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Diabetes: Staying Motivated


Having diabetes can be hard to accept. It's normal to feel sad or angry. You may even feel grief.

It's normal to feel frustrated or overwhelmed with all there is to do. Some days you may feel like it's just too much work. There will be times when you just don't feel like testing and tracking your blood glucose (sugar).

There are ways to handle these tough feelings, though. Getting support and talking about your feelings can help. Your doctor or others in your health care team can help you cope.

When you feel sad, give yourself time to adjust to your losses. If you feel overwhelmed, just try to focus on one day at a time. Do the best you can. You don't have to be perfect.

Remember that diabetes is a part of your life, but it does not have to take over your life. Also, remember that you are not alone. Diabetes is very common.

Get the support you need

Surround yourself with people who encourage and motivate you. Your support may include:

  • Your doctor and other health professionals.
  • Friends and family.
  • An exercise buddy or program.

If you're having trouble coping with your feelings, try talking with a counsellor. A professional may make it easier to say things you wouldn't talk about with friends or family.

Your checkups are a good time to talk with your doctor about how you're feeling. If you're discouraged or having trouble coping, your doctor can help.

You might also want to:

  • Ask a friend or family member to come to counselling with you.
  • Talk to your spiritual adviser if you belong to a church or spiritual group. They have experience helping people manage feelings.
  • Join a support group. You can find one through your doctor, your local hospital, or Diabetes Canada.

Provide positive reinforcement and set goals

Praise and reward yourself for the things you do right. Use non-food rewards, such as clothing, sports equipment, books, a golf trip, or a movie night. Engage in positive self-talk instead of being negative or critical of yourself.

Set short-term goals for healthy eating habits and exercise.

List the benefits

Continually remind yourself that everything you are doing to manage your diabetes is making a big difference in the quality of your life now and well into the future. It may even be helpful to make a list of the health benefits of caring for your diabetes.

Some items you could include might be:

  • I feel good because my blood glucose is more stable. I no longer have uncomfortable highs or lows.
  • I am reducing the likelihood that diabetes will interfere with my plans for the future. This lowers my risk for problems with my heart, eyes, feet, and legs.
  • I have more energy.
  • I can think more clearly.
  • I feel better about myself, because I am eating healthy foods and/or I have started exercising.

Related Information


Adaptation Date: 11/30/2022

Adapted By: Alberta Health Services

Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services

Adapted with permission from copyrighted materials from Healthwise, Incorporated (Healthwise). This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty and is not responsible or liable for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.