What Everybody Ought to Know About Too Much Stress and Your Body

What is stress? Stress is the body’s reaction to harmful situations. When you feel threatened, a chemical reaction occurs in your body that allows you to act in a way to prevent injury, also known as the “fight-or-flight” or stress response. This can manifest as an increase in heart rate, quickened breath, muscle tightness, and rise in blood pressure. (WebMD)

Occasional stress is a part of everyone’s life. Working through and processing stressful events is key to keeping chronic stress at bay. (Healthline)

Some common effects of stress can manifest in different facets of your being. They can be physical, mental, behavioral, or mood based.

Physical symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Muscle tension/pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Change in sex drive
  • Upset stomach
  • Sleep problems
  • Low energy
  • Frequent colds/infections
  • Nervousness/shaking
  • Dry mouth/difficulty swallowing
  • Clenched jaw/grinding teeth

Symptoms that can impact your mood include:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation/focus
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Increased irritability/anger
  • Sadness/depression
  • Difficulty relaxing/quieting your mind
  • Low self-esteem

Behavioral symptoms include:

  • Overeating or undereating
  • Angry outbursts
  • Drug or alcohol misuse
  • Tobacco use
  • Social withdrawal
  • Exercising less often
  • Procrastination

Some cognitive symptoms include:

  • Constant worrying
  • Racing thoughts
  • Forgetfulness
  • Disorganization
  • Inability to focus
  • Poor judgement
  • Pessimism

The key to managing stress is also to find active management strategies. Inactive strategies such as watching tv or scrolling social media on your phone may seem relaxing at the time but can lead to more stress in the long term. (Mayo Clinic & WebMD)

Some stress management strategies:

  • Get regular physical activity
  • Practice relaxation techniques, like deep breathing exercises
  • Set aside time for hobbies
  • Keep a sense of humor
  • Spend time with family and friends
  • Take breaks from the news
  • Take breaks from your devices
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Talk to a professional, either your doctor or therapist/counselor
  • Meditation
  • Avoid excess substance use
  • Building community through faith-based organization and activities (MayoClinic & Healthline)

Consequences of ongoing, chronic stress can cause or exacerbate:

  • Mental health problems – depression, anxiety, etc
  • Cardiovascular disease – heart disease, hypertension, stroke, etc
  • Obesity and other eating disorders
  • Menstrual problems
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Skin and hair problems – acne, eczema, etc
  • Gastrointestinal problems – gastritis, irritable colon, etc

Too much stress on your body can cause some serious health issues. My sister would get so stressed out she would break out in acne for weeks. One time she was so stressed she gave herself an extra period. Imagine that, being so stressed about whatever it is and giving yourself an extra period in between periods. Three periods in a two month timeframe.

Stress management is so important. It affects your health, your quality of life and can make you so miserable that it causes more stress.

Finding healthy ways to manage and to cope will help lessen the amount of stress in your life. Finding the cause and dealing with it will also lessen the amount of stress in your life.

If you are expressing high amounts of stress and any symptoms listed above, please try to utilize some of the management strategies listed above. If you still feel high amounts of stress, please seek help from a medical professional, there may be underlying medical issues that may be causing your stress.


Mayo Clinic

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Ways to Manage Stress

Ways to Manage Stress

High amounts of prolonged stress can have serious effects on your health if its not dealt with effectively and the right away. Stress can come from either external elements or internal elements. Being sick can stress your body from the inside and dealing with people can cause stress from your environment.

In November 2020, I took a hypertension class which went over what hypertension is, what medications are available, and how stress can affect your blood pressure. They also taught us stress management and coping skills. Here is a list of ways that you can start trying out today.

  • Ask for help
  • Aromatherapy
  • Attend an event of interest
  • Add numbers
  • Aerobic exercises
  • Address the real issue
  • Breathe slowly
  • Baking
  • Basketball
  • Count to ten
  • Color in a picture
  • Call crisis line
  • Call a friend
  • Calming techniques
  • Deep breathing
  • Draw emotions/feelings
  • Dancing
  • Do push ups
  • Driving
  • Drink water
  • Eat a snack
  • Exercise
  • Escape the situation
  • Find a safe place
  • Finish house work
  • Fishing
  • Find a puzzle to play
  • Free write feelings
  • Fly a kite
  • Go to a happy place
  • Golf
  • Games
  • Go to a friends
  • Go outside
  • Go for a run
  • Go swimming
  • Go to the gym
  • Grow a garden
  • Get help from others
  • Help someone else with a problem
  • Hiking
  • Have a party
  • Hugs
  • Hang out with friends
  • Have someone listen to your problem
  • “I” statements
  • Identify triggers
  • Instagram pictures
  • Interact with others
  • Jog in place
  • Jumping jacks
  • Jump rope
  • Journaling
  • Kick a soccer ball
  • Knitting
  • Kickboxing
  • Kickball
  • Listen and discuss
  • Laugh
  • Long walks
  • Listen to music
  • Lay down
  • Lift weights
  • Letter writing
  • Look outside
  • Learn something new
  • Lay head down a desk
  • Make a plan
  • Make food
  • Make a craft
  • Meditate
  • Meet new people
  • Nap
  • Notes to self
  • Never give up
  • Obstacle course
  • Observe surroundings
  • Paint
  • Play an instrument
  • Prepare a healthy meal
  • Play music
  • Quilting
  • Read
  • Run
  • Ride a bike
  • Sleep
  • Swim
  • Soak in a tub
  • Sun bathe
  • Take a walk
  • Volunteer
  • Video games
  • Watch a movie
  • Write poetry
  • Workout
  • Write a letter
  • Yoga
  • Zumba
  • Zone out

Another thing you should look out for is moments of anxiety. Anxiety can cause stress on your body and mind so you must be able to recognize when you are having anxiety so you can tackle it quickly and safely. Here are some signs you are going through anxiety.

