Stress can be a part of daily life with type 2 diabetes. But there are strategies you can use to prevent it from impacting your health.
Living with type 2 diabetes can be a roller coaster of emotions. It can be difficult to make long-term lifestyle changes, keep our numbers in range, and stay on track with taking medications.
Plus, keeping up with doctor’s appointments, specialists, and insurance changes can feel like a full-time job. Add in other conditions like chronic kidney disease and high blood pressure, and the stress can really build up.
Stress is a reaction to a change or a challenge — and we know that type 2 diabetes does present some challenges.
Short-term stress can sometimes help us be more productive or focused, like when you have a work deadline and perform better under that pressure. But in the long-term, stress can have some harmful effects on our physical and mental health.
Some common symptoms of stress include:
For people with type 2 diabetes, stress can cause elevated blood sugar levels.
But you can implement some strategies right now to help manage or relieve the stress that comes with managing type 2 diabetes. Here are five tips to get you started.
Changing your entire life overnight is overwhelming, and attempts are usually short-lived. Instead, choose one thing to start with.
Maybe it’s upping your water intake, increasing your activity, routinely checking your blood sugar, or going to sleep earlier. Once you’ve established and maintained your new habit, add the next one in.
Before you know it, you’ll have a host of healthy habits that are serving you and your health journey, without the overwhelm.
Though we can try to predict what our numbers are going to be, sometimes our blood sugar readings have a mind of their own. By being prepared and focusing only on the things you can control, you’ll be ready for whatever the meter says.
Meal planning, having grab-and-go snacks ready, and checking your blood sugar levels after enjoying new foods are just some ways to help keep your numbers steady. Knowing the foods that spike your numbers is valuable information, so make it a habit to investigate when you try something new.
Whether you’re taking oral medications, injections, or a combination of both, it’s easy to forget to take them — and easy to forget if you’ve taken them. Habit stacking is a great tool you can use to get in the groove of taking your meds consistently.
Pair taking your medication with something you already do daily. For example, if you stand by the coffee maker every morning while your coffee brews, use that time to take your medication. Stacking habits together makes it easier to put them into practice.
Even if you have the best memory, it’s difficult to track all the appointments we should be scheduling as people with diabetes. That list is lengthy and may include your:
To keep yourself on schedule, use a paper planner or calendar app to remind you of appointments you’ve already made. Take it a step further and set dates and notifications to remind you to schedule additional appointments when it’s time. This will ensure you don’t fall behind in your routine care.
If you’ve tried to manage your diabetes stress on your own but still feel overwhelmed, it may be time to enlist the help of a professional. Your medical team may suggest medication to help cope with stress or anxiety.
A licensed therapist can also provide guidance on navigating emotions when it comes to chronic conditions that may cause stress.
We can all agree that stress is a part of everyday life with diabetes. Though short-term stress can be beneficial, long-term stress can lead to long-term health concerns. It’s important to find your own way of handling diabetes challenges in a productive way.
Medically reviewed on May 27, 2022
Have thoughts or suggestions about this article? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.