Coping. It’s a word that’s used a lot, especially when talking about type 1 diabetes. But, what does it mean? Basically, it’s about finding ways to deal with stress and negative emotions.
When you have type 1 diabetes, it’s important to not just cope, but to cope in ways that are healthy. For example, some people seem to walk around angry and stressed all the time. That’s not a great option for anyone, but it’s especially bad for people with diabetes. Stress can actually produce hormones that raise blood sugar, which is exactly the opposite of what someone with diabetes needs! So it’s important for people with diabetes to find constructive ways to relax and relieve stress. While it isn’t healthy for anyone to “stress eat,” when you are managing type 1 diabetes, it can be very harmful for blood sugar control. Those are just 2 examples of the wrong ways to cope. But, what are the right ways?
There are many ways to build healthy coping skills, but it seems like the 3 most important factors are:
- Having enough information to make good decisions
- Finding ways to feel in control of the situation
- Having the support of others
In the articles that follow, we will discuss a few of the emotions one may deal with in their day-to-day life with type 1 diabetes and suggest a few ways of handling them. And, if you are a caregiver for someone with type 1 diabetes, life can be stressful enough that it couldn’t hurt to read some of these for your own information, too.