We all have stress in our daily lives - whether it's constant or rare. Research suggests that stress may lead to insulin resistance and hypertension, among other ills. When stress is intense and recurring over the course of a person's life, health consequences are a very real concern.
According to the American Diabetes Association, if you are living with diabetes already, stress could cause you to forget to take care of yourself as you need to. Stress hormones may change blood glucose levels as well. If you have prediabetes, stress is bad news for you too, as it could help lead to diabetes and other health issues down the line.
So what can you do? While it would be great to be able to give you a list of ways to rid your life of stress, it's unfortunately impossible. Instead, for your health and for better diabetes management, you can learn to deal with your stress in productive ways. There are many books available on this subject, and any social worker or therapist will have ideas - you can even ask your doctor for some starting pointers. However, here are a few quick and easy tips for you to start with:
Accept where you are
If something in your life is stressful for you, it's common to spend time railing against it or denying that it is a factor. It's not fair, you might think, that you have this source of stress and pain - or you might ignore it to the best of your ability. Both of these reactions mean you do not have the necessary space to handle your stress. Instead, it is best to accept that a stressful situation is occurring. This doesn't mean you have to like it - it only means you acknowledge this is your reality. From there, you can decide to make changes to the situation or how you react.
Find out how you unwind
Different people relieve their stress differently. Some like to take a long walk in nature, while others would prefer a soothing bath. If you're used to ignoring your stress or handling it with unhealthy behaviors, try a lot of different ways to de-stress and see which ones resonate with you. Meditation is a good place to start, as you can do it anywhere with no special equipment. Taking a walk or having a mug of herbal tea are other ideas that don't take much effort and may be good for you to boot. If you try many different activities to help you reduce your feelings of stress, over time you'll find you have an entire list of them to turn to when times are hard.
Stay on track with your diabetes care
Being stressed can make it difficult to take care of yourself - but neglecting your health can lead to more problems and thus more stress. This is a vicious cycle that can be very hard to avoid or break. If you need help adhering to your care plan, talk to your doctor about what can help. Think of simple things you can do on your own, too, like setting an alarm on your phone that reminds you when it’s time to check your blood sugar, or getting an app that will help you plan healthy meals.