Many people do not realize it, but stress is a very natural part of life. Normal levels of stress help keep us alert and motivated. Too much negative stress over long periods of time, however, can be harmful. When you add a chronic illness into the mix, the effects are even worse.
Diabetes and Stress
People with diabetes often struggle with stress. The body’s physical response to stress can change blood sugar levels. Our emotional response can affect our motivation to eat well and take care of ourselves the way we should.
The ideal solution would to get rid of negative stress altogether, but for most of us that is not possible. The best thing is to learn how to reduce negative stress, and deal with stress in a better way.
For Jesse Moreno, 78, reducing stress means finding time to do the things he enjoys. “I’m always active,” Moreno says. “I work on the yard and like to maintain my antique cars.”
Tips to Manage Stress
Getting enough exercise, eating a healthy diet, enjoying hobbies and spending time with my family can help reduce and manage stress.
- Learn to relax. Throughout the day, take “mini-breaks.” Sit-down and get comfortable, slowly take a deep breath in, hold it, and then exhale very slowly. At the same time let, your shoulder muscles droop and say something positive like, “I am r-e-l-a-x-e-d.” Be sure to get enough rest at night.
- Exercise. Physical activity can provide relief from stress. Develop a regular exercise routine to help reduce the effects of stress before it becomes distress. Try walking, jogging or dancing. To join a Fitness Walking Group or to schedule an appointment, please visit the Texas Diabetes Institute or call 210-358-7206.
- Watch your habits. A healthy, balanced diet will help provide the necessary energy you will need during the day. Reduce your alcohol use, and limit caffeine and sugar intake. Also, over or under indulging can contribute to stress. By making stress reduction part of your life, diabetes control become easier. Don’t forget to drink water regularly.
Register With CareLink
To register for CareLink’s Salud Por Vida program, a 12-week health promotion program for CareLink members who have diabetes or hypertension, please call 210-358-3290.