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5 tips to reduce stress with type 2 diabetes

From the moment of diagnosis, type 2 diabetes is a condition that must be managed.

That's the good news - that it is manageable. Many people with type 2 diabetes live long, active and fulfilling lives, but life with diabetes can also be stressful.

Stress can also affect your diabetes. When you are stressed, your body releases hormones such as cortisol that increase the amount of sugar in your blood.

Not only does this potentially complicate diabetes management, but frequent or long-term stress can take a physical and mental toll. And eading that probably doesn't calm you down.

So, when you need to relax, what can you do? Here are five tips to get you started.

Stop. Breathe. Relax.

Type 2 diabetes isn't a death sentence

Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can be overwhelming. The pressure of not knowing enough about it while suddenly being bombarded with more information than you can possibly digest can make you feel helpless at first.

The reality is that you won’t get it right overnight. You’ll improve at managing your diabetes over time. Start by focusing on what you need to know to manage your blood sugar in the coming days and weeks. Once you’ve got that under control, you can plan for how to successfully manage your type 2 diabetes in the years to come.

Stop. Breathe. Relax.

Some of us will never be morning people

There aren’t any bonus points for waking up before sunrise and getting a head start on the day. However, a good way to clear your head, feel fresh and get your metabolism going is to get moving early in the day.

It doesn’t have to be strenuous. Maybe it’s just a walk around the neighbourhood – to your workplace or the local shops. Maybe a bike ride. Or a yoga session to stretch your limbs and get the blood flowing.

Exercising for just 30 minutes, five times per week, is recommended for

helping to reduce stress and improve your cardiovascular health. Even moderate physical activity can reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. 

“You don't know what you don't know, so you need to set about learning some things.”

-Enda Folan
is living with type 2 diabetes in NIR

Be wary of outdated myths

Diabetes treatment has evolved

Diabetes has been around for a long time. Chances are, you have known a number of people who have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Today, accurate information about type 2 diabetes - and the many ways to manage it - is readily available from trusted sources. Be sure to ask your GP or a specialist about any concerns you might have. It can also be reassuring to talk to other people living with type 2 diabetes. Just remember, everyone's journey with type 2 diabetes is different.

Test your knowledge of type 2 diabetes myths here

Make plan to succeed

Success is never an accident, especially when it comes to your health

Type 2 is very manageable, but it doesn’t manage itself.

Try to imagine your best possible life with diabetes. Maybe it involves dancing at your child's wedding, running a marathon, or simply enjoying the foods you love while staying in control of your blood sugar. To make it happen, you need a step-by-step plan.

This could take the form of a meal plan for the week ahead, monthly exercise goals, or a list of questions you want to ask your doctor. Keep your plans tangible and incremental to help you stay motivated. While planning around your diabetes might feel restrictive at first, a realistic plan can also help you feel in control of your situation.

“I have realized now, that if you manage it correctly, you don't exactly turn back the clock, but you can have a happy life.”

-Mavis Alagar
is living with type 2 diabetes the UK

Ask your doctor about treatment options

Your type 2 diabetes treatment shouldn't be a source of stress

Because of the progressive nature of diabetes, your treatment needs may change over time.

Today, there are lots of different types of treatments available to help you in the various stages of your diabetes journey. This means there are also many opportunities for positive change.

People who have been struggling to get their blood glucose under control have more options than ever before. In addition to helping you set achievable goals, your doctor can help you understand the many treatments available as well as where you are on your treatment journey. Together, you can decide on the right path for your unique situation.

  1. Diabetes.co.uk. Diabetes and Stress [online] January 2019. Available from: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-destress.html. Accessed on 5 October 2021 2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd ed. 2018.

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