Stress and Blood Sugar – How to Manage Both

It’s no secret that stress affects all people. Diabetes or not. However, managing it takes a multi-factorial approach. Should it be as easy as telling yourself to relax and calm down? Well in a miracle world where unicorns are our pets then, yes. However, it’s not that easy. Stress and blood sugar are directly linked together; therefore, managing them both will make your life better.

Stress can affect your blood glucose levels and destroy your healthy gut bacteria. Managing stress is very important to help control your blood sugar levels and also to maintain your microbiome (a fancy word for your gut bacteria family). If you have elevated blood sugar and don’t know how to get it under control stress can play a big role in your overall health outcomes.

For the most part, people under stress do not take care of themselves. They tend to eat more and exercise less. They might feel under pressure 24/7 and put their needs on the back burner. Sound familiar?

Relaxation and mindfulness are imperative to your health. It’s one of those things that you don’t realize you need until you implement it in your life.

Relaxation and stress techniques are not all the same. Some are short and some are long. You can travel with them and do them in the comfort of your own home or office. You can spend as little as 2 minutes up to 60 minutes or more. The key is to find something that is appealing to you and that you’ll stick with.

For me, going to the Farmer’s Market is like therapy. I love looking at all the colors!

Here are some ideas to help you manage your stress and blood sugar:

(Note: these are in no particular order)
  1. Create a routine. I’m HUGE on this concept. Just like babies and children need routines and schedules, so do adults.
  2. Make a list of what you need to do. This can help you sleep because your mind won’t be running all night with thoughts of everything you need to do. Plus, when you write it down often times it’s not as horrible as you thought. And if it is break it up into small pieces. Work on one small piece at a time. Timelines make progress.
  3. Take 3 deep breaths. Anytime you are faced with a challenge or can feel the anxiety attack building up I want you to take 3 very large deep breaths.
  4. Learn how to let things go. Whoa! This is a big one, even for me. But there is a time when you need to realize that some thing you just can’t change. Did the weather ruin your picnic plans? Can’t change the weather, but you can change your attitude about it. Don’t waste your energy worrying about things you can’t change and fix the things you can.
  5. Exercise! Literally the power of exercise to manage stress is one of the most important factors. The key is to find something that you like – NOT something that will add more stress in your life. I always encourage to try new exercises that you think you might not like, but you could end up loving it AND meeting new friends along the way. For stress management, it is recommended to exercise at least 30 minutes per day 6-7 days per week. Exercise naturally reducing stress hormones and increases “happy” hormones, like epinephrine (aka: endorphins).
  6. Visualize yourself taking your dream vacation. Have a favorite place where you can imagine yourself relaxing. Make sure to close your eyes and rest your hands peacefully on your belly or on the side of your body. Take slow and controlled breaths and let all that chatter in your brain go.
  7. Get a massage. Either invest in yourself and hire a professional or ask someone close to you to give you a body massage. We tend to all hold our stress tension in our upper backs and neck. Make sure to loosen those areas up. You could also roll on a tennis ball to relieve any specific tension areas.
  8. Mindfulness activities. Mindful eating, mindful listening, mindful anything! This website has got you covered.
  9. Positive Affirmations. I LOVE this one! Seriously the best! Something like “let go of all the lies I tell myself” OR “I choose happiness, success and abundance in my life.”
  10. Have self compassion. In essence, it’s cutting yourself some slack and remembering the big picture. Take a step back and evaluate what’s going on. Fix what you can and stop worrying about things you can’t change. Self care is the new healthcare.

Have any ideas of your own? I’d love to hear about how you manage your stress. Comment below or send me a message. Cheers to good health!

Author: Katie

Hi! I'm Katie, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. This website it dedicated to those looking to heal their bodies from the inside out - and it all starts with balancing out your blood sugar. Let's heal disease together one plate at a time.

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