Relieving Stress (Continued)
Talk to your diabetes health care provider. If you aren't sure how realistic your standards are (or you have realistic standards and are not meeting them) you need help from a good diabetes health care professional. Tell your doctor what is stressing you. A caring health care provider understands how challenging it is to have diabetes, and is able to provide the encouragement, advice, and information you need, whether it's a reality check concerning your expectations, or help making diabetes management a little easier. Your doctor should also be able to refer you to other health care professionals for diabetes education, nutritional counseling, foot care, or anything else you need. Knowing how to take the best possible care of yourself and getting the help you need to do it are major stress relievers.
Talk to your family and friends. No one should have to deal with diabetes alone, and I hope you don't have to. Talk to your family and friends about things they do that help make your life with diabetes less stressful, and ask for any additional help you need. People who care about you want you to live healthier and with less stress.
Talk to other people who have diabetes. No matter how much your family and friends love you, there are some things they can't understand unless they have diabetes themselves. That's why many people find spending time in a support group (or a "virtual" support group on the Internet) an effective stress reliever. Hospitals and clinics often sponsor diabetes support groups, and some also offer diabetes education classes, stress management classes, and other healthy services.
If you enjoy computers, go on the Internet for help, including chat rooms and bulletin boards. The website of the Children With Diabetes Foundation (www.childrenwithdiabetes.com) has a list of other good diabetes websites, including sites for adults as well as children. Talk to your health care provider about any information you get on the Internet, to be sure it is right for you.
Get active. Exercise is a wonderful stress reliever, and it doesn't take much activity to get big benefits. It can also help you control your weight and your blood sugar levels. So finding activities you enjoy (how about dancing?) can relieve stress and improve your health at the same time.
Laugh. Humor is the closest thing to magic in the world; it relieves stress better than anything else. Start your daily newspaper with the comics instead of the front page. And don't forget to laugh at yourself, since this is the most healing laughter of all; your daily life with diabetes offers many opportunities to laugh, if you see them from the right perspective.
There is no way to eliminate all the stress in your life. But with a little help from your family, friends, health care provider, and other people who have diabetes, you can lower your stress quite a bit.
Richard Rubin, PhD, CDE, was an Associate Professor in Medicine and in Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and a past president of the ADA. Dr. Rubin wrote over 100 articles, books, and book chapters for people with diabetes and for diabetes health care providers. He shared his knowledge about emotional and behavioral issues related to diabetes with the dLife audience and we are happy to preserve his great, timeless advice for the continued edification of our readers.
NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.
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