Everyone feels stress sometimes. It’s your body’s way of dealing with change and new situations. When you have diabetes, keeping tabs on your health can put stress levels into overdrive.
Over time, chronic stress can affect your health, causing high blood glucose levels.
Try these strategies to lower your stress:
Learn to Relax
Find something to help you relax when you’re feeling stressed. A warm bath, stretching, listening to music, or a massage can help. Many people benefit from deep breathing, something you can do almost anywhere. Sit still and place one hand on your stomach. Slowly breathe in and feel your stomach rise. Hold your breath for a moment then breathe out. Repeat a few times.
Tackle Small Problems First
When faced with a stressful day, look for small problems that you can tackle right away. Once you’ve resolved some small matters, you’ll have more confidence to take on the larger ones.
Get Some Exercise
When you’re stressed, exercise may be the last thing on your mind. But being active is a proven stress-buster. Taking a few minutes a day to do something active can help reduce your stress, improve your mood, and give you more energy. It can also improve your overall health. If you’re not used to exercising, start with a 15- or 20-minute walk after lunch or dinner.
Learn When to Let Go
Not every battle is worth your time or effort. Learn to give in on less important battles, and practice letting go when a situation is out of your control.
Be Good to Your Body
Stress can disrupt your sleeping and eating schedules. This can take a toll on your body and add to your stress. Instead of skipping meals or losing sleep, make an effort to eat nutritious meals and get at least seven hours of sleep a night. This will give your body the fuel it needs to help you concentrate and make decisions.
Make a list of the tasks you need to do each day and decide what to do first. This will help you feel more in control. Crossing each task off your list when you’re done helps give you a sense of accomplishment.
Do Something for Yourself
It’s easy to get caught up with things you need to do. But take some time each week to schedule something you like to do. Make a date to see a movie with your partner, visit a museum with a friend, or take the whole family bowling. Block this time off on your schedule, like you would for any other important task.
Find a Friendly Ear
Join a diabetes support group or share your feelings with a close friend or family member. Sometimes just talking about your stress can help you feel better. It may also help you take a fresh look at your problems and find solutions. If you need more serious help, talk with your doctor.
Always consult with your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional before changing your daily activity, diet, or adding a supplement. Reduce stress with these diet and fitness products.
Fact sheet on stress. National Institute of Mental Health. www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml.
Stress. American Diabetes Association. www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/mental-health/stress.html.
Stress and your health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Womenshealth.gov. womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/stress-your-health.html.
Stress: how to cope better with life’s challenges. FamilyDoctor.org. familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/prevention-wellness/emotional-wellbeing/mental-health/stress-how-to-cope-better-with-lifes-challenges.html.
Tips to manage anxiety and stress. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/tips.