Each person deals with stress in his or her own way. We usually behave in ways that are familiar to us. Some of these strategies work; others leave us feeling tense, tired, angry, or sick. Some strategies, such as smoking, drinking too much, and drug abuse, cause other problems. Other techniques and ways of dealing with stress can help us feel more in control, relaxed, and less tense after a stressful event.
Tips for Managing Stress
- Find someone to talk to and who will listen when something is bothering you.
- Join a support group. Your diabetes educator may be able to recommend a group in your area.
- Form a discussion or networking group on any topic or activity that interests you.
- Take up a new hobby or sport, learn a musical instrument, or join a dance class.
- Get moving—join a health club, sign up for an aerobics class, or just take a walk every day.
- Engage in volunteer work.
- Sign up for a class that interests you.
- Think of something you can do that relaxes you and do it—read a book, take a bubble bath, get a massage, or watch a movie.
- Spend time with friends or alone, whichever will replenish you more.
- Pray or meditate. Some church groups offer support for people with diabetes.
- Do a relaxation exercise.
- Take a vacation or even a night away.
- Get a babysitter to give you some extra time alone or with your spouse.
Recognize that everyone has choices in life and that you make your own choices. Pace yourself. Make it a point to identify and anticipate stresses, and create ways to deal with them ahead of time. You may not be able to control traffic jams, an angry boss, or a crying baby, but you do have some control over the way you react to these situations.
Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique that can help relieve stress. The sequence of inhaling, exhaling, and relaxing specific muscles can “take you away” from your current situation. Try it the next time you feel tense.