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How To Cope With Anxiety

In my last post I mentioned some mental health conditions that may exist along with type 2 diabetes. Of all these conditions, anxiety is among the most common. Fear and worry over the management of the disease can give way to anxiety. Also, individuals with diabetes who experience anxiety are likely to have poor medical outcomes. For this reason, it is important that you learn how to cope with anxiety in order to avoid these complications.

Identify your triggers

Before you learn how to cope with anxiety, you should first be able to identify your triggers. Does a visit to your doctor make you anxious? Does talking about your illness trigger your anxiety? Or, monitoring your glucose levels? Or being in certain social situations? Once you identify your triggers you should keep a record of when they occur in your journal and refer to them when you feel anxious.

Anxiety and your breathing

When you feel anxious, your breathing becomes shallow and you may have difficulty breathing. Once the threat is passed, your breathing slows and you feel relaxed. You can train yourself to control your breathing when you feel yourself becoming anxious.

Deep breathing

Most of the breathing we do consists of short, shallow breaths from our chest. The most effective type of breathing is deep breathing or breathing from our diaphragm or belly. This is not the way you will breathe all the time, but you should take a few minutes out of your day, every day, to practice some deep breathing.

What deep breathing does

Stress, worry and anxiety become trapped in our bodies and build up over time, making us more tense and anxious. Deep breathing brings more oxygen into the body to feed our cells and our brain and get rid of these trapped emotions. Deep breathing relaxes your mind, lowers blood pressure, and even aids digestion. The more oxygen we take in the more cleansing we experience. Think of it as an emotional detox.

How to do it

Below you will find written instructions and a video on how to do deep breathing . Whichever one you choose, practice it regularly and you will begin to reap the benefits.

Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is a simple technique that’s excellent for managing emotions. Not only is deep
breathing effective, it’s also discreet and easy to use at any time or place. Sit comfortably and place one hand on your abdomen. Breathe in through your nose, deeply enough that the hand on your abdomen rises. Hold the air in your lungs, and then exhale slowly through your mouth, with your lips puckered as if you are blowing through a straw. The secret is to go slow: Time the inhalation (4s), pause (4s), and exhalation (6s). Practice for 3 to 5 minutes. Breathing in, your stomach rises; breathing out, your stomach lowers.

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can send your life into a tailspin. It can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to. Join my type 2 diabetes network group and get the help and support you need.

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Mental Health Conditions That Exist With Diabetes

In an earlier post, I stated that many people with diabetes also suffer from depression, a very common mental health illness, and that number may be as high as 1 in 4 adults with diabetes and 27% in adults with type 2 diabetes. But depression is not the only mental health condition that may plague people with diabetes. Other conditions are:

Bipolar disease. This is a group of chronic psychiatric diseases that affect mood and energy levels. People with bipolar usually experience periods of mania (elevated mood) lasting at least 4 days and periods of depression lasting two weeks. These episodes must be sever enough to interfere with your normal everyday activities.

According to the National Library of Medicine (NIH), bipolar disease like depression is 3 times higher in people with type 2 diabetes than the general population, however, the NIH could give no clear explanation for this occurrence. Some medications such as antipsychotics, as well as lifestyle factors, are believed to play an important role.

Image by Sam Williams from Pixabay


Stress and anxiety go hand in hand. Stress may cause your palms to become sweaty, and your heart to beat faster and this can cause your blood sugar to go up. This stress can lead to anxiety, a feeling of dread, or apprehension. Dealing with a chronic illness like diabetes can bring on what is known as diabetes distress.

Anxiety is more than the normal nervousness you may feel about moving to a new city or starting a new job. Anxiety is a constant feeling of fear or unease that gets so bad it prevents you from doing things you normally enjoy. If this feeling persists for at least 6 months, you may have an anxiety disorder of which there are many types.

