Given the spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in India caused by the latest spread of the omicron variant, it is normal for us to feel attacked by stress.
Omicron has disproportionately affected people with diabetes, who are at increased risk of severe COVID-19.
Thereby, resulting in increased levels of stress and anxiety. Over the last two years amidst the pandemic, people have been adjusting to the new normal while constantly stressing over the uncertainty lying ahead. However, as we know, stress affects our health in a negative way.
People with diabetes, in particular, need to avoid stress as much as possible, or you may even lose the ability to control the disease. Having to deal with stress can make you skip meals or forget to take your medication, which can cause your sugar levels to rise.
However, there is no way to completely remove stress from your life. Your best way out is stress management, learning which can also help you in keeping your glucose levels in check.
You can start with some basic stress management techniques, which include:
• Know your Condition and find Support
The period right after getting diagnosed with diabetes can be stressful for many, as you may not have enough information about the condition. Educate yourself about your condition by meeting a certified diabetologist and getting the latest information, and having it applied on the individual level. Keep a regular check on your blood glucose level through digital devices like BeatO Curv Glucometer, Abbott FreeStyle Libre that can help you record and maintain the readings. Or consider joining a diabetes support group, as knowing other people’s experiences with diabetes can also guide you with your own.
• Eat Right, and Do not Skip Your Medications
As a diabetic, you should know how eating right and taking your medications on time is crucial for the effective management of your condition. Although it feels like a lot initially, as soon as you get the hang of it, you will save a lot of time and lower stress. In addition to maintaining a healthy diet and taking your medicines on time, make sure to keep your blood sugar levels in check by regularly monitoring them with the help of a home glucometer.
• Practice Meditation And Mindfulness
Regular meditation and practicing mindfulness are considered fool-proof ways to reduce stress, as both have been scientifically proven to work. Practicing both can effectively lower cortisol levels, stress, as well as blood sugar levels in the body. For better results, you can also consider joining meditation and mindfulness groups, downloading apps or watching videos of guided meditation and mindfulness sessions.
• Exercise to Lower Stress
Who does not know about the hyper effectiveness of physical exercise in reducing stress? Staying active through various physical activities gives you a feeling of well-being and allows you to relieve symptoms of stress. You can choose any kind of exercise you like to relieve your stress. Be it a hard physical exercise to blow off your steam, a recharging hike, or a relaxing activity like yoga or tai-chi, each of these exercises can help you deal with your stress and make you feel better.
• Find a Productive Hobby
Sit back and figure out one activity that would like to do without feeling stressed. It can be anything from hardcore exercising to painting or cooking. All that matters is that it has a calming impact on your mind and does not feel like a chore. Being able to find a hobby and making time for it can help you unwind.
• Get Professional Assistance
If you are so stressed, to the point of feeling depressed, it is time you get the assistance of your primary care physician or endocrinologist. Conditions associated with stress like anxiety and depression can be managed with treatment, all you need to do is ask for help. Especially, endocrinologists often work closely with mental health professionals, hence consulting with one can help you cope with excessive stress.
While it is not uncommon to have some amount of stress in our life, we should work towards not letting it get in the way of our physical and mental well-being. Diabetics, in particular, need to have better control over their bodies and mind to keep their blood sugar levels in control. Hence, stress management should be treated as an essential part of your daily routine.
(By Shivangi Singh, BeatO App, Diabetes Care Coach)