  • Memory issues
  • Avoidance
  • Panic attacks
  • Needing reassurance
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Insomnia
  • Overthinking
  • Sweating
  • Stomach issues
  • Lack of patience
  • Procrastination
  • Constant worrying
  • Headaches

I have seen what too much stress can do to your body. My sister got so stressed out that her body had another period two weeks after having her last period. This made her stress out more and she thought something was wrong with her. Ladies, can you imagine being so stressed out that you gave yourself another period? Recently, she got so stressed out again that she started showing symptoms of pregnancy, but after a visit to the doctor, the tests were negative and she was asked what was going on in her life and it turns out the stress of moving to another country far away from family, plus her husband being deployed only three months after moving to Germany, plus school and having to take care of two cats, one of which is having trouble adjusting to his new home, was the cause of her symptoms.

I’m so lucky that the only thing my stress has done to me is cause insomnia. I can’t even imagine what my sister is going through. I don’t want you to go through the same issues of stress so please try out these stress management and coping skills to help calm your body and mind.

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How to Make the Most of Your Mornings

As a diabetic, you may come across a few days where everything just isn’t going right. Maybe your fasting blood sugar is through the roof. Maybe your test strips aren’t cooperating and you need to take another drop. Maybe you forgot to take your insulin, AGAIN.

Sometimes you just need a little pick-me-up to start the day, but don’t let it be sugar. Instead, let’s try to start our day off on the right foot and make the most of our mornings. Some habits, tips, and advice you can utilize each night and every morning to make sure your day starts right are listed below.

1. Make sure you wake up early every morning.

If you start work at 8am and your commute is one hour, you’ll definitely want to wake up early. A 5am wake up can do wonders for your day. You’ll have enough time in the morning to get ready, eat a hardy and healthy breakfast, and make sure you’re ready for your day before you get to work.

Waking up later can cause unnecessary stress and you won’t be able to eat breakfast which will upset your entire day. Obviously, this means you should be going to sleep early the night before. Make sure you get 7 to 8 hours of sleep and you’ll be golden in the morning.

2. Smile as soon as you wake up.

Even if you’re not happy when you wake up, you have one good reason to smile. You woke up this morning! As a diabetic, we could risk low blood sugar in our sleep and a severe low can cause us to go into a diabetic coma, and you won’t be waking up from that for a while.

Starting your morning with a smile can instantly make you feel better and what’s better than starting your morning with positivity? Well lots of things, but that’s besides the point. The point is, you want to start your day off with positivity and a smile.

3. Drink a glass of water before you do anything.

Have you ever woken up in the morning thirstier than the Sahara? How long did you take to get some water? Was it even water or was it coffee, tea, etc? Hydration is that breath of fresh air in the morning that you didn’t even know you needed. Your body will thank you.

Put a glass of water close to your bed every night. Take the necessary precaution against creepy crawlies and any sudden movements while sleeping to ensure your water stays fresh and in your cup the next morning.

4. Have some quiet time while you’re getting ready.

When you wake up early enough in the morning, you’re able to start your day off right, have enough time to get ready without rushing, and feel all around less stressed. While you’re getting ready, give yourself some quiet time to enjoy your morning while you get ready.

Hopefully, you’re able to wake up and get ready without waking anyone else up. Peace and quiet before the hustle and bustle of the day will be very refreshing.

5. Make your bed and open your windows.

Fresh air and the morning light can make your mood instantly better and your room will look tidier. I don’t like to come home from a long day to a messy room. It makes me feel grumpy. Skip the grumpy and spend the time in the morning to make your bed. Even if your insides feel like a mess, accomplishing this one simple task can make you feel like even if the rest of your day is crappy you’ve achieved at least one thing today.

6. Put on some lively music to get your energy and mood up.

Now that you’re all ready for your day, you look wonderful by the way, now is the time to get your energy up for the rest of your morning. Make your favorite morning beverage to some upbeat music to get you going for your day.

Turn on your radio, bluetooth speaker, or just blast your phone and start making your cup of coffee or tea. My personal favorite is Today’s Hits radio on Pandora with a nice cup of green tea. Keep playing that music for the next few tips too.

7. Go over your schedule and To Do list for the day.

What do you have planned for the day? Does shopping need to be done? Is your shopping list complete? With your warm beverage in hand, now is the perfect time to make sure you know what’s going on today. Don’t forget work, the kids, school, classes, activities, shopping, and anything else you have jam-packed in to your day.

