Consider the following steps that can be helpful in changing unhealthy habits and managing thoughts and behaviors.
- Get the facts. Learning about diabetes and understanding your specific diagnosis will help you make informed decisions to manage your condition. Prior to a visit to your physician or other health care provider, consider making a list of questions or concerns to address.
- Accept your feelings. Studies show that people who acknowledge negative feelings about their diabetes are better at caring for themselves and keeping glucose levels stable. For example, if you get anxious by the sight of a sugary snack and how it can affect you physically, pay attention to the feeling instead of ignoring it. Avoiding negative thoughts and feelings about diabetes, like worrying about what to eat, can bring on stress.
- Maintain a balanced perspective. Don’t allow diabetes to become your main focus; the disease doesn’t have to define you. You’re the same person you were before your diagnosis, so continue to do things you enjoy as you learn to live well with your disease.
- Be realistic. Rules that are too rigid are more likely to be broken. Set small goals that are easily attainable like walking for 10 minutes a day and slowly building up to 30 minutes or more over several weeks to increase your exercise.
- Try new things. While diabetes may require significant changes to your lifestyle, it also provides an opportunity to try new recipes, foods or activities.
- Develop a strong support network. Studies show that people are more likely to follow health regimens when they have a support network. And research specific to diabetes patients found those who have support from family and friends have healthier blood sugar levels during times of high stress. So, communicate with family and friends about how they can help you.