Holiday Stress and Diabetes

holiday stress

We are getting into the Home Stretch for the holidays.  I truly hope that you have completed all of your shopping and decorating by now so you can just sit back, relax and enjoy time with family and friends.

Not quite there?  Well, you aren’t alone.  And the stress will be building.  Maybe it’s the presents you still have to get.  Maybe it’s the press of family who have invited themselves over for the holidays.  Or, maybe you just want everything perfect for folks and that adds to your stress.

Stress and holidays seem to go together like…well, like peanut butter and chocolate.


So, the stress is increasing daily.  In fact, it’s going into over-drive sometimes.  That’s okay.  You are still getting plenty of rest, right?  Well, if you are like me before Diabetes, not so much.  Even now, I routinely only get about 6 hours of sleep – not enough – so this is a bit like the pot calling the kettle black.

Stress and lack of rest combine quite nicely to increase glucose levels.  It’s almost magical in how it works.  You know when you are tired, it’s a lot easier to feel the stress of getting everything done.  It’s magnified into a huge ball of stuff to get done and you don’t always know where you are going to start.

Start by getting just a bit more rest.  I’m not crazy here.  A bit more rest – like even an hour more of sleep can make all the difference in the world in how you look at things.  In fact, I am promising myself more sleep starting tonight.  I will let you know how that works.

The stress is the real killer though.  The stress is what can raise blood glucose levels.  How?  Because the body will release more sugar, energy, into your blood when you feel stress.  It’s the old ‘flight or fight’ response in action.  Your body is just getting prepared.  The trouble is if you have a problem getting the sugar out of your blood and back into cells, as every Diabetic does by definition, your blood sugar goes up and remains up.

So, are you seeing higher than normal glucose numbers when you test this time of the year?  If so you are seeing evidence of the stress.

But, there are a couple of things you can do:

  1. Get a little more rest.
  2. Exercise a bit more and exercise regularly. Remember, all I really do is walk 30 minutes a day.  You don’t have to spend an extra hour in the gym.  Heck, I don’t go to a gym.  I just walk. You see, exercise releases a neurotransmitter called endorphins.  These little friends are nature’s ‘feel good drug.’  They provide a sense of wellness well-being that other drugs just try to imitate.  With a bit more exercise, you can get a few of these little friends into your body and you will find you feel less stress.

And, a side benefit is that your blood glucose levels will remain stable, or even go down.  Does it get any better than that?  I had a bit of pasta and some raw vegetables for dinner two hours ago and I just took my glucose number – 102.  All I do is walk – that’s it right now. Who has time for more?

You can control your stress. You can successfully wage your War On Diabetes and win.

As always, thank you for reading.


I am not a doctor or health professional. I am just a guy who is working everyday to control Type 2 Diabetes. My goal is to offer hope, help and solutions for day-to-day living for the diabetic. The disease can be controlled. It can be managed. And, you can do it!

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Posted in Diabetes Control, Exercise & Diet
One comment on “Holiday Stress and Diabetes
  1. beetleypete says:

    Stress is much easier to control when you are not working Phil. Since I retired, my stress levels are at least halved, if not more. Unfortunately, most people have to carry on working, and trying to deal with the everyday stresses that puts on them. Your advice, as always, is very good, and I hope it is taken on board.
    Regards from England, Pete.

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