  • Panic disorder – experiencing sudden panic attacks
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder – irrational thoughts that lead you to perform the same task over and over
  • Phobia – fear of a specific situation, activity, or object. Some people may have a fear of open spaces.
  • Social anxiety – fear of being judged in social situations
  • Separation anxiety – fear of being away from home or loved ones

Research has found that individuals with diabetes are 20% more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety. Worry over managing their illness, weight, or diet, fear of developing other illnesses such as kidney or heart disease, and fear of needles can lead to anxiety.

Eating disorders

One of the major challenges diabetics have in managing their diabetes is what they should eat. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, eating disorders affect up to 20% of people with diabetes. However, the actual prevalence of eating disorders may be difficult to determine due to the guilt and shame that keep people from reporting these problems.

Eating disorders may range from severely restricting calories to overeating and even restricting insulin in an attempt to lose weight. The report goes on to state that people with type 2 diabetes may indulge in binge eating without purging (as in bulimia nervosa), and night eating syndrome — getting up during the night to eat. Binge eating has the potential to result in the development of type 2 diabetes.

Unfortunately, we live in a society where mental health is stigmatized, making it difficult to talk about it. However, if you have diabetes and experience mood swings, anxiety, stress, and difficulty in controlling your eating habits you should report this at your next doctor’s appointment. Some of these conditions, if not attended to promptly, can seriously impact your ability to manage your diabetes.

In my next post, I will go into more detail about mental health disorders and how you can cope with them. Meanwhile, I invite you to join my group over at Type 2 Diabetics Network where you can get more information and support to help you win this fight against diabetes.

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can send your life into a tailspin. It can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to. Join my type 2 diabetes network group and get the help and support you need.

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Egg “Donuts” With Avocado Recipe

Avocados are among the most healthy fruits you can eat. Avocados contain just 4 grams of carbohydrates per serving and one-third of a medium avocado contains 3 grams of fiber. Avocados do contain fat but the fat they contain is unsaturated unlike the saturated fat found in butter and other full-fat spreads. This combination of complex carbs, fiber, and unsaturated fat makes avocados a satisfying food that keeps you feeling full longer and gives you a slower, longer-lasting supply of energy, which diabetics need.

Do you love donuts? Maybe, but as a diabetic, you no doubt stay far from them. Not this “donut” though. The folks at Love One Today provided the recipe below for a donut that is tasty, nutritious, and can be enjoyed by adults and kids alike. Best of all, it contains no sugar. Let’s get to it.

Egg “donuts” with avocado

Prep time: 5 mins. Cook time: 10 mins Total time: 15 mins Serves 8 Serving size: 1 donut 80 calories


  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh spinach, finely chopped
  • 1/2 ripe, fresh avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into ¼ inch pieces
  • Non-stick cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, salt and pepper. Stir in cheese, tomato, spinach, and avocado.
  3. Lightly spray donut pan with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon mixture into donut pan, dividing mixture evenly to make 8 “donuts”.
  4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until eggs are cooked through. Remove from oven to cool.
  5. Serve once cooled or transfer to a self-sealing plastic bag or container with a tight lid and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Don’t have a donut pan? Choose either the metal one below that is durable and easy to clean or if you want to get the kids involved, these brightly-colored silicone molds are sure to keep them in the kitchen from start to finish. Whichever one you choose, you are sure to have perfectly made donuts every time.

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can send your life into a tailspin. It can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to. Join my type 2 diabetes network group and get the help and support you need.

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How Your Mental Health Affects Your Diabetes

In case you didn’t know, October is mental health awareness month, a time to promote awareness of mental illness and the effect it has on our daily lives. For people with type 2 diabetes, paying attention to your mental health can go a long way in helping you manage your diabetes.

