Each morning, after I drop my son off at school, I head to the dog park with my little dog, Zoe.
At that hour, the park is filled with unusual folks (and their dogs): writers, a T.V. anchor, the manager of a rock band, a court reporter, a fountain pen collector, yoga instructors, and even a malaria expert. I spend about an hour in the park, and then go home. This sets the tone for my day – I start slow and try to keep my stress level low for the rest of the day.
Stress and Your Body
Stress causes many changes in the body. Remember the fight-or-flight response? When faced with a threat, either physical or mental, certain hormone levels in our body begin to climb. They allow us to tap into our energy stores of glucose and fat, so we can face the challenge head on, or run like the wind.
Stress Pushes Up Your Blood Glucose
If you have diabetes, stress can affect your blood glucose control. When stressed, some people don’t take good care of their diabetes. They don’t eat properly, exercise or even take their medicines. They may also do harmful things such as drink or binge eat. Even an upsetting event can cause blood glucose levels to jump. John shares this experience: “Last year, I opened my own business. While telling my current bosses that I was leaving the firm to start my own company, I began to sweat and feel sick. They weren’t taking it well. I was like a son to them and they took my leaving very personally. I assumed that my feelings were a reaction to the hostile environment in the room, but I checked my blood sugar anyway. I couldn’t believe it – I was at a whopping 537mg/dL! I have type 1 diabetes and an A1C* of 5.3 percent. My control is superb; I never go high. I searched for some water or something non- caloric to drink and gave myself some additional insulin. My blood glucose control returned to normal after a day or so.”
You may not be able to walk each day with a pampered pooch, but there are other ways to lower the stress in your life. Try the ideas listed here, or come up with some of your own. And, as Zoe suggests, remember to take time to sniff the roses.
7 Ways To Lower Stress
- Share things that frustrate you with a friend or counselor
- Schedule a massage
- Get enough rest
- Go for a walk
- See a movie
- Listen to music