Diabetes and Stress

Everyone has stress in his or her life, but we all handle it differently. Stress causes the body to release extra glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream. This extra glucose:

  • Increases energy to help you cope with the stress
  • Raises your blood sugar levels

What causes stress?

Happy events, (planning for the holidays, parties, reunions, etc) sad events,  (illness, deaths, not seeing family, etc) and high blood sugars, or fear of what high sugars, can cause stress.

What can you do? First, think about what has worked for you in the past to lower your stress level & try it again.

  • Try to identify what causes you stress. Is there anything you can do to avoid or decrease your stressors? To help figure out what stressors may raise your blood sugars:
      • Rate your current stress from 1 to 10
      • Check your blood sugar
      • Write down your blood sugar with the stress number next to it
      • After 1-2 weeks, you may be able to identify a pattern
  • Learn ways to relax
      • Physical activity: moving around lowers blood sugars & stress
      • Breathing exercises: breathe in & out slowly for 10 minutes. Think about each breathe, relaxing your muscles as you breathe.
      • Progressive relaxation: tense & then relax the muscles of your body. Start with your neck & work down to your toes.
      • Listen to music, read or watch a sitcom
      • Replace negative thoughts with positive ones
      • Call or visit friends & family. Avoid people who add to your stress.
      • Get help from your diabetes care team

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