Depression and diabetes

Depression is one of the most common forms of mental illness to plague people with diabetes. Depression is more than having the blues. If you experience feelings of sadness lasting more than a few weeks that interfere with your normal ability to perform your everyday duties, you may be depressed. Other symptoms of depression may include one or more of the following:

  • loss of interest in things you once enjoyed,
  • too tired to perform activities of daily living, such as brushing your teeth or taking a shower. You may lack the energy to test your blood sugar, take your meds, or even prepare a sandwich.
  • difficulty sleeping (insomnia) or you may sleep too much (hypersomnia)
  • feelings of hopelessness, guilt or anxiety
  • aches and pains
  • feelings of irritability
  • thoughts of suicide or death

The mind-body connection

As you can see, dealing with depression and diabetes can be overwhelming. If left untreated, depression does not go away, it only gets worse and this makes it more difficult to cope with your diabetes. One affects the other; diabetes affects the way you deal with depression and depression affects the way you deal with diabetes. Someone said, where the mind goes the man follows. It’s called the mind-body connection.

Diabetes distress

If you have been suffering from diabetes for a long time, you may get tired of the hassle — the constant finger sticks, the doctor’s appointments, swallowing meds … this condition is called diabetes distress, and it can feel almost like depression. It can wear you down, but don’t give up. Your health is worth fighting for.

What you can do

If you suspect you are depressed, try the following:

  • speak to your doctor, your pastor, or a trusted friend
  • spend time with friends and/or family members. Do not isolate
  • pray, read scripture, and meditate
  • listen to relaxing music
  • join a support group for people with diabetes
  • ask your doctor to refer you to a mental health counselor who specializes in chronic health conditions

Depressive symptoms along with diabetes are serious and should be attended to without delay. Above all, you should not try to hide your feelings or pretend they don’t exist; they won’t get better if left untreated. Speak to your doctor, have him refer you to a mental health counselor, if necessary, and follow his recommendations. One of the easiest steps you can take is to join a support group for people with diabetes such as Type 2 Diabetics Network, and be on your way to managing this debilitating illness.

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can send your life into a tailspin. It can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to. Join my type 2 diabetes network group and get the help and support you need.

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How To Stop Procrastinating and Reach Your Goals

The weekend is over, Monday morning has rolled around and you know you should be up by a certain time and heading for your walk or to the gym, but instead you do what you have been doing for the past five weeks since you set your goals — you procrastinate. Later, you feel badly, like a child caught with her hand in the cookie jar. This article deals with how you can stop procrastinating and reach your goals.

Procrastination is the habit of putting things off. What are some of the things you put off on a regular basis? Check all that apply.

Procrastination is another form of excuse. The reason you did not get dressed and go for your walk is —- fill in the blanks. That’s your excuse.

So naturally the next question is why did you make that excuse? Maybe you don’t like walking. Maybe you find it boring, tiring, tedious, whatever. These excuses, say the experts, may be the result of “task aversion.”

So, how can you cure this habit of procrastination? Note that it is a habit, a practice of doing something else instead of what you know you should be doing. Therefore, instead of doing something else, anything, other than walking, can you think of an activity you enjoy that will produce the same results as if you walked for 30 minutes?

Walking the dog, pushing the baby in a stroller are all forms of walking that you may find more enjoyable. Also, walking with a buddy or walking while listening to music or an audiobook will make the time seem to pass more quickly and may even make you look forward to walking every morning. If this doesn’t work for you, try breaking it down into a shorter period, say fifteen minutes.

So far, I’ve only talked about walking, but what about other things you keep procrastinating? Like adopting a new way of eating or preparing your food? How do you avoid putting these things off? Here are three suggestions:

  1. Write the activity somewhere where it’s always visible — like on your fridge, mirror, or planner. Do not make a long list of things you should be doing. Just the main one you want to work on.
  2. Think of the end goal. What do you hope to achieve when you stop procrastinating? Weight loss? Lower glucose levels? More energy? Keeping the benefits in mind will motivate you to move toward your goals.
  3. Enlist the help of others. If you are trying to change your eating habits, and the rest of your family is not, then you have a problem. Look for flavorful recipes that the whole family can enjoy. When dining out, choose menu items that cater for those who are on low-carb, nutritious diets that are pleasing to taste and satisfying.

Procrastination is a habit that can seriously derail your goals if you don’t overcome it. You can do so by writing your goals down, focusing on the benefits of achieving your goals and enlisting your goals. How do you beat procrastination? Drop us a line and let us know.

