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Coping with diabetes distress

Living with and managing all the pieces of diabetes can be challenging.

Having diabetes means that you have to make conscious decisions about your health several times a day. You may also worry about having low/high blood sugar levels, the costs of your medicines and supplies, and developing diabetes-related complications.

What is diabetes distress

When you find it hard to keep up with the daily demands of managing diabetes, you may have something called diabetes distress. According to Dr. Bill Polonsky, a psychologist who has spent years studying the mental and emotional side of diabetes, the best advice for someone living with diabetes is “don't do diabetes alone.”

Downloadable exercise: The diabetes distress scale worksheet can help you assess how you are feeling.
Here are some tips to help you cope with diabetes and manage diabetes distress:

  • Pay attention to your feelings. Feeling worried, frustrated, angry, and tired for more than a week or two may signal that you need help coping with your diabetes so that you can feel better.

  • Talk with your health-care providers. Let them know how you’ve been feeling. They can help you problem-solve your concerns about diabetes or suggest other health-care providers help you.

  • Talk with your family and friends and let them help you take care of your diabetes. Be honest about the feelings and problems you’re having in dealing with diabetes. You can also ask for support with managing your diabetes by simply asking others to join you for a walk or to prepare healthy meals with you.

  • Talk to other people with diabetes. Ask your health-care providers about diabetes support groups in your community or online.  These support groups can provide emotional support and provide great resources.

  • Step outside. Move your body or find a place to sit quietly. Whether you are on your balcony, backyard, or in nature, fresh air and green spaces help us to refresh and enjoy the world beyond our four walls.

Online Resources:

Looking to learn more about diabetes? OTIP has compiled a list of resources to help you connect with the resources you need. We are here to support you.

Questions? We’re here to help
If you need more information, that is not already covered in your benefits booklet, contact OTIP Benefits Services at 1‑866‑783‑6847. You can also visit our Help Centre.


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