Stop Stressing Out!
It affects your diabetes management!
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
January 2009 — OK. I was trying to be funny with the title, by YELLING OUT that you should not stress. But the part that wasn't a joke was the fact that stress raises your blood glucose. It does… big time. So I would like to share some personal tips on how to manage stress, especially in these crazy economic times.
Stress is in the air
Stress hides in many places. Sometimes it manifests itself as a result of these current financial hardships. There is bad news everywhere you turn to, with friends and relatives experiencing layoffs from their jobs. You fear it's going to hit you too and the stressing starts.
Other times, stress may be the result of modern day life: working two jobs, moving to a new place, meeting a deadline. All these things add up to an already full plate and put us under a lot of stress.
Extraordinary circumstances such as the loss of a loved one also stress us out. When my dad died in 2005, I couldn't get my blood sugars in control for months. The impact of my grief on my diabetes management was tremendous.
These are all examples of stressors: factors that cause stress. Most of these we can do little about. So how can we control stress itself? How do we react to the influence of all these elements?
How to manage stressors?
- Listen to the news less. Yes, I mean it. We can speculate as to how things are going to look six months from now, and it may not be fun. But why stress out about it any more than you have to? Spend your time more productively than biting your nails over the next government bailout.
- Listen to more music. The counterpart to being less on top of the news is to listen to more music, isn't it? Blast some Vince Guaraldi this holiday season and let "A Charlie Brown Christmas" make you smile. Alternatively, tune to comedy shows to make you laugh. Laughter is an excellent stress management tool.
- Stop stressing about the things that you can't do anything about and focus on the ones that you can influence. My dad used to say, "Why get preoccupied, when you can get occupied." Wise words from a wise man!
- Talk it out. Yes, talk about your concerns and things that stress you. Whether you talk to friends close to you or others you may know online, it helps to get things off your chest. When you read what you wrote about how "bad" things are, you realize they really are not as bad you thought … there is always a silver lining.
- Take it day by day. If something in your diabetes life stresses you out (high numbers, potential complications, sick days), remember to take diabetes one day at a time. You learn something new every day. Take what you learned today and start applying it tomorrow. You will keep improving your diabetes management, but it will never be PERFECT… nor does it have to be.
That is it for this year from "Hola Diabetes." May 2009 bring us smiles in spite of the bumps in the road. We can all make it, together … and without too much stress.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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