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can send your life into a tailspin. It can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to. Join my type 2 diabetes network group and get the help and support you need.

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3 Reasons To Keep Your Doctor Appointments

Some people do not like to keep their doctor appointments. They either see them as an encroachment on their time or they fear the doctor may give them a bad report. However, keeping your appointments and following your doctor’s orders can prevent you from getting a bad report. This post looks at the benefits to be derived from keeping your doctor appointments.

  1. Keeping your doctor appointments is key to diagnosing diabetes while it is still in the early stages. A simple blood test will reveal whether you are developing prediabetes, diabetes, heart disease or some other chronic condition. If your A1C level is 5. 7% to 6 . 4% you are at the prediabetes level; if it’s 6. 5% or higher, you have diabetes. A normal A1C is less than 5 . 7%. It’s much better to discover something is wrong during your annual visit than to wait until you are so sick that you have to be taken to the emergency room.
  2. Your annual wellness visit also gives you the opportunity to discuss with your doctor any changes in your symptoms. Type 2 diabetes can lead to other chronic illnesses such as kidney disease, eye disease, a weakened immune system, or an infection. This may be the time for your doctor to refer you to any specialists depending on your report and his findings. A nutritionist can help with your diet, which can go a long way in controlling your diabetes.
  3. Are you happy with your medications? Are they working as you would like them to? Are you experiencing side effects? These are some questions your doctor may ask during your annual wellness visit. You may be taking your medications as prescribed and still have glucose levels that are too high. Also, if you have concerns about sticking your finger to monitor your sugar, you may want to ask your doctor about how you can get a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).

CGMs test blood sugar levels and send out an alarm when your sugar is high. If you have trouble reaching and maintaining your target blood sugar you may benefit from a CGM. However, bear in mind that if you are managing your diabetes well without a CGM, your insurance may not cover it—they might consider it a non-necessity.

Diabetes is a serious illness that can affect your kidneys, your eyes and other organs, and even lead to amputations, therefore, you owe it to yourself to keep those doctor appointments so your doctor can ensure that you are managing your illness in the best way possible. It’s fine to take your medications, and make healthy lifestyle changes, but in the final analysis, you need to remain under the watchful eyes of your doctor and your healthcare team so they can spot problems as soon as they occur and deal with them.

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can send your life into a tailspin. It can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to. Join my type 2 diabetes network group and get the help and support you need.

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Grilled Bone-in Pork Chops Recipe

As I mentioned in my last post, one of the most puzzling questions for someone with diabetes is, “What can I eat?” In your anxiety to stick to eating the “right foods,” you may wonder if pork should be on your menu. It may please you to know that pork is a high-protein food containing large amounts of Vitamin C, D, B1, B 12, calcium, phosphorous, and zinc. Also, the calorie content of pork and chicken is about the same. A hundred-gram serving of pork contains 242 calories, while chicken has 239.

Other notable benefits of pork

Like chicken, pork has very little carbohydrates, however, pork is lower in cholesterol than chicken, and best of all, since the glycemic index of pork is 0, it will not raise your glucose levels. However, avoid bacon, pork with fat, or pork cooked by frying. The recipe below is one of the safest methods of cooking pork.

Grilled Bone-in Pork Chops Recipe

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 7-8 minutes


  1. Combine sea salt, basil, rosemary, thyme, smashed garlic, and Hawaiian black salt in a
    medium bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
  2. Scrub grill grates with a wire brush and coat lightly with oil or non-stick cooking spray.
    Pre-heat grill to medium.
  3. Rub herb mixture over all sides of pork chops until coated. Place on the pre-heated grill
    and cook for 7-8 minutes, turning once halfway through. Keep the grill lid closed while
    Note: If your chops are thinner or thicker than 1-inch thick, adjust cook time accordingly.
  4. Remove chops from grill and brush off any remaining large chunks of the herb rub.
    Cover loosely and rest for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Grilling pork is an entirely different experience than grilling red meat. While steaks can be charred on the
outside and a delicious shade of pink or red inside, pork needs to be cooked uniformly throughout. Use a medium
direct heat while grilling pork to achieve these results. Tip: Remove chops from refrigerator 30 minutes before
grilling for best results.