If you have to coordinate with someone else during the day, make sure you’re all on the same page for what’s going on. Get all the who’s, what’s, when’s, where’s, why’s, and how’s. Getting it done now, is better than doing it one hour before you’re supposed to meet up.

8. Make sure you get a healthy breakfast in.

If you’re not hungry, have a smoothie instead. Watch out for the carbs and sodium in the morning, you don’t want to have too much in your first meal of the day. Go for fruits, fiber, and proteins to make you feel fuller and to keep that feeling through the day.

9. Get dinner sorted in the morning.

Getting everything ready for dinner in the morning will help save you time at the end of the day. You’re probably going to be tired when you come home and you might want to take the easy way out and get take out. This can get costly and may be an unhealthier option.

Instead, get the meat out of the freezer and in to the fridge in the morning. Have some extra time? Get the spices and dry ingredients out on to the counter, cut your veggies and put them in a container in the fridge, get your recipe out and make sure you have everything. This will save you so much time later in the day. My husband and I talk about what we’re having for dinner at breakfast and then we get the ingredients ready. By 4pm, everything is ready to go we just need to cook it. No scrambling through what we have and thawing what we need to, it’s already done.

10. Do some morning meditation to center yourself before starting your day.

I put this one last because you can do this at any time of your morning. When you wake up, you can do this in bed. Have to use the bathroom? Do it on the toilet. I’m kidding, of course. Meditate after you get ready, before or after breakfast, or before you step out of your house. Literally any time of the morning is a good time to recenter yourself.

Hopefully these tips can help you make the most of your mornings. I’m trying to do these myself. I’ve found my hormones have been out of balance and I’m hoping that if I do these things, I can rebalance my hormones and that can help with my diabetes and weight loss. If these tips can help me, maybe they can help you too.

I’ll make another post about hormones and how having balance with your hormones can affect your diabetes, because remember, insulin is a hormone too!

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10 Healthy Habits to Improve Your Diabetic Life

You’ve either just been diagnosed with diabetes or you’ve had for a while now and sometimes the days feel gloomy. The constant blood sugar checks, glycemic index reviews, and insulin injections seem to drag you down. Here are some habit changes you can make that can help improve your life a little bit.

  1. Make sure you chew your food well. Instead of gobbling down your food, take your time to enjoy your food. You’ll taste your food more and you’ll likely eat less and feel fuller.
  2. Stock up on healthy food. Instead of snacking on processed foods full of sugars and unhealthy fats, stock up on dried fruits, seeds, and nuts. You’ll feel a lot fuller eating those than eating empty calories.
  3. Aim for 10k steps a day. This is the minimum recommended amount by fitness experts. Get up and move, walk in the park, and always take the stairs. Even if you’re stuck at home, get up during commercial breaks, walk up and down your stairs, or just do some laps around your kitchen. Get up and get active.
  4. Be active outside the gym. Going to the gym is a total plus for being active, just don’t let the gym be your own activity in the day. Did you know that some people will go to the gym for an hour then go to work where they sit at a desk the rest of the day? There are plenty of opportunities to be active throughout the day, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or spending half your lunch break eating and the other half going for a walk.
  5. Don’t eat until you are full. A healthy person’s stomach is about the size of a fist, whereas an unhealthy person’s is the size of a football. With a bigger stomach you may need to eat more and more to feel full and satisfied. I’m not saying skip a meal or two, instead don’t go back for seconds, eat smaller portions, or once you feel 80% full, stop eating and throw away or save the rest. Don’t force yourself.
  6. Halve your sugar intake. Sugar is in almost every processed food we eat. It’s so addictive that hardly anyone can completely cut out sugar from their diet cold turkey. So instead, wean yourself off the sugar by choosing less sugary options. If you have to choose between a sugary drink and water, choose water. Reduce the sugar you put in your tea and coffee. Don’t add sugar to your cereal and choose to snack on healthier options.
  7. Choose an enjoyable exercise. Choose a fun exercise like dancing or yoga. If it’s fun you’ll be more motivated to do it regularly. Plus, if you enjoy the exercise, you’ll also produce endorphins and feel really good. Bonus!
  8. Spend time in nature. Exposure to sunlight can increase your serotonin levels. Time in nature also helps to boost your mood. And while you’re outside, why not take some beautiful landscape photos to share with friends and family?
  9. Meditate. Meditation helps to reduce stress, anxiety, and health issues. It can come in the form of sitting quietly, yoga, prayer, or purposeful breathing. It can also help to regulate your heart rate.
  10. Learn something new. It can give you purpose and focus increasing your ability to cope with stress. Learn a new skill or language to make you valuable in the workplace or a new hobby to occupy your time, like knitting or scrapbooking.

Hopefully, these new habits can help you manage your life with diabetes. I am currently doing some of these right now. All the unhealthy snacks are gone, replaced by baby carrots and nuts. I’m walking the dogs down at the park every day for an hour as well as choosing to get off my butt when I’m at home. I’m also learning graphic design and Spanish. All while doing this blog. Busy but purposeful.

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