Woman with diabetes practicing stress management

Diabetes and Stress Management: Supporting Physical and Emotional Wellness

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Everyone experiences stress. Whether it’s caused by work, personal relationships, financial pressures, parenting, or just day-to-day challenges, stress can affect anyone. But for those living with diabetes, stress management is more than just finding ways to calm the mind—it’s also about reducing stress to support healthy blood glucose levels. In this article, we’ll discuss how stress affects diabetes and provide our top five tips for diabetes and stress management.

How Stress Affects Diabetes Management

Stress is normal. In fact, your body is designed to experience and react to stress.

When you encounter stressors, your adrenal glands produce and release stress hormones, including cortisol. While these hormones are a vital part of your body’s survival mechanism because they allow you to react quickly to danger, they can also cause your blood glucose to rise and fall unpredictably and make managing diabetes more difficult.

The link between psychological stress and diabetes outcomes is evident in numerous cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Researchers have found that emotional distress in people with diabetes is associated with poor glycemic control, poor self-care, and adverse diabetes outcomes. A study conducted in Malaysia found that anxiety and stress have significant associations with higher HbA1c levels (>8.5%).

This is not to say that if you have diabetes and are experiencing stress, you’ll be unable to effectively manage your diabetes. It just means it’s important to recognize when you’re stressed, understand the impact of stress on your blood glucose levels, and develop strategies to reduce your stress.

Diabetes and Stress Management: Top Tips

People living with diabetes face the same stressors as people without diabetes, but because of their diabetes, stress can introduce additional challenges and concerns. When you’re stressed—whether you’re living with diabetes or not—you may occasionally skip or forget meals, eat too much or too little, or avoid exercise. For people living with diabetes, these reactions to stress can increase the challenge of effective blood glucose management. Additionally, stress can directly affect blood glucose levels.

But fear not—there are many healthy ways to reduce stress and support better health. Here are our top tips for diabetes and stress management:

Educate Yourself About Diabetes

A common source of stress and anxiety among people living with diabetes is the feeling that they don’t know enough about their diabetes. By educating yourself about diabetes, you may be able to reduce stress and become more confident in your ability to manage your health.

Start by talking with your healthcare team, who can provide you with personalized guidance. You may also consider the following:

  • Meeting with a certified diabetes care education specialist (CDCES)
  • Joining a diabetes support group
  • Taking advantage of online resources, such as those from the American Diabetes Association

No matter which route you choose, it’s important to understand that you’re not alone on this journey. Plenty of resources are available to help you learn how to best manage your diabetes.

Incorporate Exercise

Exercise is one of the most powerful tools in your diabetes management toolbox. Regular physical activity can not only reduce stress but may also help promote weight loss and improve insulin resistance and glycemic control.

Practice Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is a type of meditation in which you focus on being fully present and aware of sensations and feelings without judgment. Mindfulness meditation is known to improve glycemic control and enhance quality of life in people with type 2 diabetes. More recent studies suggest that it provides similar benefits to those living with type 1 diabetes.

Talk to Someone

It’s never a good idea to keep your emotions bottled up. If you’re having a difficult time coping with stress, it’s important to find support. Confide in those you trust, such as friends and family. If you aren’t comfortable discussing your stressors with friends and family or need additional support, consider talking with a counselor or therapist. A mental health professional can help you gain deeper insight and develop effective coping mechanisms.

Simplify Diabetes Management

Even if you’ve been living with and managing diabetes for most of your life, it can sometimes feel like there are a million things to keep track of. Regularly checking your blood glucose is one of the most important aspects of diabetes management, but sometimes it can feel like the most cumbersome, particularly if you need to check it frequently.

Monitoring blood glucose levels and keeping track of changes provides you and your healthcare team important insight into how well your treatment plan is working and whether any adjustments are needed. Significantly, routine monitoring can also help you better understand how stress, diet, and exercise affect your glucose control and allow you to respond quickly to blood glucose changes.

In the past, checking your glucose levels meant getting out your test strips and lancets, loading them into a meter, manually lancing and collecting blood, and finding a safe place to dispose of the lancet and strip. But thanks to advances in diabetes technology, checking your blood glucose doesn’t have to be a hassle. With an automatic blood glucose monitor (ABGM), for example, you can easily and discreetly check anywhere, anytime you choose at the press of a button.


Blood Glucose Monitoring Made Simple

A blood glucose monitor should simplify diabetes and stress management. An ABGM, such as POGO Automatic®, is designed to do just that.

POGO Automatic removes barriers to routine monitoring by offering a simple, fast, and accurate way to check your blood glucose. You simply load a 10-test cartridge into the monitor—there’s nothing else to carry with you. To check your blood glucose, turn the monitor on and place your finger on the test port, and the monitor will automatically lance, collect blood, and give you accurate results within seconds. When the test is complete, POGO Automatic retracts the lancet and test strip and loads new ones for the next time you check your glucose.

Stress can complicate diabetes management. Understanding how to manage your stress, building a support system, and finding new tools that make your day-to-day diabetes management easier can bring simplicity to your routine.

Ready to Have Freedom at Your Fingertip?

POGO Automatic is the only FDA-cleared blood glucose monitor that lances and collects blood automatically, in one simple step, with its 10-test cartridge technology, eliminating the need to carry separate lancets and test strips. Reach out today to learn more about how you can check your blood glucose without interrupting your day.

 Jaclyn Owens, product director specializing in diabetes management tools

Jaclyn Owens

Jaclyn Owens is a product director specializing in diabetes management tools. She is committed to using technology to empower people with diabetes and help them take control of their health.

All content on this website is for educational purposes only and does not replace the guidance of your healthcare practitioner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new healthcare regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.