13 ways to better manage stress

Stress is our body’s natural response to threat and danger. When we experience an event we perceive as stressful, our fight or flight response is triggered and our adrenal glands produce cortisol, the stress hormone. This prepares the body for action. [1]

As it is a natural response, small amounts of stress can be beneficial; stress can help us stay focused and motivated. However, problems arise when we’re stressed for long periods of time (such as when a global pandemic breaks out!) Prolonged stress can wreak havoc on our blood sugars, lead to digestive problems and lower our immune system.

Here are 13 tips to better manage stress. Sit back, relax, and read on:

1. Reduce caffeine consumption – reducing the amount of caffeine you consume can help reduce stress as caffeine is a stimulant.

2. Practice mindfulness or breathing exercises – focusing on your breath and taking some time out can help to focus your mind and help you to become calmer.

Try this guided bodyscan from the comfort of your home:

Browse over 100 guided meditations in the Low Carb Program.

3. Focus on good nutrition – eating a variety of foods and focusing on eating a good quality diet is especially important to help to keep the immune system healthy.

4. Make a list – An ordered mind is a less stressful one. Write down everything you are worried or stressed about, as writing it down can often help to alleviate some of the stress and worry.

5. Exercise and yoga more – keeping the body moving, going for a walk or exercising at home can help in releasing those endorphins and taking the mind of why you might be stressed.

6. Talk about it – talk about how you feel! You might at first be worried about talking about how you feel but often people find that sharing their worries can help the weight to lift off.

7. Join a support network or stay connected – the Diabetes.co.uk Forum is home to hundreds of thousands of people. It is a hugely supportive network, and crucially, you can talk, share and socialise without the risk of spreading viruses! Self-isolating doesn’t mean you have to feel isolated.

8. Take breaks from the news, or social media – absorbing a constant flow of the latest news can be alarming and exhausting. Taking some time away from this might help to manage your stress levels and focus your mind on brighter things.

9. Take time to unwind – Dedicating time during the day to look after yourself isn’t a waste of time – it’s a necessity! Read a book, run a bath or simply just sit down.

10. Get a good night’s sleep – aim to get 8 hours of sleep a night as both your brain and your body need the rest.

11. Practice gratitude – each day think about 3 things you are grateful for that day. Doing this first thing in the morning or last thing at night can help to frame your mindset for the day ahead or before you go to sleep.

12. Host a virtual gathering – being creative with how you get together with friends and family can be challenging. Why not try hosting a virtual gathering such as an online quiz or simply just taking the opportunity to talk to each other and engage.

13. Get creative – whether it’s painting, colouring or card making, arts and crafts and being creative can allow you to be expressive with your emotions and might help in channelling your stress into creating something.

[1] Sapolsky, R. (2001). Why zebras don’t get ulcers. New York: W.H. Freeman.

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