Self-managing your diabetes can be quite a challenge. Many people with diabetes find it difficult to combine their ‘diabetes goals’ with all the other things they do in daily life. ‘Just’ taking care of your diabetes is difficult enough as it is, but taking care of your diabetes while being at work, performing sports, taking care of your children, being with your friends etc. is a challenge!
In diabetes care, focus has shifted from ‘getting the right numbers’ to implementing diabetes in your daily life in the most positive way. The numbers (glucose and HbA1c) are still important, but health care professionals now realize that implementing diabetes in your life in a positive way probably is the best way to optimize glucose levels and HbA1c. Or put differently: if you are struggling with how diabetes fits into your life, then you are probably also struggling with the glucose levels.
Luckily, most people eventually find a way to fulfil both their diabetes goals and their personal goals in daily life.
If you feel that there is a (hindering) conflict between your diabetes goals and your personal goals, it is good to further explore the conflict.
The following questions might help you in examining the conflict:
Which personal goals are difficult to achieve because of diabetes?
- work related goals
- goals related to family, friends or other significant others
- goals related to sports/exercise/hobbies
- goals related to other social activities (e.g. going out, eating out etc.)
Which part of having diabetes is hindering you in pursuing your personal goals?
- the actual self-management actions (e.g. monitoring blood glucose, taking pills, injecting insulin)
- low or high or fluctuating blood sugar (e.g. hypo’s, hypers)
- opinions or ideas of other people about having diabetes (e.g. not wanting to be seen as ‘’different’’/not wanting to be a ‘’burden’’ to others)
The next thing to examine is: HOW CAN CHANGING/IMPROVING YOUR DIABETES SELF-MANAGEMENT contribute to achievement of your personal goals?
Or put differently: if your diabetes self-management would run smoothly and easily, which personal goals would be easier to achieve?
E.g. ‘’If I would have less hypo’s/fluctuating blood sugar, I would probably be able to start running again.’’ or
‘’If I would be able to inject insulin in the presence of other people, I would probably go out more often…’’
If you are able to make such a connection between your personal goals and diabetes self-management goals, you have already won half the race. This is the most important thing to know. The second step is to discuss exactly this goal with your diabetes health care provider (nurse, GP, internist). This is what is most important now for you in the treatment of your diabetes. Diabetes health care professionals have many ideas and tips of how to help you with these things. And they will understand: if this is what is important for you, and it is changed positively, then it will also change your diabetes positively!