Being diagnosed and living with diabetes is a stressful experience, and in addition to external factors like work-related stress, relationship or financial worries, or day-to-day things like children driving you up the wall or your daily commute, stress can have a real and serious impact on your health. This can affect your blood sugar levels as cortisol (the stress hormone) releases extra glucose into the bloodstream. Here are nine ways to reduce stress for better blood glucose control
Studies show that drinking coffee (and to a lesser extent, tea) increases the stress levels in your body and releases cortisol, which increases blood sugar levels. Try to reduce caffeine gradually and look for decaf alternatives or herbal teas.
Research shows that participating in regular physical activity can increase insulin sensitivity and assist with lowering blood glucose levels, as well as burn calories. For beginners, it is recommended to build up to 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as jogging or brisk walking, each week. You can even do home workouts or use online exercise videos if you do not want to go to the gym.
A good night’s sleep supports your body and mind to tackle day to day stress more easily. If you are tired you can be less patient and more easily agitated which can increase stress. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Practicing stress-lowering tactics can also help improve your quality of sleep.
Putting in some extra effort of getting organised, especially if this organisation extends to multiple areas of your life, can help reduce stress levels long term by requiring less last-minute scrambling in a variety of everyday situations.
Creative pursuits like art and crafts, creative writing or woodworking can help focus the mind, and has even been compared to meditation due to its calming effects on the brain and body. Even just gardening or sewing releases the natural antidepressant – dopamine.
Feeling like you’re on the go all the time? Too much work and not enough play can contribute to problems feeling stressed out, so taking some time out to relax is essential for your health and mental wellbeing. Making yourself the priority may make you feel selfish, but if you do it on a regular basis it can help to reduce your stress levels.
Your breath is a powerful tool to ease stress and make you feel less anxious. Some simple breathing exercises can make a big difference if you make them part of your regular routine. Take a deep breath in. Now let it out slowly. You may notice a difference in how you feel already.
Talking through your worries and concerns with family and friends is an important buffer against stress. It can be helpful to share your problems with people who care for you. If you live with Type 2 diabetes, you can connect to other people who understand what it’s like living with the condition on our dedicated Facebook group.
Reducing junk food and refined sugars that are low in nutritional value and high in calories can stop us from feeling low on energy and sluggish, not to mention being unhelpful for managing your blood glucose levels. A healthy, balanced diet that is low in sugar, caffeine, and alcohol, can promote good health and reduce stress.
At Spirit Pharmacy we’re here to help people live well with diabetes. We offer free NHS prescription delivery, expert support, plus a free Live Well With Diabetes welcome pack with your first delivery.
Please note, this article is not intended to be individual healthcare advice. Always follow specific advice relating to your condition given to you by your doctor, pharmacist, diabetic nurse, or dietician.