Feeling stressed out by your diabetes? You’re not alone. 16 March 2015 Sometimes living with diabetes can be a bit like one of those cartoons where someone is trying to balance something and another character keeps throwing more on top until you’ve got an elephant, a piano, a goldfish bowl and a bunch of flowers all perched on top of a broomstick. It feels like it will all eventually come crashing down. Having to deal with all of the different elements of diabetes, including the day-to-day requirements and the longer term impacts, is often difficult. It can trigger, what experts call, diabetes-related distress. Diabetes-related distress refers to the negative emotions and feelings that can come from living with and managing diabetes. It isn’t depression in the clinical sense, instead it refers to the daily challenges of living with diabetes. Some of the major causes for diabetes-related distress include: Worrying about the future and the possibility of the serious health consequences of diabetes Experiencing feelings of guilt and anxiety when your diabetes care goes off track Not knowing if changes in mood or feelings are the result of diabetes Constantly concerned about food and eating Worrying about low blood glucose reactions. Importantly, these things can impact on your health, specifically your glucose levels. Diabetes related distress releases stress hormones which can lead to elevated glucose levels. The constant anxiety and worry can also impact on how a person copes with the daily tasks required to manage BGLs. What can you do? If diabetes-related distress is impacting on your life there are lots of simple things you can do to help manage it. These include: Tapping into the support of family and friends. Talking to people about how you are feeling is important Talking to other people who have diabetes. Sometimes it just helps to talk to somebody going through a similar situation. You can do this by accessing Diabetes Queensland’sConnect2or a local support group. Young people can join Young Adults with Type 1 Diabetes and people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds can join the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Peer Support program. Call us on 1800 637 700 to discuss participation in any of these programs Consider taking a course in meditation. Daily meditation, including learning how to breathe deeply and let go of negative thoughts, can be extremely rewarding in the long-term Get active. Physical activity has been proven time and again to help relieve stress. The hormones your body releases (endorphins) when exercising can help counter stress hormones and even build up resistance to ongoing daily stress Find a hobby. Giving yourself something fun to focus on can be a great way to distract yourself from the daily grind of living with diabetes The numbers don’t define you. Keeping your BGLs in range is important but it isn’t who you are. If you are experiencing diabetes-related distress and not sure what to do why not call our Helpline on 1800 637 700 and talk to one of our trained health professionals.