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Self-Care Is Good Medicine

By Angie Frederic, RD, CDE & Heidi Womack, RN

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Taking time for you can help diabetes care feel less stressful.

Taking care of ourselves can have many positive mental and physical benefits including: lower blood sugars, lower risk of heart disease, better sleep, more fulfilling relationships and can lessen feelings of diabetes-related depression and anxiety.

 When we think of self-care, we often think of a soothing bubble bath or a pampering pedicure, but there are many ways to take good care of yourself. Here are a few ideas to help you with a sustainable self-care plan.

Set Healthy Boundaries

Many people are taught to always put others first, especially our friends and families. This can make taking time for ourselves feel selfish, but self-care is not selfish. It’s maintenance, like changing the oil in your car and filling it up with gas.

Sometimes this means saying “no” to good things, so that you can gain something better.

Identify Things You Enjoy & Make Time in Your Schedule for Them

What are the things in your life that bring you joy? Is it spending time on a hobby, seeing a good friend or reading a book? All these things can be self-care.

Set aside a few minutes every day to spend time on something that brings you joy. Write it on your calendar or set an alarm on your phone. Guard that time like your health depends on it.

Practice Self-compassion

You wouldn’t yell at a baby for falling when they are just learning how to walk. Instead we offer encouragement over and over and celebrate every step they take.

Learning how to live with diabetes is a long journey. It is okay to give yourself grace if you fall short of your goals. Just don’t forget to get back up and try again. Celebrate every victory, no matter how small.

The more we can learn to care for ourselves, the more our lives can become enjoyable and the more energy we can have to give to our loved ones.

Adapted from “Put Yourself First” by Sunny Sea Gold, Diabetic Living.

Read more about diabetes and depression.

Learn about managing stress at work.