Take Care of Yourself
There’s no doubt that 2020 has been a tough year and as we head towards Christmas some people are also starting to feel the stress that inevitably comes with the festive season. This year, more than ever, it’s important to keep on top of your emotional health.
Feeling a range of highs and lows is not uncommon if you have diabetes. Your blood glucose impacts how you feel and can contribute to mood swings.
Low blood glucose levels may make you feel:
High blood glucose levels can make you feel
It is a good idea to test your levels to understand what’s happening in your body when you feel a certain way. You may find that if your blood glucose is high or low, then getting your level back into your target range instantly improves your mood.
Six happy tips
It’s unrealistic to suggest it’s possible to live a life without any worry or stress but there are few ways to boost your mood.
1. Exercise. Studies show that for treating mild to moderate depression, exercise can be as effective as talking therapy and medication. It promotes the release of feel-good chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin and helps you sleep better so you’ll feel more energised the next day.
2. Get outside. Just 30 minutes or more a week spent in nature can improve symptoms of depression, boost self-esteem and lower blood pressure. Natural light builds up your serotonin levels and just a few minutes in the sun will help maintain your vitamin D levels. Why not combine exercise and the outdoors for a double whammy?
3. Drink less alcohol. To de-stress, it’s a good idea to avoid alcohol altogether as alcohol dehydrates the body, stresses the liver and body, (making it work overtime), and can reduce sleep quality leaving you tired. It can also cause erratic blood glucose levels. But avoiding alcohol completely can be very difficult at this time of year. Pacing your drinks and alternating alcohol with water will help you stay hydrated and cope better. The liver prioritises the processing of alcohol over food so eating food before drinking will help your glucose levels.
4. Planning. Make sure you look after your diabetes by monitoring and managing your BGLs, taking required medications, eating well and getting regular exercise. Check your blood glucose regularly and watch for high and low readings. Record unusual readings to talk to your doctor or healthcare team if needed.
5. Fake it ‘til you make it. Research from the University of South Australia confirms the act of smiling can trick your mind into being more positive. Researchers asked participants to hold a pen between their teeth, forcing their facial muscles to replicate a smile. They found that forcefully practising a smile tricked the brain into seeing the world in a more positive way.
6. Seek help. There are many people who can help you stay on track with your diabetes management and your emotional wellbeing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your doctor, diabetes educator, family friends or support group. If you have diabetes you are entitled to five Medicare-subsidised visits a year to a specialist, such as a psychologist. Ask your doctor about a GP management plan so you can access these visits. We also have a couple of books in store that you may find useful. Mindfulness for health is a practical guide for relieving pain, reducing stress and restoring wellbeing and Dealing with Diabetes Burnout is a fun and encouraging guide to managing diabetes that emphasises balance over perfection.
For more support call 1800 637 700 to talk to a diabetes health professional. Or call Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 for emotional support.