New Beginnings Module 3: Understanding Your Feelings

Key points

  • Having diabetes can add stress when many people are already juggling work, family, social, and volunteer activities.
  • Some people can feel distress when dealing with the lifestyle changes and emotions that come with having a chronic condition.
  • Support for coping with emotions is an important part of diabetes education.
Adult woman providing comforting to a person sitting in a group.


Discussion time: 45 to 60 minutes

  • Emotional effects of diabetes
  • Healthy coping strategies
  • Diabetes and depression

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify at least three positive coping strategies.
  • Identify at least five signs of depression.


Suggested stories

Yvonne's Story: Yvonne talks about how she learned she had type 2 diabetes and overcame denial to make the lifestyle choices to manage her diabetes (audio: about 4 minutes).

LyCynthia and Terry's Story: LyCynthia and Terry talk about the importance of family support in managing diabetes (audio: about 4 minutes).

Key messages

It's normal to experience a range of emotions when living with diabetes.

Awareness of emotions is an important first step. People can do this by pausing throughout the day to see how they're feeling.

Healthy coping strategies can help a person with diabetes manage emotions and take actions that support healthy behaviors.

People can develop healthy coping strategies by adjusting how they think, feel, and act in daily life when they're under stress. Asking for help when needed is important too.

It's important to recognize the signs of depression and get help, if needed.

Tips for going virtual

Take a few minutes at the beginning of the session to explain the features of the video teleconferencing platform and the ground rules for virtual sessions. For example:

  • Mute video or phone when not speaking.
  • Say your name before speaking (especially on the phone).
  • Participants are not required to use a video camera. They can use a photo of themselves instead if they're more comfortable.

Instead of pairing off participants into the activities of this module, use the breakout room feature of your video teleconferencing platform (if available). Or, go around the "room" and have each participant share with the whole group.

See the Facilitating New Beginnings Online for ideas for adjusting activities for virtual groups. The video stories for this module can be played by sharing your screen (and computer audio).

Another option is to share the links to the videos with your group members before the session starts. The audio stories can be inserted into the New Beginnings PowerPoint template along with images that reflect the story.