How to Stay Positive Living with Diabetes

March 08,2022 |
Happy family sitting on a couch.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when your body either cannot make insulin on its own or is unable to regulate it. After diagnosis, individuals go through an array of emotions, oftentimes expressing anger, confusion, sadness, and even fear. Given the requirements of long-term care with diabetes, this is completely understandable. Living with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes will require a lot of changes to your daily life in order for you to stay healthy and flourish. This can be overwhelming and lead to an overall negative mindset. However, a diabetes diagnosis doesn’t mean that your life is over. To help you overcome new obstacles and get the most out of everyday experiences, here’s how to stay positive when living with diabetes.


Celebrate Small Victories

Living with diabetes presents a lot of daily obstacles. If you were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a child, this journey of ups and downs can feel overwhelming as you enter adulthood. Being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as an adult or type 2 diabetes can also present a lot of challenges, as you’ll need to change your daily habits to take better care of your health. To make this process easier, try to celebrate the small victories. Break up your goals into small, attainable pieces and celebrate each time you achieve a new steppingstone. For those who have been newly diagnosed with diabetes, work with a health care professional to create a long-term management plan and set goals to improve your health and wellness.


Make Self-Management Easier

One of the best ways to stay positive when living with diabetes is to do things that are good for your body. When you eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and take your medications as prescribed, you’ll reduce the risk of long-term complications and lower your stress about future problems. These activities also stabilize your blood sugar, which can help you feel more energized, healthier, and even have a positive impact on your mood. In turn, you’ll experience more restful sleep and wake up each day with a more positive mindset.

By checking your blood glucose levels regularly throughout the day, you’ll get a better understanding of how your body reacts to certain foods, activities, and exercises. This can help you create a smarter diabetes plan that requires less effort on your part. To help simplify the process of checking your blood sugar levels, talk to your doctor about continuous glucose monitoring. CGM systems allow you to replace the fingerstick method with an automatic system that continually measures your glucose levels for up to 10 days at a time. This information is then transmitted to your smartphone for easy monitoring and tracking.


Focus on What You Can Control

Many people with diabetes spend a lot of time thinking about things they can’t control. Unfortunately, this creates a negative feedback cycle and is detrimental to your mental health. Instead, focus on the things you can control. Remind yourself that your life is built on small choices you make each day. While long-term complications can be scary to think about, don’t focus on statistics. Instead, focus on taking small steps today to reduce your risk for these types of things in the future.


Keep Your Meal Plan Fun

While you’ll need to follow a diabetes-friendly meal plan to help keep your blood sugar levels stabilized, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the foods you love. Consider what you eat every day and how it affects your body. When you find yourself getting bored with your meals, explore new recipes. There are thousands of blogs dedicated to diabetes meal planning and delicious recipes, so you’ll always have options. Break up your meals with healthy snacks throughout the day to keep your blood glucose stabilized and when you’re eating out, always opt for grilled or baked options instead of things that are fried or covered in unhealthy fats.


Reframe Negative Thoughts

When you’re living with diabetes, it’s normal to go through periods of time where you feel like everything is going wrong. It takes a lot of work to properly care for your diabetes and this can lead to burn out and negative thinking. Some days are better than others, but if you ever catch yourself thinking negatively, try to reframe those thoughts and see the good in every situation. This isn’t something that you can do easily. It takes time, effort, and a lot of practice to change your way of thinking. However, start slow and you’ll notice progress.

For example, if you find yourself thinking that you don’t have time for exercise, break it into 10-minute intervals. Get up and walk around, do core workouts, or perform jumping jacks between work tasks. When you find yourself thinking, “what’s the point?” stop and remember that everything you do can either take you in a positive direction or a negative one. Instead, tell yourself that “small changes lead to big results."

Other ways to help shift negative thinking include keeping a thought journal and revisiting it weekly to try and identify patterns, saying positive affirmations each morning, writing positive messages and leaving them around the house, and connecting with people you can share your struggles and joys with.


Seek Help When Needed

Diabetes distress is a very serious condition that occurs when an individual stops caring for themselves because they’re overwhelmed by the daily requirements to stay healthy. Individuals who experience diabetes distress may stop taking their blood sugar readings throughout the day, eat foods that are known to cause spikes or drops in blood sugar, and isolate themselves away from loved ones. However, when this continues, it drastically increases your risk for complications and, in some instances, can be fatal. If you begin feeling depressed, overwhelmed, and unmotivated to care for yourself, seek out medical attention as soon as possible. There are healthcare professionals trained in diabetes distress who can help you get back on track and overcome these negative thoughts.

While you should be working with a doctor as soon as you’re diagnosed with diabetes, find someone who you trust and are able to openly communicate with. You don’t have to stick with the same doctor forever, but when you work with someone you can build a relationship with, you’ll be more likely to let them know when things aren’t going so well. Take your time and explore your options. You can always change doctors as needed.


Do Things That Bring You Joy

Living with diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t do the things you love. While you will always need to be aware of your blood sugar levels, you can still enjoy hobbies and activities that bring you joy. Whether it’s going on a walk with your dog, playing a musical instrument, creating something with your hands, or even just sitting by the fire and reading a book, having a regular hobby can help you live a more balanced life.


Connect With Others

Diabetes can make you feel extremely isolated, especially if you’re the only one in your family with the condition. However, it’s important to remind yourself that you are far from alone in this fight. There are over 400 million people living with diabetes around the world, all of whom are going through the same struggles as you. While everyone’s circumstances are unique, knowing that there are people you can connect with and share your struggles can help you stay positive and find the silver lining in every situation.

If you’re not already active in a diabetes support group, take the time to find one today. There are countless options for virtual groups, or you can find a local meeting and attend it regularly. For extra support, consider joining both. Online support groups are great because you can log in whenever you’re feeling a little down, but in person groups allow you to meet people and develop friendships outside of scheduled meetings. Building a strong support group can be easy when you put in a little effort.


About Byram Healthcare and Apria

Since 1968, Byram Healthcare has been helping to improve health outcomes and affordability of care for people managing their chronic conditions at homeFor those living with type 2 diabetes, we have a range of continuous blood glucose monitors. We also offer diabetes support and educational materials to give you everything you need for comprehensive care. If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, Apria offers a comprehensive range of products and services for respiratory therapy and obstructive sleep apnea treatment. Apria is part of the Byram Healthcare family.