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can send your life into a tailspin. It can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to. Join my type 2 diabetes network group and get the help and support you need.

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The Role of Healthy Eating in Diabetic Self-Care

“The majority of patients with diabetes can significantly reduce the chances of developing long-term complications by improving self-care activities.”

This is a quote from the article The Role of Self-care in Management of Diabetes Mellitus published in the Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders .

This statement should be taken seriously by every individual suffering from diabetes as it holds the key to making their illness manageable. This article focuses on the role of healthy eating as an aspect of diabetic self-care.

Grilled summer vegetables

When someone is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, one of the first questions he/she may ask is “what can I eat?” Some well-meaning friend or relative may say, “cut out all carbs,” or, “don’t eat meat.” According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), there is no “magic diet” for diabetes. However, the ADA does recommend that you eat more non-starchy vegetables than starchy ones.

Why are carbs so important?

Most of us eat meals that are loaded with starchy carbs. Think of your breakfast foods – toast, bagel, muffins, pancakes — and your lunch —burgers and fries, rice, potatoes, pasta — and you get the picture. Carbs are important because they provide your body with energy. There are three main types of carbs — starches, sugar, and fiber.

Foods containing non-starchy carbs

These are whole, unprocessed, non-starchy vegetables. Lettuce, cucumbers, broccoli, tomatoes and green beans have a lot of fiber and very little carbohydrate, which results in a smaller impact on your blood sugar. If you are using the plate method, this will form the largest division of your plate.

Foods containing starchy carbs

These are your starchy carbohydrates and include whole grain bread, pasta, brown rice, sweet potatoes, corn, pumpkin and plantains; fruits such as apples, blueberries, strawberries, and cantaloupe; and beans and lentils such as black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, and green lentils. If you are using the Plate method, these would occupy about a quarter of your plate.

Highly processed carbs

These are the ones the ADA recommends you use sparingly. They are refined, highly processed carbs such as white bread, white rice, cakes, candy, and cookies; sugary drinks, sugary cereal, candy, and chips.

What happens to carbs in your body

When you eat carbs, your body breaks them down into sugar or glucose to be used by your cells for energy. Your pancreas then releases insulin to help your cells convert the sugar into energy, but if your body is not managing your insulin well, then the excess sugar ends up in your bloodstream. High blood sugar is called hyperglycemia; low blood sugar is called hypoglycemia.

How the Diabetes Plate Method helps you control carbs

A registered dietitian can help you plan your meals so that you get a healthy balance of carbs or starches, but if you are not working with a dietitian, you can use the Diabetes Plate Method to help you stick to a reasonable amount of starchy vegetables. The amount of carbs you need is determined by your size and activity level, which we will talk about in the next post.

Remember, there is no magic diet if you are suffering from diabetes. Many times your body will tell you if you have eaten something that was not right for you. By following the Plate Method of healthy eating you should be able to master this aspect of your self-care and be well on your way to controlling your diabetes.

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can send your life into a tailspin. It can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to. Join my type 2 diabetes network group and get the help and support you need.

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Eating Avocados Can Benefit A Type 2 Diabetes Diet

One of the biggest challenges of coping with type 2 diabetes is eating the right foods. Studies have shown that eating avocados can benefit a type 2 diabetes diet by reducing insulin levels after a meal. Read on to see how you can include avocados in your diet and achieve healthy blood sugar levels.

The glycemic response of avocados

Avocados can be used to replace carbs in a diabetes diet to achieve healthy glucose levels.

Avocado is a fruit, but unlike most fruits, it is low in carbohydrates, and therefore does not affect the glycemic response. In other words, eating avocados will not affect your blood sugar levels. In fact, according to Love One Today, replacing carbohydrates with avocados as part of a meal can reduce the glycemic and insulin response. A 2013 study showed that when 26 healthy, overweight adults added one-half of an avocado to a meal, their insulin levels were reduced 30 minutes following the meal. In 2018, another trial of 31 adults showed similar results.

