*Disclaimer: All content and information in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only.
A main component of managing diabetes is monitoring blood sugar levels, but it can also be one of the biggest contributors of guilt and shame. Especially when you take out your meter, prick your finger, and see an out of range number pop up on the screen, it can feel like you just received a “F” on your report card. It is hard to not feel some type of personal responsibility for the number that appears on a meter when you are the one in charge of your management. Many people with diabetes hold a lot of shame and judgment when checking blood sugars that they may want to hide their readings, lie about the results, or avoid checking altogether. Knowing your blood sugar levels provides you and your care team with valuable information so it is important to keep the interaction neutral or as positive as possible. Keep reading to find out how you can keep the shame away when checking your blood sugar.
Create a Safe Space and Environment
If you are stressed out about work or in the middle of something important and you check your blood sugar, that blood sugar check may feel like interference. You already have so much racing through your head that of course your blood sugar would be in range!! OF COURSE!! Instead of adding more fuel to the fire, what if you created a more intentional space and environment when it comes to checking your blood sugar? Whether it is stepping away from your workplace, taking a few deep breaths and centering yourself, putting on your favorite song or lighting a candle, these actions can allow you to feel safe, calm, and comfortable from the start rather than being at high alert.
Challenge your beliefs
If you generally associate out of range blood sugars with being a “bad diabetic” or that you aren’t doing enough, consider challenging those beliefs by repeating powerful and motivational mantras or affirmations to yourself. Repeating powerful statements like “I know that I use the tools that I have to the best of my ability” “whatever the number, I have the tools to shift the outcomes'' or “one number does not define my management” can help remind you that you have the tools and knowledge to to conquer whatever your blood sugar reading is. And remember, these readings provide valuable information to help you learn and adjust, they are not a reflection of your efforts or understanding of diabetes.
Establish a Positive Association
If you are feeling like you only associate your blood sugar checks with negative emotions or thoughts, you may want to work on establishing more positive associations with blood sugar checks. Consider listing three things you like about yourself immediately after checking your blood sugar. When you do this, it helps recenter your thoughts that diabetes is just one part of your health and your life and that your blood sugar readings truly do not define who you are as a person.
Whether you have been living with diabetes for 10 days or 10 years, it is important to recognize that checking blood sugars provides valuable information inside your diabetes management. If you have ever felt any level of shame when checking your blood sugar, start getting curious about how you work on not associating your self-worth with what readings are displayed on your meter. Interested in seeing how a T1D coach walks clients through this process? Listen to 3 Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Blood Sugar (Without the "Just Think Positive" Mindset), available now on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.