August 17, 2015

What Is Your Stress Level?

Stress levels can vary from individual to individual; however, everyone can have stress and for people with type 2 diabetes, this can happen. Stress is not a “one-size-fits-all” case.

Stress can hamper your diabetes management. For instance, if you have so much on your mind that you skip meals or forget to take your medicines, that will affect your blood glucose level. Life can always present challenges and setbacks, but you do have the power to choose how you respond to these.

Here are a few ways to start.
#1. Keep a positive attitude. When things seem to be going wrong, it is easier to see the negative instead of the positive. Find something to appreciate in each important area of your life, such as your family, friends, work, and health. That perspective can help you get through tough times.

#2. Be kind to yourself. Do you expect too much from yourself? It's okay to say "no" to things that you don't really want or need to do. Don't let others overload you with things and ideas that are not productive in the management of your diabetes.

#3. Accept what you can't change. Ask yourself these three questions:
  1. "Will this be important 2 years from now?"
  2. "Do I have control over these circumstances?"
  3. "Can I change my situation?"
If you can make things better, go for it. If not, is there a different way to handle it that would be better for you?

#4. Talk to someone. You could confide in a trusted family member or close friend. There are also professionals who can listen and help you find solutions. Ask your doctor for recommendations if you'd like to see a psychologist or counselor.

#5. Tap the power of exercise. You can blow off steam with hard exercise, recharge on a hike, or do a relaxing mind-body activity like yoga or tai chi. You'll feel better.

#6. Take time to unwind. Practice muscle relaxation, deep breathing, meditation, or visualization. Your doctor may know of classes or programs that teach these skills. You can also check for apps that do that.

#7. Laugh it off. Sometimes things just suck, and you simply need to laugh it off. Humor goes a long way. You can always laugh, even when you don't feel like it. I much prefer a laughing person to a person that always whines!

#8. Stop Self-Defeating Behaviors. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the challenges of your battles with diabetes, you may find yourself overeating or skipping your exercise. Many of us encounter mild depression and burnout from our daily diabetes duties.

#9. Avoid Perfectionism. This is my worst enemy and I do get very frustrated when I don't achieve my goals as fast as I want. According to the article, this can contribute very easily to self-sabotaging behaviors. A team of experts at Joslin Diabetes Center claim the best strategy is to have long-term goals so realistic that failure is erased. Biting off bigger goals that are difficult to achieve is not realistic.

#10. Your Handy Stress Reducer. If you have a stress reducer that works for you that is not listed here, make use of it. There are many ways people reduce stress. If meditation, walking, or anything else works for you – make use of it to reduce or eliminate stress in your life.

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