Diabetes has been recognized as an epidemic that affects millions of people around the world. The day in and out of managing a chronic illness can be taxing on your emotional and physical health. Counting carbs, managing injections, watching your family and friends eat foods that you might not be able to eat anymore can wreak havoc on your stress level. You may think controlling your stress is impossible. In today’s post, I want to share with you how using mindfulness can help you manage the symptoms of your stress and lower your stress level to enjoy your life.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you could be experiencing diabetes distress. “Diabetes distress is an emotional response to the burdens of living with diabetes and the self-care necessary to manage diabetes. Most of us know someone who has diabetes. Worldwide, 425 million people, or 1 in 11 adults, have diabetes. Diabetes is a complex condition that requires people to follow specific self-care activities, including regular exercise, eating healthy meals, frequent blood glucose level monitoring, taking diabetes medication, and attending medical appointments.”
When your stress level starts to rise, you may be feeling some of the following symptoms: queasiness, heartburn, headaches, or lower back pain. You might also see a difference in the texture of your skin and experience conditions like eczema, acne, or hives. If your stress gets so bad, you may even experience hair loss.
So, what can you do to mitigate these issues and maintain your sanity? First, you need to remind yourself that what you feel is a normal part of dealing with a chronic illness. And now, you add mindfulness to your diabetic toolbox. Mindfulness is the art of being fully present in your life, not worrying about the future or regretting your past. “The goal of mindfulness is to wake up to the inner workings of our mental, emotional, and physical processes.” Becoming mindful is not complicated, but it does take daily practice. The following will give you an easy and safe place to start.
- Do not get caught on the roller coaster ride of future worrying-keep your thoughts in the present.
- Use a journal or reflection to observe your thoughts.
- Show yourself some self-compassion-your thoughts are neither right nor wrong; they just are.
- Focus on how you react, monitor your anger and sadness levels, and use your coping strategies to help you move through the emotion so you do not get stuck.
Dealing with the fear of contracting type 2 Diabetes or worrying about managing this chronic disease can take a toll on your emotional and physical wellbeing. But, you are not helpless; you have the power to manage your stress and take control of your life. Mindfulness is just one tool that will help you to enjoy your present while you plan your future.
Wishing you peace and love,