Ginger Vieira has lived with type 1 diabetes and celiac disease since 1999. She is the author of Your Diabetes Science Experiment and Emotional Eating with Diabetes, and currently works as a freelance writer.
There are no days off when you have diabetes. 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week, you are watching every morsel of food you eat, checking your blood glucose levels, taking your insulin and medications, and worrying about your health. Perhaps the most frustrating part is that keeping your blood glucose levels in range never gets easier.
That’s why it’s only natural to feel a little burnt out from time to time. Diabetes Burnout can last for hours, days, weeks, or months. It can mean you are so overwhelmed and exhausted by managing your diabetes that you stop checking your blood glucose and start skipping your medicine.
- Write down exactly how you feel. With a pencil and paper, write down why you’re burnt out. Write down what it feels like, how long you’ve felt that way, and what parts of living with diabetes you’re the most tired of.
- Tell a friend. Is there someone in your life who is a really great listener? Find a friend or family member who is able to just listen, rather than telling you to keep your chin up or lecture you on taking care of yourself. Just get the words out of your head and into a kind ear!
- Embrace your burnout. This is the step where you actually let yourself feel whatever it is you feel. Cry. Roar. Even give yourself permission to backoff on your diabetes management a little (but not enough to cause a life-threatening situation) and feel your burnout instead of trying to resist it or hide it.
- Make a plan. Pick a length of time, maybe a week or a full month, and allow yourself that full length of time to feel burnt out. When the time is up, commit to focusing more of your energy on your diabetes again.
- Be specific. If you’ve been struggling with checking your blood glucose levels often enough, then your new commitment to your diabetes could focus on checking your blood glucose before every meal. If you’ve been skipping your medicine, your new commitment could focus on setting a reminder in your phone to take your medication every day.
In the end, remember that it’s okay to feel burnt-out when you have diabetes, because it’s a lot of work and there are no vacations! Give yourself room to feel that burnout and the time you need to work through it.