What is Diabetes Burnout?
All of the effort required of people with diabetes can sometimes lead to “diabetes burnout”—a state in which diabetics grow tired of managing their disease and then simply ignore it for a period of time, or worse, forever. “Diabetes burnout” is not the same thing as depression, instead it is something that takes place when a person is either unwilling to change, or simply tired of the endless attention diabetes care requires.
Burnout can be characterised by a person’s complete disregard for their blood sugar levels.
They may also miss doctor appointments, forget or avoid taking insulin injections or other diabetic medication, or switch back to unhealthy eating habits.
Often it will be a state of mind that is reached after years of dealing with the condition.
While ignoring your diabetes can seriously harm your health and increase your risk of complications, it is understandable that a person with diabetes would experience these feelings. Fortunately, there are strategies for alleviating the stress of managing your diabetes, and avoiding diabetes burnout.
Signs of Diabetes Burnout
It takes a great deal of time and energy, but taking care of yourself is the only way to prevent diabetes from taking a toll on your health.
Poorly managed blood sugar, especially for long periods of time, increases the risk for serious diabetes-related complications. To keep your diabetes management plan on track, watch for these warning signs of diabetes burnout:
Emotional exhaustion. Managing a chronic illness like diabetes takes an emotional toll and can leave you feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and down.
Social withdrawal. Sudden distance from friends, family, and other support systems such as co-workers could signal diabetes burnout.
Decline in activity or performance level. Reaching a point of just getting by or doing no more than the minimum that is physically or mentally required of you may suggest diabetes burnout.
Negligence about medical care. This is one of the most dangerous signs of diabetes burnout. Cancelling doctor’s appointments, not taking medications as prescribed, eating poorly, and not exercising are warning signs that you’re not taking care of yourself as you should.
Ways To Avoid Diabetes Burnout
1.Check in with your Diabetes team
Make (and keep) regular appointments with your doctor or diabetes educator, even if you are embarrassed. An appointment gives you a chance to troubleshoot problem areas.
For example, some diabetics give up on their eating plans because they feel confused about what they can and can’t eat. Your dietitician will help you outline a simple eating plan and suggests ways to vary your meals to prevent boredom. These check-ins can help you in a major way.
Your diabetes care team should help you stay motivated and updated on the latest advances in diabetes treatment. Always bring a list of questions to ask your healthcare professional during a visit.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a referral to a specialist if you want more information than your provider has available.
2.Don’t strive for perfection
While it’s important to aim for blood sugar levels in your target range, accept that fluctuations happen, even when you try your best.
There’s no such thing as perfect control. You can put someone in a room and give them the exact same meal every day, and you’ll still see some variation due to things like stress or hormone levels.
You’re less likely to feel frustrated if you accept that some of this is simply out of your control.
If you forgive yourself for the occasional glucose fluctuation, you’ll be relieved of the stress associated with trying to achieve perfection, and you’ll likely reap more rewards for this kind of approach in the long-term.
3.Identify barriers to good diabetes care
Are there certain obstacles in your life that are preventing you from taking the best possible care of yourself?
If so, make a list of those things and actively engage in solving these problems one by one.
Eating out in restaurants, laid back attitude towards exercise, and leading high-risk lifestyles are some of the barriers that stop diabetics from controlling their condition.
For example, if you have a tough time making it to the gym to exercise, consider buying a treadmill for your home. What you would have spent on membership to a gym in a year is probably equivalent to the cost of purchasing equipment for your home.
This approach applies to other aspects of life, too. If keeping the same testing and medication schedule is helpful in maintaining good glucose readings, avoid situations where you’ll be forced to disrupt that schedule.
Behavioral and psychiatric disorders, and cultural and language barriers, among both diabetics and family members, also act as barriers to effective diabetes treatment.
Finance is another significant barrier in keeping a check on blood sugar levels. Even if healthcare is free or funded by insurance, diabetics still have to spend more money on healthy food and transport to and from healthcare appointments.
With a lack of proper knowledge, diabetics fail to understand the relevance of diet and care plans. Moreover, being unable to maintain good glucose control can cause helplessness and frustration, as can the progression of the disease.
Diabetics who receive support from family, friends and diabetes clinics appear to handle self-care better than those who do not.
Better healthcare systems and reforms that improve affordability, accessibility and efficiency of care are essential to help diabetics meet good standards of diabetes care.
For more great Health and Nutrition Tips refer to the website positivehealthwellness.com.
4.Get some support
Having diabetes and managing it well shouldn’t be tasks that you keep secret. Family, friends, and coworkers can help you stay motivated by offering support. Let others know that you plan to do your best to manage your diabetes, and need their help.
Then be specific about what you consider to be helpful, such as counting carbohydrates together at a meal, and what you don’t consider helpful, such as being asked constantly if a particular food is the “right” food to be eating.
