We are all exposed to stresses in our daily lives, each one being real and relevant to our own situation. Individuals handle work, life or relationship stresses in different ways. What may seem extremely stressful to one person, will not be a stressful situation at all for another. We all need to learn how to handle stress so that our health is not affected. If stress levels continue increasing, personal performance begins to decrease and a journey along “the slippery slope” begins. There are three levels of the downward slide: distress, burnout and breakdown!

Physical Signs Of Stress

  • Back or chest pain
  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Cold hands
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension
  • Racing heart
  • Shortness of breath
  • Changes in blood glucose

Psychological Signs Of Stress

  • Nervousness and anxiety
  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Irritability and frustration
  • Indecisiveness
  • Insomnia
  • Forgetfulness

As a diabetic, you will know that stress can affect your body and your blood sugar levels. In a physically stressful situation, the body enters what is known as the “fight or flight syndrome”. Hormones such as adrenaline are pumped into the system, and the liver releases a burst of stored glucose to provide the muscles with adrenaline. In an emotionally stressful situation, the body often reacts in the same way, and the release of glucose will raise blood sugar levels. Although this is generally the case, many diabetics report low sugar levels through stressful times.

During stressful times, we generally change our patterns of behaviour, and your careful self-care routine may be forgotten. We generally eat more, exercise less, forget to take our medication and forget to monitor our blood sugar level.

Coping Skills

  • Exercise – no matter how bad the situation is, try to exercise, as it speeds up the production of endorphins, our feel-good chemicals
  • Nutrients – stress steals away nutrients from the body, so a daily multivitamin/ mineral/antioxidant supplement, such as the one in the RECHARGE Diabeticare is essential
  • Breathing exercises – we tend to take short, sharp breaths when stressed, so purposefully take a few deep breaths every hour or so
  • Rest – as sleeping patterns are generally disrupted during stressful periods, try to rest as much as possible during quiet periods of your day
  • Prayer or reflection – set a time every day for prayer and/or reflection and positive self-talk