Welcome to Week 4 of the Kickstart Challenge! For our last week, we’ll cover how stress management can help keep blood sugar in the safe zone.
When you feel stressed, your body primes itself for “fight or flight.” In the long past, if you felt a spike of stress, it meant something along the lines of “you met a bear, what now?” Your body would release the hormones adrenaline and cortisol that cause an increase in blood sugar so your body has the fuel to either run from the bear or fight for your life. If you’re an avid outdoors enthusiast, there’s still a chance you could run into a bear, but chances are your stress comes more from things like sitting in traffic, work, or last minute bake sales you didn’t know you had to make cupcakes for.
Chronic or recurring stress can cause your body’s stress response to repeatedly be in the “on” position, keeping your blood sugar high without the accompanying “fight or flight” to use up all that sugar.
Stress can also have an impact on your appetite and everyone responds differently. When stressed, you may find yourself over or under eating and both responses can affect your blood sugar.
Ideally we could move all the things or situations we feel stress about, but it’s unavoidable in our daily lives. Since you can’t eliminate all your stressors, it’s important to find healthy ways to manage the stress in your life to help keep your blood sugar in a safe range.
There are lots of strategies to explore for stress management and we’ll touch on two here. To get the most out of any technique, the key is continued practice. Try to do it consistently (at least three times a week) for a few weeks to see if you notice a benefit. If you think you will forget or struggle to find the time, set this time up in your calendar as an appointment with yourself that you need to keep. If you feel like you would like something more structured to help you get a jumpstart, reach out to your Health Coach on Brook about our 4 Weeks to Calm stress management challenge.
Meditation is the practice of bringing your awareness to the present moment, and has been found to reduce stress and improve blood pressure. If you feel like your mind wanders too much when you try, check out our guided meditation.
Journaling is helpful for exploring feelings and situations. Writing things down lets you identify feelings and patterns in your life. Journaling may also help you organize your thoughts more clearly rather than letting them lead you into a worry spiral. If you like the idea of journaling but not sure how to start, make a gratitude journal. Start by writing down 3 things you’re grateful for that day. Then start writing about why and anything else that comes to mind.
on November 23rd, 2020. Heather is a Certified Diabetes Educator, has been a Registered Dietitian for over 12 years, and is Brook's Health Director.