Wednesday Wisdom – Managing Stress

Stress is everywhere. It’s just the nature of the game. If it were possible to completely eliminate stress, I am sure most, if not all, of us would.┬áStress really affects your body’s blood glucose in two ways:

  1. It changes the way your body handles insulin
  2. It can cause you to change the way you take care of yourself.

Stress can be mental, physical, emotional, even spiritual. Each can cause a similar chemical reaction in your body. For some Diabetics, exercising regularly provides the level of stress relief needed to control their health. Others need a little more help in managing stress.

Emotional stress is one of the hardest to control, and can be brought on by a myriad of situations; a fight with a spouse, the stress of taking care of an aging/ailing parent, worrying about a stable future, a difficult job situation… unfortunately, there are countless stressful situations in this thing called life.

Stress Balls can help!
Stress Balls can help!

A good tip is to develop coping strategies that will enable you to have more control over how stressed out you get. You can’t control all situations, but you can control your reaction to them. For some people, it helps to put the situation in perspective and ask if this is really that big a deal? Others take action to fix the problem, thus reducing the stress. And some people just remove themselves from the situation entirely – in some situations, this is truly the only way to avoid getting too stressed out. This could include transferring jobs or changing positions within a company.

There is no right or wrong way for you to choose which is the best method for you. I try to always act out putting it in perspective, and taking action. I don’t like to feel helpless (does anyone?), and there is something powerful to be said for doing what you can to better a situation. If I know a situation might stress me out, sometimes I do avoid the situation. Like if a friend is constantly being negative and bringing you down – sometimes it’s okay to decline a lunch date with that person. I practice self-preservation by assessing situations and deciding how best to handle them to keep my own stress levels stable. And a good tip I got from an old friend was asking myself “in two weeks, will this still upset me?” if the answer is yes, the issue has merit, and needs to be handled accordingly. If in two weeks you wouldn’t still be upset about something, it’s not worth getting up in arms about. Like yes, in two weeks time I might still be upset by a friend’s betrayal, but I would not still be upset about being 10 minutes late for an appointment or a lunch date.

As for physical stress, sometimes that’s harder to control, because you can’t always avoid it. You are likely, at some point, to fall ill, or be injured. It’s important to note that in these situations, it’s important for you to seek medical attention, or monitor your condition closely. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Life happens. To all of us. You are not the only one dealing with life, so take solace in the fact that we all have our struggles. Do the best you can to deal with them, using your own health as a great motivator. You are worth it.

Tip Tuesday – Healthy Eating

For some people, these tips might seem obvious/secondnature… but if I can educate even one person and help their journey be a little smoother, that’s my goal!

Some simple tips:

  • Spread carbohydrates throughout your day. It’s okay to eat carbohydrates at every meal, just don’t eat too much all at one time. (My nutritionist has me on a 30-45g/per meal carbohydrates plan.)
  • Protein, fat, and fiber do not raise blood sugar as much as carbohydrate does. If you eat a lot of these nutrients in a meal, your blood sugar will rise more slowly than it would otherwise.
  • Limit saturated fats, such as those from fatty meats, whole-milk dairy products, and butter. Instead, eat lean meat or grilled chicken and fish. Choose low-fat or non-fat milk, yogurt and cheese (I prefer Almond/Coconut milk, myself). Replace butter or margarine with healthy oils such as olive oil or coconut oil (my personal fave!). Replacing saturated fats with healthy oils is important to help lower your risk of heart disease. Unfortunately, those of us who are diabetics are at a higher-than-average risk for heart disease.
  • As mentioned in previous tips, choose whole grains over refined grains – this simple change makes a HUGE difference, really!

Do you have any helpful tips?