Written by: Emily Nice, RD, LD
Stress can come in many forms. Whether in a physical manner (such as illness), or an emotional way (like going through a death in the family), stress takes a toll on the body. The negative impacts this may have make stress management a vital strategy in helping to control diabetes.
It is common for blood sugar levels to rise when enduring a stressful event, and blood sugar may remain elevated even after the stressor is gone. If the stress is not dealt with and continues long-term, this can lead to poor blood sugar control. Stress often takes up much of our time and energy, which may leave less focus for diabetes self-management techniques such as meal planning or physical activity. It is also important to consider the behaviors used to deal with stressors. Often times, unhealthy habits are formed to compensate for stress such as overeating, choosing energy dense foods, alcohol or drug abuse, or even avoiding food or skipping meals. All of these unhealthy but common coping mechanisms can lead to poor blood sugar control.
So, what can you do? Come up with some healthy ways to manage your stress! Here are some examples:
- Exercise (walk, run, bike, join a gym, swim, yoga, exercise classes, chair exercises, etc.)
- Establish a support system
- Join a support group such as the TalkDiabetes Support Program
- Start a new hobby or craft
- Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation
- Seek support from a professional
There are many ways that stress can drag us down. Finding ways to better manage stress can lead to improved blood sugar control and overall health. Next time, confront the stress to avoid the mess!
1. Roszler, Janis, and Melissa Brail. “Stress Management.” AADE in Practice 5.3 (2017): 34-37.
2. “Stress.” American Diabetes Association. 7 June 2013. Web.