Stressors are another gateway to diabetes and surely messing with our health! While there are those that are short lived and inevitable, there are many more that we face on a daily basis that go unidentified. It’s easy to put the blame for rising blood sugar levels only on hectic work life or big transitions or Demonetization, but what about the constant ones that eat into us on a daily basis! Unknowingly, we are so consumed in our daily stressors that when we face a tougher day we crumble under pressure.
To make you familiar with your hidden stressors and outdo them, here is an attempt to help us get smarter with our choices and deal with these uninvited guests tactfully!
To begin with this lets understand- what is Cortisol and how is it related to stress?
(check the end of the document for the info needed for the creative)
Stressor #1 – Being Healthy
In order to maintain the right lifestyle we land up stressing about our eating habits. How many calories? Is this the right amount? Is wheat healthy or not?
These questions do not help us manage our lifestyle but bring it down further with all the stress and guilt. Don’t worry, there is always a way out!
Being more aware before making the correct choices and sticking to it is the first step. Check out the food labels along with your list of ingredients to avoid (trans fats, processed, high sugars, etc) and pick the most apt one. If its keeping you in the pink of health then just stick to it and if not you do your trial and errors. It does no harm! Eventually it’s about you being healthy and stressing does not help. Try to adopt more of nuts, peanuts & dark chocolates (75% and above) that helps elevate your mood and has the power to lower stress hormones like cortisol which are otherwise abundantly found via processed foods responsible for inflammation and blood sugar imbalances.
At the same time, being too much of a control freak can backfire. You need not be paranoid about what to eat and how safe is it, you just need to be aware. If you feel like cheating, then give in sometimes. Being extremely vigilant and stressing over your cravings just leads to anxiety and sucking out the enjoyment out of food.
It’s always advisable to choose an active lifestyle and strive to remain healthy but moderation is key. Exercise that is too intensive could backfire. The body can take a certain amount of exertion beyond which it starts to break down. Many such indicators could be insomnia, brain fog, shifting focus and distraction, fatigue and many more. This leads to higher levels of stress, mood swings and a feeling of non-fulfillment. To cope up with such stressors you can re-work your regime. Follow something that’s milder, change the work out routine, spend lesser time on exercise or take a day off. This helps the body to rejuvenate and help stock up on the glycogen it has lost in the over the top work out regimes.
Caffeine is a personal favourite for most to get through a tough day. When there is a need to elevate energy levels and stay focused, a cup of coffee or tea is always the solution. It is true, it could help rejuvenate you but its easy for one cup to turn into two and then three and it goes on. When we cross the limit, comes along the adrenaline rush, high levels of anxiety, restlessness and eventually rising stress hormones like cortisol. The mind doesn’t remain focused anymore but starts wavering. This directly affects your sleeping patterns and heart rate. Caffeine is also a part of many medications, sodas and as an added flavour. Switch to decaf once you are exceeding the limit. Don’t stop, but make sure you are not overdoing caffeine as it can easily make you more sensitive to all the other stressors you face daily.
Stressor #3 – Noise Pollution
Living in a country like India will always subject you to a whole variety of noise, especially those coming from the daily soaring traffic levels. Besides you are always subjected to wedding processions, festivities, blaring loudspeakers and sometimes-shrieking infants in the bus. In fact as per the India’s Central Pollution Control Board many cities in India are breaching the noise pollution limits.
Such sounds also have a significant effect on your cortisol levels. It pumps up the stress hormones and brings about anxiety and irritation, as you sometimes have no control over the noise around you. Put on your earplugs and listen to more soothing music. Thicker curtains to your walls and carpets instead of wooden flooring or bare floor surfaces, which don’t absorb sounds and create echoes, are an option as well. Play music that relaxes you to block out the noise, this calms the mind and keeps you more focused at your work.
Stressor #4 – Commuting
You know that commuting can be a huge pain in the ass—but what does all that back and forth actually do to your body, besides put you in a crap mood when you get stuck in traffic for what feels like the nine-thousandth night in a row?
Commuting can definitely put you in tremendous stress causing blood sugars to rise, higher cholesterol levels, rise in depression risk, increase in anxiety, temporary blood pressure spikes, back aches and ofcourse the poor sleep suffers.
While there’s not much you can do to shorten or eliminate your commute, you can make the most of it by doing something like listening to an interesting audio book/your choice of music. If you feel like you’re always in a rush, it might be worth leaving well before rush hour—even if you arrive at work at the same time as you normally would, you’ll definitely feel less anxious on the drive over. As for back aches, there are always ways to straighten up your posture!
Stressor #5 – Too Much/Too Little Sleep
The best way to unwind is undoubtedly a good night’s sleep, not too much or not too little. Staying up till late and not getting enough sleep makes you groggy, pessimistic, subjected to mood swings and depressed. The brain does not shut down and is overworked. This interference with sleep resulting in improper functioning of the body elevates stress levels.
But what happens when you just can’t fall asleep? We start stressing over the fact that it’s way past midnight and there is no sign of sleep. This aggravates your stress hormones. Instead, lying down with the lights off, closing your eyes and letting yourself fall asleep naturally does more good than worrying about it.
Moreover, we tend to subject ourselves to some television, movies, surfing the net etc. to unwind and relax. But what you don’t know is that this is only raising your cortisol levels. A few hours before you fall asleep listen to soothing music or take a hot shower or meditate. If need be set a reminder for the same.
Do not stress over these stressors instead use these tips to keep you aware of the hidden sneaky ones. The ones stressed out are not always a prey to chronic illness or health issues. The best way to keeping the Cortisol levels not too low or not too high is when we identify our daily stressors in the rut, manage them with your quick hacks and keep our eating habits as clean as possible. We will always be encountered by stress, it’s impossible to always be in control of the situation, so ultimately it boils down to how you manage these stressors smartly and not let them get the better of you.
“Its not the load that breaks you down it’s the way you carry it.”
– Lou Holtz
Everyone is subjected to different set of stressors, so why not share it with us! Comment what stresses you out and we could tackle it with our quick hacks and for those with ready solutions to stressors we have missed out, please share it with us and make a difference.
Cortisol (stress hormone) is one of the steroid based hormones involved in regulating metabolism and released in response to stress.
BUT both our mental and physical stress along with our fast-paced lifestyle makes the body pump out cortisol around the clock leading to inevitable health hazards.