Between constant management, fear, and pain, stress often plays a large role in the life of an individual with diabetes. That stress is often accompanied by high blood pressure and heart rate, both of which deplete energy, making sticking to your management routine that much harder.
It’s not uncommon for all this stress to take its toll and manifest itself in the form of anxiety and/or depression. In fact, studies suggest that people with diabetes are actually 3-4 times more likely than the general population to suffer from depression, which often goes hand in hand with decreased energy and lethargy– again, not exactly a recipe for tight blood glucose control.
The hectic nature of our lives can leave us feeling like our only choice is to white knuckle it through exceedingly stressful times. However, that doesn’t have to be the answer. There are things we can all do to alleviate both the big things life sends our way, and the day-to-day stresses that we all encounter. The best part is, most of them are free or inexpensive, easy to do, and don’t take a whole lot of time! Take a look!
1. Get Sweaty
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, which can help improve mood and decrease stress. Exercise can also alleviate symptoms of depression by encouraging regrowth of neurons in the region frequently associated with damage caused by the condition. And let’s not forget the natural feelings of confidence and pleasure associated with doing things that are good for your health!
Additionally, remember the energy-depleting nature of stress we mentioned earlier? Well, exercise can actually give you more energy! In addition to improving your endurance and making you stronger over time, exercise improves the efficiency with which your cardiovascular system functions, allowing that energy to be used by the rest of your body throughout the day.
2. Reduce your caffeine intake
For me, coffee is one of, if not the most essential part of my morning routine. It’s not my alarm that wakes me up, and it’s not showering. It’s coffee. So, I understand why cutting back on caffeine sounds like insanity. However, caffeine is a stimulant. The boost of energy you’re getting can actually betray you later in the day– making you feel jittery and increasing anxiety, if you drink too much.
Like with most things, everyone has a different threshold for caffeine. If you’re noticing an uptick in anxiety, assess your caffeine intake. I’m not suggesting you quit cold turkey, but if you notice it affecting your mood, it might be time to mix-in some decaf.
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L.D. and her eleven-year-old lab, Eleanor Rigby Fitzgerald, moved from Seattle to Grand Rapids earlier this year, and are currently enjoying exploring their new city! She likes books, music, movies, running, and being outdoors as much as possible.