Diabetes Burnout.
Having positive thoughts about the tasks required to manage diabetes is a significant factor when it comes to avoiding burnout. Those who look at diabetes management through a negative lens tend to have more periods of exhaustion and burnout. Seeing blood sugar tests as a chore leads to frustration and pent up anger over time.
When looking at diabetes management through a neutral or positive lens, it tends to promote healthier ways of coping, having less server and fewer periods of Diabetes Burnout. There is a tendency to view management tasks as only a few minutes a day instead of 24hr a day. This positive way of thinking helps people living with diabetes to feel healthier and have better self-esteem. It also contributes to the feeling of being in control.
Having patience leads to less stress when living with diabetes. If you are caught in a rip current while swimming at the beach, instinct and the need to resolve the problem immediately tells you to swim to shore. But if you do that, you will struggle against the current and may drown. A better approach when you feel the pull of the current is to give yourself time and stay calm. Once you realize you can’t move toward the beach, you can change the course. Swim with the current along the beach. The current eventually dies down, and you can swim to shore.
If your blood sugar is high two hours after you eat and you give more insulin, you may be swimming against the current. If you have another two hours of onboard insulin, you risk a low blood sugar reaction. If you don’t go with your initial response to fix it now, giving the onboard insulin a chance to work, your blood sugars may return to normal in a few hours.
Being flexible through acceptance can significantly reduce the stress that leads to burnout. In the example above, fighting a rip current causes a person to struggle. Accepting you can’t move forward allows you to change course. Recognizing what is happening at the moment and the willingness to change your course can create better outcomes.
Talking About It
I find talking very helpful. Make sure that it is with those close to you who are capable of listening to you without bias or giving you unsolicited advice about your frustrations with diabetes. Good psychotherapists tend to be careful listeners and can be useful to reduce frustration to avoid diabetes burnout or help you work through your feeling when you are in a diabetes burnout phase.
Every day I help people build coping strategies and skills to manage the day-to-day Mini-Trauma that causes Diabetes Burnout. Interestingly enough, I don’t follow all the advice and direction I give to my clients. Wondering why?
As all people are uniquely different, special in their ways, so is the way they cope. Some individuals may use meditation to reduce the stress that is incurred from the mini-traumas, while others may play bocce ball or paint. Regardless of the type of coping skills used to manage life with diabetes, to be healthy, you need several ways to handle the trauma.
For example, one of my clients uses techniques learned in psychotherapy with a mix of playing guitar, tennis, and yoga. In therapy, this client has learned how to utilize self-talk to manage their emotional reactions when blood sugars are low or high. They have also have created a toolbox of useful coping tools and stratagems, ranging from breathing techniques to time management skills.
We are all different and required different ways to cope. Be kind to yourself, managing diabetes is a tough job and unforgiving. That is why it is vital for you to be forgiving of you. Avoid self-blaming, and when your blood sugar levels veer off course, remember comprehensive management doesn’t equal perfect numbers.
Most people already have several jobs (school, work, parenting, etc.), making diabetes burnout unavoidable from time to time. The goal is to reduce how many times you have burnout. And if you do find yourself in the grip of diabetes burnout, seek help from a mental health professional.
For information on Diabetes-Focused Psychotherapy and how it might help you; go to my website, www.diabetictalks.com today.
*All advice included in this article therapeutic in nature and should not be considered medical advice. Before making any changes to your diabetes maintenance program, please consult with your primary physician or endocrinologist.