Whether you are diabetic or prediabetic, you are mostly dealing with stress in your daily life. Managing stress is not as easy as just telling yourself to relax and get through your routine tasks. In diabetes, stress affects your blood glucose level, and you have to work and manage both stress and blood glucose levels together.
What is stress?
Stress is a feeling or your body’s reaction to an emotional or physical strain. It can come from any event or circumstance and result in your worry, anxiety, frustration, and tension. Changes in life may create stress and affect everyone to some extent, but it is tougher to manage when you are diabetic or prediabetic.
Realistically, you will never be able to get rid of stress in your life. So, it’s better to learn how to reduce and manage stress while continuing your day to day tasks.
Can stress affect your diabetes?
Stress can make it more difficult to control your diabetes as it may distract your daily routine work and result in your exhaustion. It can be a crucial barrier to your effective glucose control. Stress hormones in your body directly affect your glucose levels. If you are stressed and feeling tired, your body reacts. This reaction is called the fight-or-flight response, and it elevates your hormone levels resulting in your nerve cells to shoot.
During this response, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol into your blood to increase your respiratory rates, tight your muscles, make you breathe quickly, raise your blood pressure, and sharpen your senses to fight the situation. During this time, it may not be able to process the glucose that is being released by your firing nerve cells. When you don’t convert glucose into energy, it will build up into your blood, prompting your blood glucose level to rise.
Constant stress with blood glucose can also put you down mentally and physically and may make it difficult to manage your diabetes.
Adrenaline: A hormone secreted by the adrenal glands that increases your blood circulation rates, breathing and carbohydrate metabolism, and prepares muscles for exertion.
Cortisol: A hormone to protect your overall health and well being by helping and control blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, reduce inflammation, and assist with memory formation.
What are the symptoms of stress in diabetes?
Stress may easily creep up on you in diabetes. You get used to it, and you don’t even notice how much it is affecting you and your health. That’s why it is vital to know and aware of the symptoms of stress in diabetes. It will help you with your stress management.
Physical Symptoms: If you are stressed, you may experience:
- Headaches and body pains
- Chest pain, rapid heart rates
- Nausea, fatigue, and dizziness
- Muscles stiffness
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Frequent colds or flu
- General feelings of illness
Emotional Symptoms: If you are stressed, you may feel:
- Depression or general unhappiness
- Anxiety and agitation
- Bad mood or anger
- Restless and irritability
- Loneliness and isolation
Behavioral symptoms: If you are stressed, you may behave:
- Eating more or less
- Sleeping more or less
- Withdrawing from friends and family members
- Acting out in anger
- Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
- Nervous habits like nail-biting and pacing
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How to manage stress in diabetes:
It is not possible to reduce your stress entirely in diabetes, but there are few things if you can do in your day to day life, you could be able to manage your stress effects.
Exercise and walking
Raising your physical activity is one of the strategies to reduce your stress. You can employ it right now to help relieve stress and start to feel better. Exercise works as a tonic to lift your mood. It is vital both for your body and mind. It serves as a distraction from worries and allows you to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed your stress. It also boosts your self-confidence. Rhythmic exercises such as brisk walking, running, and swimming is helpful in stress-relieving. They stimulate your brain to help you feel good.
Learn to relax
As I said earlier, you cannot eliminate stress from your life, but you can control how much it affects you. Learn relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises. They activate your body relaxation response. When you practice these techniques regularly, they can reduce your stress levels and boost feelings of joy and happiness. They can also help you to stay calm and collected even under immense pressure.
Take care of your diet
The food you eat can help improve your mood and manage your stress. Always try to eat a healthy diet with high-quality proteins, low fatty foods, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables to feel more satisfied and relaxed. Keep your eating habits in balance by avoiding sugary snacks and junk food.
Improve your sleep
Feeling tired can increase stress and also disrupt your sleep. Whether you are having trouble staying asleep at night or falling asleep all the time, try to improve your sleep so that you feel less stressed and more productive and emotionally balanced.
Take some action by yourself
You have to organize your life by taking some measures by yourself. There is no need to deal with all stresses at once. You can go step by step by solving one problem at a time. Make a real working plan and follow it by doing some meaningful activities. Those activities give you a valuable place in society, such as volunteering. Find something that you like most, and that gives you a sense of purpose.
Be inclined towards the creation
Be creative and try something new. Focus on constructive work. Gain your strength. Revisit your off-track qualification or interest. Do some innovative experiments in poetry, music, painting, story writing, photography, or design. Read books and take a close look at classic literature. According to modern research, reading books on spirituality or psychology can boost your mood and relief stress.
My technique for managing stress in diabetes
This technique is something special. I learned it from my friend’s grandmother. She is too type 2 diabetic. If you are stressed, wash your hands for five minutes with warm water. Then dip your feet in lukewarm water for half an hour and listen to light tone music. During this time, twist your eyebrows, touch your lips and make childish gestures. Believe it or not, it will help you manage your stress. This technique honestly helps me a lot with my stress management.
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Comment below if you have any queries regarding your stress management. Maybe I can help you out in your stress-relieving efforts.