Stress is the reaction of our body to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. When we become stressed, the body quickly responds by releasing hormones that give cells access to stored energy – fat and glucose – to help the body get away from danger.
Diabetes and stress
As we know, diabetes management is a lifelong process. As a result, this adds stress to your daily life. Stress can be a major barrier to effective glucose control. Stress hormones in your body may directly affect glucose levels. When you’re feeling stressed, the body releases stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones should give you an energy boost for a ‘fight or flight’ response. But the hormones actually make it harder for insulin to work properly, known as insulin resistance. As energy can’t get into your cells, your blood sugar levels rise.
If your blood sugar levels go too high, you face high blood sugar levels or hyperglycemia. If it doesn’t go away, it can keep your blood sugar levels high and put you at a higher risk of diabetes complications. It can also affect your mood and how you look after yourself, which can start to affect your emotional health.
What do I do when I feel stressed?
Everyone copes with stressful situations in different ways. For example, sometimes I feel stressed when I try to do things perfectly. As a result, in the end, I don’t manage to finish the things as I was expecting. Because stress increases my blood sugar level, in these situations, the first thing that I try to do is to look after myself. This means that I try to stay calm and take a deep breath. Also, I check my blood sugar level more often in the following two or three hours.
Moreover, I learned not to put too much pressure on myself to do everything perfectly. This can add or lead to stress. But it’s good to be aware of how easy it can be to give in to the habit of letting diabetes self-care slip in times of stress.
Trying to get enough sleep and building exercise, rest and relaxation time into my routine also help me cope better with stress.
Last, but not least, talking with other people about what’s making me stressed helps me a lot. Talking with my family and sister about things that make me worry is the best therapy for me. Their words and advice help me put something into perspective or just make me feel relieved about getting it off your chest.