5 Top Tips to Manage Stress In Today’s Crazy World!
These days, around the globe, who doesn’t have something to be stressed about?
Stress can play a large role in everyone's life, and for diabetics, it can make things even more challenging. For example managing hunger, weight, energy, sleep, and mood levels are all directly related to the body's response to stress.
Moreover, many Type 2s would say too much stress can make them feel like there isn’t time and decrease the will for practicing a healthy daily lifestyle.
There is a difference between types of stress. Ever considered if stressors in your life are acute or chronic?
The challenge in today's environment is it's not necessarily an acute stressor like a fire alarm going off. This type of stressor is considered acute because it is short term with a logical endpoint.
Most of what people are experiencing around the world are chronic stressors. These are daily stressors that tend to last. For example, decades of eating poorly, not getting enough sleep, and unmanaged anxiety can wreak havoc on the body.
Chronic stress is not something to ignore and requires attention. Unmanaged chronic stress can cause major swings in health including:
- changes to blood pressure
- cardiovascular issues
- strokes, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- and can weaken the functioning of the immune system making getting sick more likely.
Chronic stress also affects mental health. It can cause depression, frustration, and anxiety making simple daily tasks challenging.
Family ties, friendships, and relationships can also suffer. A highly stressed individual might turn inwards and withdraw, causing social isolation and a cycle of depression.
Why is this the case? Well, it all comes down to how the mind and body responds to chronic stress.
When someone is under increased pressure, it puts their body into “fight or flight” mode. This is the result of more of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline being pumped into the body. This can cause sweating, and change stomach activity. Additionally, the biological effects of stress, such as a higher heart rate and the release of stress hormones, can cause changes in diabetic blood sugar levels.
So no matter if its mental stress (like being late to work) or physical stress, there’s a natural response in the body making you ready to respond to that stress. For Type 2s, that response is raising blood sugar levels
Besides blood sugar, for those Type 2's aiming to drop some extra weight, stress can lead to a vicious cycle of comfort eating, lower self-esteem, and more anxiety.
So stress for Type 2’s isn’t very good for a number of reasons.
But of course, there's hope and ways to help relieve stress. Perhaps it's more important than ever to incorporate some of these anti-stress practices into day-to-day life.
Here are some tips to deal with stress:
Exercise at Least 4 Times a Week!
Physical exercise releases endorphins, which can reduce the emotional intensity of stress. The great part is no one is even thinking about going to the gym right now! Try cycling, walking, gardening, sports, and even some light housework.
Ensure Quiet Time.
Try not worrying about work! Try reading the newspaper, listening to music, practicing a hobby, and just have some time to focus on yourself! Consider practicing meditation for your daily quiet time.
Reduce Caffeine Consumption.
Green tea and coffee of course are the first drinks that come to mind when thinking about caffeine. What most don’t realize is too much caffeine can impact stress hormones, and act as a stimulant making it incredibly difficult to relax. Aim to only have 1-2 cups a day of a caffeinated beverage and try to consume it earlier in the day to not impact the quality or quantity of sleep.
Practice Healthy Eating Habits.
While food is usually linked to physical health, of course there is a direct impact on mental health. Health of the gut and nutrition is so important for all aspects of health, and for those with Type 2 being mindful of sugar and carbohydrate consumption is necessary for both the short term and long term.
Get The Support You Deserve!
This is vital to overall health and well-being. Talking with a friend, loved one, seeking counseling, or joining an online community can help with making day to day life easier to cope with. Consider joining the "Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together" Facebook group here. You can share experiences and techniques of dealing with stress and other challenging Type 2 can bring in daily life.