Tis the Season to De-Stress

December 5, 2013By 1 Comment

images13Do you ever have one of those dreams, where you just can’t seem to find the refrigerator, and when you finally do the orange juice bottle is empty?  In a panic, you transport yourself into another world, maybe the one where your ex always seems to pop up in or a past life of some sort…finally, the cold sweet taste of juice hits your lips as you wipe the beads of sweat off your forehead.  “Ba Ba Ba Ba, oooh!!!” Wait, crap, how did I sleep that long?  As my daughter babbles loudly on the monitor as if to say “Wake the hell up mom! Come get me!”, oh, and that dream about being low?  You are low idiot, drink some juice.

In the midst of all the holiday hustle and bustle, those of us with diabetes have a mound of other stresses to contend with.  Namely, dealing with blood sugar fluctuations as a direct result of stress, pressure and the surmounting walls closing in as the expectation of happy holiday cheer suffocates our normal daily routine.

Before I met my husband, I was a Scrooge to say the least.  I did not care to decorate and I would cringe as I walked into any store to just buy something as simple as tissues and have to search through isles of Christmas glitter to get to them.  I also despised holiday music, and in fact, the only song I would smile when I heard was River by Joni Mitchel because all I wanted was to skate the hell away from this obnoxious holiday filled with overly happy people.  Is anyone really that genuinely cheery??? Well, I soon learned…yes, people really are cheery and love every second of the music, lights, and festivities…enter my husband.

Because of the life I have been able to rebuild for myself, I am thankful to have met someone who has injected the meaning of Christmas back into my ice-cold veins.  I am lucky, and thankful and blessed everyday to have my wonderful little family to celebrate good tidings with.  However, let’s not deny what underlies every single holiday season: stress!

Fight-or-flight: Fight the long lines and huge crowds to get that important gift you’ve been searching high and low for, or get the hell out and pray to the cyber gods that you can find the same deal online.  Stress causes the body to think it is under attack, hormones surge.  According to the American Diabetes Association website, these hormones allow stored energy from fat and glucose to become available for the cells to use.  However, if there is not enough insulin to allow the cells to uptake this glucose, the end result is high blood sugars.  Also, if you are having periods of stress followed by a relaxing end of day routine, all the insulin you needed to bring down the high blood sugar from earlier in the day may now cause low blood sugars later on.  Hence the rollercoaster of blood sugars during stressful times.  For more information take a look at the entire section on stress here http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/stress.html.

There is long-term and short-term stress.  Much of it can both directly and indirectly affect our blood sugars.  If long-term stress from a job, or pressure from family members surmounts, it may lead you to over-eat, drink alcohol excessively, or let your exercise routine fade.  Also, if you are prone to anxiety or depression, this can cause those stress hormones to stick around as well.

What can we do?  I know for me, I have learned it’s a combination of working out, eating right, enjoying my wine in moderation, a good conversation with an old friend, a good therapist and a little anti-anxiety medication!  Now, everyone handles stress differently.  But for those of us with diabetes, it is important to take a step back and realize that the stress in our lives isn’t just effecting our sleep or our weight.  The long-term effect on our risk of complications can really start to take a toll.

I know I haven’t been writing as many blogs lately, I also know I haven’t taken a Yoga class in over a year and I would give anything to get to one today just to breath and stretch.  We know what we know.  We know what we do that is damaging to our bodies and we know how to fix it.  Don’t blame anyone else, or even that rosy cheeked Santa haunting you at the mall.  It’s not his fault!  Don’t be afraid to ask for help; and ladies, I am talking about the men in our lives…We all know they do not partake in any level on picking out the thoughtful gifts we get for others for Christmas, wrapping them or even shipping them.  So ask for HELP!  Stop taking it all on.

The next time you have a dream about having a low blood sugar somewhere in your old high school while hanging out with old friends; put on your CGMS, stop messing around and every time you hear ‘Deck the Halls’, check your blood sugar… so that should at least be 10 times a day, right?

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  1. Veronica says:

    Well said . Merry Christmas 🙂

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