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Building Your Support System

Nina Ghamrawi, MS, RD, CDE
3
January 14, 2022

A support system is a group of people who provide you with mental, emotional, and practical support when you need it most. They also help keep you going strong when you're doing well. You've always got the UnifiedCare Team in your corner. But who in your daily life do you have that provides you with support? Who could you call on to help you when you need it most?

Identify Who Already or Might Help You

Chances are likely that you already have people that you can call when you’re frustrated, or friends or family to give you an honest, and positive suggestion when you need it most. Who are those people to you?

If you can’t find any individuals that are already filling these roles in your life, think about those around you that you’d like to have closer relationships with - to help bring you up when you’re down, or keep you motivated and healthy. Think about whom you can trust around you and share the same values in their health as you do.

Talk to them. Chances are, you can become a great team.

Building Your Support Team

Let the people you trust know that they keep you motivated to reach your health goals. Figure out how to incorporate them into your lifestyle regularly, and ask them to help keep you on track with a particular health goal. Set up regular meet-ups with them, whether they be walks, a healthy lunch or tea outdoors, or a simple phone call. You never know if you have something to talk about until you start talking.

Support is Not Limited to Friends and Family

If you have a favorite book, hobby, or a pet to keep you company and make you feel better, incorporate them.

Support Groups are There When You Need Extra (Who also understands your Medical Condition):

For Diabetes:

For COPD:

For Kidney Disease:

For Heart Disease and Congestive Heart Failure:

If you are looking for other support groups that you may join to help you get through coping with your condition, let your care team or doctor know and we will gladly refer you.  

Benefits of Your Support System

Without a support system, a person may feel like they are alone when they are having a hard time. It is important to have a strong support system so that you have those people to fall back on when things get rough. There are so many benefits to having a strong support system. It can lead to less stress, feeling more fulfilled, and more resilience in times of difficulty in your life.

Keeping Your Current Relationships

1. Show Your Appreciation: Make sure those who are currently in your support system know how much you care about them.

2. Stay in Touch: It doesn’t matter if it’s on social media, through phone, email or text — don’t let those relationships fade away, especially the supportive ones.

3. Be Available: Remember that relationships are a two-way street and you are a part of their support system as well. Be there for your friend or family member as much as they are there for you.

4. Accept Help: You don’t always have to be the rock of the group. Be conscious when you need support and accept help from your support system when it is offered to you.

5. Talk Openly: Open and honest communication is the best way to grow healthy relationships. Do this in your current support system.

6. Respect Needs and Limits: Know your own boundaries, and be firm with them. Get to know your friends’ and families’ needs and limits, and try to meet needs while respecting limits.

7. Know When It isn’t Working: Unfortunately, sometimes a relationship causes more stress than support. Recognize when that is and put a respectful end to that relationship. Other times, a relationship might fade and no longer is beneficial to either one of you. It might be time to let that relationship continue on its way out.

Takeaways

Regardless of the twists and turns that your life takes you, and regardless of your level of need, having a partner, team, or group of people that share the same health needs and goals as you is important in all stages of your life. Whether you are stable and just looking for some friends to be active with you, or whether you’re feeling down and need some motivation, a healthy support system will bring you up and also build you higher. Always remember that your UnifiedCare team of dietitians, health coaches, and assistants is also in your support team, and are always around if you need a health cheerleader.

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