Take time to appreciate what you’re doing right, even the small things, like that walk you took after dinner last night or the apple you had with lunch.
Then, set some gentle goals that build on those successes: take one more walk this week, keep a food diary for 7 days, or eat a fruit or vegetable with every meal, for example.
5.Slow down other parts of your life
Depending on your situation, this may take different forms – but the general idea is to give yourself more breathing space in your non-diabetes life and, in so doing, a better ability to cope.
Ways to do this – for example, the next time you’re waiting for someone or something, try just paying attention to your surroundings rather than checking your email. Stare blankly out of windows once in a while. Not every moment needs to be filled – in fact, having some empty space can lead to calm. And if you feel more calm in other areas of your life, chances are diabetes won’t seem quite so overwhelming.
6.Connect with other people who have diabetes
It’s an isolating disease, and isolation is depressing. But chances are that if you’re reading this, you have internet access – which also means you have access to thousands of other people struggling with similar things. Check out some of the wonderful blogs and websites written by other people with diabetes.
DIABETES SELF MANAGEMENT
TEXTING MY PANCREAS
7.Acknowledge your feelings
Coping with the daily challenges that come with diabetes can make a person feel defeated, depressed, angry, or sad. If you begin to have these feelings, especially if they’re lingering or deepening, seek help.
Often your healthcare provider or diabetes educator can provide support resources to help you better manage the practical aspects of living with diabetes,.
8.Simplify your routine
Identify which parts of your diabetes plan are most difficult and cause the most stress. Talk with your treatment team to brainstorm ways to simplify your diabetes care.
Typically stress and burnout result from unrealistic expectations, lack of information, or even misunderstanding information. Balancing the critical relationship between diabetes and what, when, and how you eat is also one of the most stressful aspects of diabetes management.
Working with a registered dietitian, especially one who is also a certified diabetes educator, can help you understand how food affects diabetes and how to make dietary changes that are realistic and will improve your quality of life.
Improved time management and organizational skills can help reduce diabetes burnout and help you gain control of all areas of your life, including diabetes.
Think about what you must do in the morning and try to accomplish some of those tasks the night before. Prepare your lunch and snacks before you go to sleep.
Set out your clothing and your children’s clothing the night before so you don’t have to decide what to wear in the morning. This will allow you to have ample time in the morning to check your blood glucose, eat breakfast, exercise, etc.
10.Learn to say “no.”
No one can do it all, and when you’re feeling overwhelmed by efforts to keep diabetes under control, something else has to go. Saying “no” doesn’t have to be permanent.
It can just be until you feel well enough to take on another task. But it can be permanent if the stress that comes with a task or obligation is simply too much.
11.Identify what you can and cannot change
You may not be able to change someone else’s behavior, but you can change how you react to it.
The same can be said about your diabetes. When you feel more in control of your disease, you’re less likely to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and burned out from it.
12. Are Your Medications Helping?
If you have been on the same medications at the same doses for years, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor about them.
Bring a list with their dosages. Tell the doctor how long you have been taking them.
Diabetic care can change in a very short time. There may be a new, better pill or change in dosing that will help you.
Ask questions. There may be an easier way to take your insulin or a less painful way to check your blood sugar.
You might not need some of your medications any longer if you have lost weight, made changes in your diet and become more physically fit.
Seeing results will bring you right out of burnout.
13. Are You Happy With Your Doctor?
People tend to stay with a doctor even when they are not happy. You may have to step out of your comfort zone, but it will be worth it if that brings you out of diabetes burnout.
Do you dread doctor visits because he makes you feel discouraged? Worse, do you feel invisible?
Doctors suffer from burnout too, so go somewhere else if you can.
Doctors and other caregivers should be encouraging, giving hope. They should listen and discuss your concerns.
Good endocrinologists stay on top of diabetic news and are ready to talk to you about better ways to handle diabetes.
If you are not happy with your doctor, find another one. If you cannot do that, at least talk to him about it. That might just change everything.
Sometimes doctors are preoccupied and need to be shaken out of it. They are people too.
14.Are You Suffering with depression?
Diabetes burnout goes hand in hand with depression. So talk to someone, because depression will not get better on its own.
Perhaps all you need is better sleep or more exercise or someone to talk to. Getting help starts with a conversation.
If you are a caregiver or friend and you see a diabetic slipping into burnout, do not hesitate to confront him or her.
Believe me, you can make a difference. Your honest concern will get through even if you do not see results at first.
The tunnel vision from living with a chronic condition like diabetes can make us forget that there are others who suffer along with us.
The people who care about you do not want to stand by and watch you give up. So do not let burnout do that to you.
Ask the questions and do the things it takes to shake off diabetes burnout. You are much more than a diabetic. There are still things in this world that only you can do!!!
For more great Health and Nutrition Tips refer to the website positivehealthwellness.com.
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