Managing Stress 101

Although I’ve had type 1 diabetes for over 17 years, I feel like I am constantly learning about this disease. For example, in recent years I learned about how stress can impact your blood sugar levels, but I had never experienced this firsthand myself, or so I thought. It wasn’t until I got my Dexcom where I got to see the effects of stress on my blood sugar levels. Literally, I watched my blood sugars go up, up and up with no valid reason other than the fact that I was studying and stressed for exams. It honestly was so cool to see and was also an eye opening experience for me.

Over the past couple of weeks there have been a lot of changes in my life and as a result has been kicking my anxiety into high gear. As a type 1 diabetic, we all know how that can affect our blood sugar levels. Whenever I am under a lot of stress my blood sugar levels will tend to run high, no matter what I am eating, and no matter how tight of a watch I keep on my food intake and insulin dosages.

Having diabetes has taught me how to be fully aware of my body and what it is telling me. When I am feeling stressed or anxious, I have learned to take a step back to try and figure out what is causing me stress and think of ways to better manage it so that as a result I will not only be in a better mood, but it will also help to get my blood sugar levels back under control. There are many different methods and tools you can use to manage stress and anxiety. Here are just a few of my go to’s that always do the trick for me when I’m feeling stressed and anxious.

1. Get outside. Spending time outdoors is scientifically proven to boost your mood and can help improve your mental health. For those who know me, I especially love being by the water. Whenever I need some time to just sit by myself and breathe, I have my go to coffee shop that has a back patio that sits right on the lake with muskoka chairs. I will sit here for hours and watch the water and wildlife in front me. It truly has an amazingly calming effect.

2. Exercise. Go for a bike ride, do some yoga, lift some weights, go for a run, try kickboxing classes, swimming, the list goes on with possibilities. Bike riding is obviously my favourite out of these, but any of these activities will do the trick in helping to boost your mood!

3. Bring out your inner child with an adult colouring book. Colouring creates and an opportunity for relaxation and channels your energy into a creative effort. This is something I don’t do often enough, but truly is a pleasurable and relaxing activity to help reduce stress.

4. Avoid sugar and caffeine. This one is a no brainer. Sugar and caffeiene can cause your blood sugar to go on a rollercoaster, and with the extreme highs come the lows causing you to crash and feel tired and cranky. Let’s just avoid these ones altogether as much as possible.

5. Write it out. Journaling is something I have grown to love. Whenever I feel that I have a ton of things on my mind I will pull out a piece of paper and write it all out, every last thought, as if I am riding myself of any worries and stress.

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