Avocados as a good source of fat

Another major concern for people with type 2 diabetes is the risk of heart disease. Excess body fat and lack of exercise can lead to insulin resistance (the body’s poor use of insulin), which can lead to other health conditions such as heart disease. While avocados contain fat, it is unsaturated fat that helps reduce LDLs (bad cholesterol), which can lead to cardiovascular disease. It also contains fiber, which helps you feel full longer and can therefore aid your weight loss efforts. For people with diabetes, losing weight always helps you achieve lower blood sugar levels.

How to include avocados in your diet

According to Love One Today, researchers found that replacing half a serving daily of margarine, butter, egg, yogurt or processed meat with the same amount of avocado resulted in a 16% – 22% lower risk of cardiovascular disease. However, swapping avocado for foods that also contain unsaturated fats did not produce additional benefits.

Your 5-day meal plan

Eating avocados on a regular basis can help you lower blood sugar levels, lose weight, and reduce your risk of heart disease. If you are unfamiliar with avocados, you may not know how to get started on this delicious fruit. This 5-day meal plan contains 3 meals— breakfast, lunch, and dinner —and a.m and p.m. snacks. This healthy eating plan helps you enjoy tasty and satisfying meals, while increasing your fruit and vegetable intake along with healthy fats and whole grains.

Get your 5-day meal plan by clicking this link.

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can send your life into a tailspin. It can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to. Join my type 2 diabetes network group and get the help and support you need.

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5 Ways To Embrace Change And Benefit From It

For the past five months, since my grandson began preparing for college, I began to feel stressed. Even though Jayden doesn’t live with me, he is my daughter’s first child and I’d helped raise him from a baby. I watched him grow into a tall, handsome young man, who had set certain goals as to what he wanted out of life. And now, I watched as he surmounted all the hurdles of graduating, meeting with coaches, pushing his body to the max, weeding through all the offers that came his way, and finally, selecting the college he felt best suited his aspirations.

And so, while he took all of this in stride, this grandmother was a bundle of nerves. Why was he going so far? Couldn’t he stay right here in Florida where he could come home more often or we could visit whenever we felt like it? Jayden is something of an introvert; how would he cope with living with strangers?

I was never one to be afraid of change. I had moved to a lot of different places in my lifetime and, as a therapist, I always encouraged my patients not to fear change. But as the time drew near for Jayden and his parents to leave for Iowa, I found myself praying more and more and looking to God to give us all the courage and strength to cope with this new reality. Along with prayer, I reminded myself of the following:

  1. Change is inevitable for all of us. We grow up, leave our childhood home, go away to college, or get married and begin a new life.
  2. Change is not always bad. Many times the change we dread is the very thing we sometimes need to propel us in the right direction. A new job, new neighborhood, and new friends can help us uncover certain traits and abilities we never knew we possessed.
  3. Change can be as stressful or as smooth as we make it. My perspective on Jayden moving to Iowa can determine my stress level or lack of it. And my stress level can also influence the way Jayden feels about what he was about to do, so if only for his sake, I had to look at this change in a positive light.
  4. Successful past changes. I had many successful changes in the past. Everything seemed overwhelming in the beginning, but once I got used to the change, I even enjoyed it.
  5. Change is a challenge, not a threat. It gives us the opportunity to get out of the same boring routine and grow and develop in ways we never imagined possible.

So far, this article has focused on change in general, but for someone with a chronic illness like type 2 diabetes, what does change mean to you? How do you cope with the new normal —taking medications, going to the doctor regularly, monitoring your glucose level, and just making lifestyle changes? One way you can cope with this type of change is to join my Type 2 Diabetes Network Group. There you will find the help and support you need through networking with other individuals like yourself.

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can send your life into a tailspin. It can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to. Join my type 2 diabetes network group and get the help and support you need.