We all have those days when one minute we are full of life, and the next we want to curl up on the sofa and shut the world out for a few minutes. It’s not surprising, really. Being diagnosed with diabetes and learning to live with a long-term condition requires some changes to lifestyle as well as a change in mindset.
People living with diabetes are more likely to experience mental health problems such as depression and anxiety1,2. This is partly because when blood sugars keep going up and down it can cause rapid changes in mood and affect mental wellbeing.
It’s important to remember that if you manage your blood sugar levels by following the advice of your doctor or nurse things can be controlled, leaving you to live the life you want to lead.
Managing an invisible condition can be exhausting and isolating, but worrying can cause complications. Worrying increases your adrenaline levels which in turn can make you feel bad-tempered and stressed.
Your feelings change as your adrenaline level goes up and down. Where are you on the scale?
Remember, there are small changes you can make to help stop feeling tense and stressed:
1. Do a little exercise – a gentle walk or a little yoga can help distract you and make you feel calmer.
2. Avoid drinking too much coffee and tea – caffeine makes tension worse. Try and drink less than 4 or 5 cups a day.
3. Practise deep breathing – shallow breathing can make anxiety worse. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach and breathe deeply, so only your stomach rises and falls.
Talking about feelings and mental health is not always easy. Society is changing with high profile celebrities making it more visible. I in 4 people struggle with mental health issues and this month “Time to Talk Day” encourages everyone to be more open about mental health. Check out their page for more details. https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved/time-talk-day
Top talking tips
2. Ducat, L., Philipson, L. H., & Anderson, B. J. (2014). The mental health comorbidities of diabetes. JAMA, 312(7), 691–692. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.8040 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4439400/