Getting to the heart of the matter: emotional wellbeing

Looking after your diabetes can sometimes feel like a full-time job. Over time this can take its toll on your emotional health. It’s normal to feel stressed sometimes but prolonged or intense stress is not healthy. In a recent Australian survey, 28% of people with type 1 diabetes and up to 22% of people with type 2 diabetes reported experiences severe diabetes-related distress.

If you are feeling stressed over your family, work or health, it’s important to take care of yourself and help get yourself back on track.

Talk to someone. The saying is true – ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’. Connect with someone and talk about how you’re feeling – it could be a friend, family member or a health professional. Alternatively, find your local Diabetes NSW Support Group or visit www.diabetescounsellingonline.com.au

Do something you enjoy. When we get busy and stressed, it’s easy to stop making time for the things we enjoy. Take some time out and do something you enjoy. It could be as simple as putting your feet up with a cup of tea and a good book. Alternatively you could catch up with a friend, plan a date with your significant other, get a massage, spend some time gardening or go see a movie – anything that makes you feel good.

Focus on the present. We often feel stressed over something that happened in the past (e.g. eating a ‘bad’ food or forgetting a medication) or worry about the future (e.g. developing complications or potential impact of diabetes on work, money or relationships). Try to focus on the present – praise yourself for the things you have done well and focus on the things you can change here and now.

Take care of yourself. Make sure you are getting a good night’s sleep, drinking plenty of water and eating well – it will go a long way to making you feel better. Exercise also helps relax your muscles and releases feel-good hormones, which can help boost your mood.

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