Patients with diabetes need to follow their treatment plan to keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range. It can be hard to change habits and get into a healthy routine. A supportive caregiver can be a critical part of staying healthy. Sometimes taking care of someone with diabetes can be very stressful. You can reduce your stress and avoid burnout by doing the following:

  • Take care of your health. See your doctor regularly, eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. Remember that to be able to care of your loved one, you must first take care of yourself.
  • Don’t go it alone. Friends, family members or religious groups may be able to help you, so don’t be shy about asking.
  • Seek support. Consider becoming involved in support groups – either online or in your community – for caregivers and family members of people with diabetes. These support groups allow you to share your experiences and frustrations with people who are dealing with similar issues.
  • Find time for yourself. Spending time with friends or doing activities that you enjoy is an important part of staying healthy and avoiding burnout.
  • Seek professional help. Respite care provides a short period of time off for caregivers so that they can take care of their own needs. Home health agencies can provide nurses and health aides to help take care of your loved one at home. Adult day care centers can provide care outside of the home.

Managing diabetes can be hard on people with the disease and their caregivers. Everyone feels a little down from time to time, but feelings of sadness that don’t go away or start to interfere with your daily activities may be signs of depression.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Changes in appetite, often with weight gain or loss
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Thoughts of suicide or death

If you experience one or more of these symptoms for two weeks or longer, contact your doctor. The good news about depression is that it can be treated with medications, counseling or a combination of both.

  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Avoiding alcohol or, if you choose to drink, using alcohol in moderation
  • Seeking support from friends, family or counselors in times of stress
  • Finding ways to relax and do activities you enjoy