What Strategies Can I Use?
By Elizabeth Scherer
Use these strategies to help you stay on track.
Make sure you understand all the parts of your treatment. That means get all your questions answered about any changes you need to make in your diet, your exercise program, and medicine you need to take.
Take action if you have difficulty remembering when to take your medicine. Use products such as check-off calendars, containers for daily doses, and caps that beep when it's time to take a dose. These are usually available at pharmacies.
Let close friends and family members know about your treatment plan. Also ask them to help you follow it. For instance, they can help you cook tasty, healthy meals, start exercising with you, or remind you to take your medicine.
Be patient. You may be trying to change several behaviors at once. It can be hard to change lifelong eating habits, for instance. Take one step at a time. Make small, gradual changes, and enjoy each success. Congratulate yourself for every healthy step you take.
Pay attention to your feelings. It's not easy to find out that you have or are at risk for a health condition or to learn how to manage that condition. Mental health experts say that when we face difficulties, such as dealing with a health problem, we may go through a grieving process before we come to accept the situation. If you need some help adjusting, talk with your doctor. Find out whether there are any support groups in your area that you can join.
Work to overcome negative feelings. Denial is when you say, "It couldn't be me. I couldn't have this condition. There must be some mistake." Denial is a common - and even healthy - first reaction to a new diagnosis. In fact, denial can help keep you from feeling overwhelmed. It allows you to accept the news a little at a time, when you're ready. Long-term denial, though, can be a problem and get in the way of managing your condition. Anger is also a common and natural reaction to bad news. You may feel that life is unfair. The potential for complications may make you feel unsafe and afraid. When we feel afraid, we may react with anger. However, when anger gets out of control, it can hurt your ability to cope with and manage your condition.
Talk with your doctor if you think you are having side effects from medicine. If any side effects of your medicine trouble you, let your doctor know. The doctor may be able to adjust your dose, try a different medicine, or suggest ways to cope with the side effects.