Today’s busy lifestyle can be very stressful. There are large and small stressors we encounter every day, all of which can take a toll on our overall health and wellbeing. What’s more, having diabetes gives us one more thing to worry about that only adds to the regular stress. It’s our daily diabetes management.
Why is Stress Harmful?
Stress appears when we encounter real or imagined danger. In such a case, our body’s immediate response is skyrocketing our blood glucose and increasing our heart rate. But, coping with this extra pressure can damage our veins, arteries, and heart.
According to the American Diabetes Association, this can lead to hypertension or high blood pressure.
Having this chronic disease means having a higher risk of many health complications, such as heart failure, kidney damage, loss of vision, nerve damage, etc.
So, chronic stress can only increase the risk of these and many other problems related to the heart, renal, digestive, and immune systems.
That’s why choosing the right way to react to stress is extremely important. Otherwise, it can distract us from following our exercise, diet, and medication schedule. What’s more, it can even directly affect our blood glucose levels.
Don’t choose unhealthy ways to cope with stress. Instead, create healthy ones that can reduce stress efficiently.
The Stress of Diabetes Management
If managing our diabetes is one of the things that’s causing us stress, we’ll have to find a way to simplify it. However, we should not stop or ignore our diabetes management to prevent our overall health from worsening.
In fact, if we ignore it, we’ll only increase the stress in our life. That’s because poor blood glucose control can cause many health complications which could make us feel guilty.
So, here are a few tips to ease some of the stress of type 2 diabetes management.
Tips to Ease the Stress of Type 2 Diabetes Management
1. Setting Clear Goals
This will help us feel less overwhelmed by our disease. According to the certified diabetes educator Jill Weisenberger, we should set 3-4 clear goals about the things we will do to manage our diabetes.
For example, decide that we will bring our own healthy lunch at work for 3 days a week. This will empower us, at the same time reducing the stress linked to diabetes management.
2. Making Medication Reminders
If we worry that we’re going to miss a dose of our diabetes medication or insulin, we should set our digital calendar or alarm on our mobile phone that will remind us. Also, we can use a pillbox to organize our medications.
3. Regular Check-Ups
Each appointment with our doctor is important, so we shouldn’t miss one. Also, we can write down questions and problems that we want to ask him/her on the next visit.
In this way, we won’t feel stressed that we’ve forgotten to ask them something important for our diabetes management.
4. Asking Someone to Help Our Meal Planning
We can ask our friends or family member to help us with buying groceries, planning meals, and cooking. By sharing our responsibilities with someone, we’ll feel less stressed when it comes to preparing our healthy meals.
5. Breaking Exercise Up into Shorter Blocks
There’s no need to panic if we can’t devote 30 minutes of our time to exercise. Instead, we can make 10-minute walks after each meal and we will meet the goal of daily exercise.
6. Going to Bed at the Same Time
We can choose a time that will allow us to sleep at least 6 hours each night. Consistency will help reduce stress.
7. Practicing Meditation or Deep Breathing
It’s enough to do this for a few minutes a day to notice the positive effects. We can also do yoga.
8. Doing Something We Enjoy
Our diabetes shouldn’t prevent us from doing the things we enjoy. Therefore, we should find the time to watch our favorite TV series, funny YouTube videos, or catch up with some friends. In this way, we won’t think only about our diabetes.
9. Educating Ourselves
Knowing everything about our disease will make it less scary. Therefore, we can ask our doctor or do our online research about it to learn all the ways we can manage it.
Everyone should know how to manage stress to prevent various health problems. But, those with diabetes should take stress management as an essential part of their diabetes management.
In that way they can help prevent many health complications related to their disease, improve their blood sugar control, as well as their life quality.