How to Lower Blood Sugar through Stress Management

Pregnancy is a wonderful time to focus on building stress reduction tools. Use the goal to lower your blood sugar as motivation to start life-long healthy habits for your mental and physical health. Get all the tools you need to star lowering your blood sugar and stress.
lower blood sugars though stress management in gestational diabetes. pictures shows a pregnant women in a pink shirt and grey pants sitting grass cross legged meditating.

How to Lower Blood Sugar Through Stress Management

Stress and anxiety are natural experiences that may come up in pregnancy. We constantly juggle appointments on top of busy lives while our bodies change more rapidly than we can mentally keep up.  Adding gestational diabetes to the mix can increase stress in an already busy life. This makes making a conscious effort to lower blood sugars through stress management vital.

In this blog, we’re diving into how stress affects blood sugars and how best to lower blood sugars through stress reduction in gestational diabetes.

Stress Impact on Blood Sugars

Remember, stress is our body’s alarm system, signaling that something requires attention. There’s no need for self-blame; stress is a natural response. 

Our adrenal glands make a stress hormone called cortisol during stressful situations that can increase blood sugar levels, decrease digestion, and increase insulin resistance. For example, being rudely woken up by an alarm or the anxiety of what your blood sugar reading may be can trigger this alarm.

Our bodies want to increase blood sugar when experiencing stress to help us escape the stressor. Unfortunately, for many of us, our modern stressors aren’t something we can run away from; they are in our faces and follow us.

You Can Lower Blood Sugar

Our body’s response to stress does not mean high blood sugars are inevitable if you have a stressful job, difficult life situations, a toddler at home, or just living. It means you must make time for self-care to help decrease your body’s natural response to stress. 

It’s important to track your stress levels and blood sugars daily to see if you spot a correlation. I have had patients’ blood sugars significantly improve after stopping work if their workload was too much.   It’s important to talk with your doctor about stress and practice daily gestational diabetes stress-reduction techniques.

Strategies for Stress Management and Lower Blood Sugar

A few simple techniques daily can significantly improve your body’s ability to cope with stress and help decrease the effects of stress on your body and lower blood sugar.

  1. Reframe mental chatter: Many of us can spiral into negative self-talk when stressors make their appearance. Try to reframe the situation into something positive, or if you can’t, list five things you are grateful for in your life to help you bring balance back to your mental health.
  2. Prioritize Sleep: Adequate sleep is vital. Anything under seven hours can elevate cortisol levels, trigger carb cravings, increase stress, and increase blood sugar. If you have a toddler at home, consider meeting with a sleep consultant to help build a good routine for the family.
  3. Create a Morning Ritual: Begin your day with a serene morning routine. This might encompass mindfulness meditation, journaling, or a brief walk. Carve out just five minutes for self-care before plunging into daily responsibilities. Check out UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center for help. 
  4. Limit Social Media: Refrain from ceaseless scrolling on social media platforms, which can amplify anxiety. Instead, employ your phone as a tool for stress reduction through mindfulness apps and other helpful resources. Try the CALM app by Jay Shetty for helpful stress reduction and calming tools. 
  5. Embrace Prenatal Yoga: Engage in daily prenatal yoga, even if it’s a simple routine. It can significantly reduce stress and promote physical and mental well-being. Check out free online prenatal yoga classes through the Prenatal Yoga Center.
  6. Seek Professional Guidance: If you struggle to manage stress, consider seeking support from a professional. Mindfulness meditation and breathwork exercises can prove especially helpful in stress management. You can find local therapists through your insurance provider, doctor’s office, Better Help, and through your employer’s benefits program.

Bottomline

Pregnancy is a wonderful time to focus on building stress reduction tools. Use the goal to lower your blood sugar as motivation to start life-long healthy habits for your mental and physical health. 

To get a complete holistic approach to gestational diabetes management and lowering your blood sugar. Check out the Mastering Gestational Diabetes Course.

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Ginger Cochran is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, functional medicine practitioner, Certified Diabetes Educator & Care Specialist, Certified Wellness Coach, Certified Exercise Physiologist, and owner of Nutritious Ginger, an integrative and functional nutrition practice focusing on full body self-care and nourishment. Ginger’s primary specialty is women’s health, with a special emphasis on gestational diabetes, weight management, infertility, digestive wellness, and overall health + happiness.
Ginger serves on the board of director for the Nutrition Care Manual by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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