Many people experience feelings of stress at one time or another. If you’re managing diabetes, that can add even more stress to your life, including dealing with medication, supplies, and following nutrition guidelines. Unfortunately, the added physical and emotional stress can raise blood sugar levels. When stressed, your insulin levels fall, glucagon and epinephrine (adrenaline) levels rise, and more glucose is available in the bloodstream. So it’s a good idea to speak with your health care provider
and check your blood sugar more often.

Stress can also affect your blood sugar levels indirectly. When you're feeling anxious, you may:

  • Exercise too much, too little, or not at all
  • Eat too much or not enough
  • Choose foods that cause blood sugar spikes

Ways to Reduce Stress

The good news is, simple relaxation exercises and other stress management techniques can help you gain more control over your blood sugar. Figuring out and addressing the source of your stress is a great first step. Speak to a health professional to help you navigate an issue related to your diabetes or health. If stress is related to food or meal prep, get support at home or assistance with food shopping or delivery. Physical activity can be another stress reliever. Here are a few more:

Deep-breathing exercises

Have you tried deep breathing? It’s easy and fun. Box, square, or four-square breathing may be a great stress reliever. Sit on the floor or in a comfortable chair with your feet on the ground. Exhale. Slowly inhale through your nose to the count of four. Hold your breath to the count of four. Exhale through your mouth to the count of four. Repeat.

Listen to music

Music can be a mood booster. Create a playlist or find a station that makes you smile, or turn on some dance music and get your groove on.


You’ve probably heard it before: Laughter is the best medicine. Well, when it comes to stress it’s no joke. So, watch or listen to
your favorite comedian. Find a humorous podcast, blog, or radio program. Or, watch a funny movie. Laughter can boost mood
and positivity.


Another way to reduce the effects of stress on your blood sugar level—and your health in general—is to consciously insert little pockets of rest time into your life.

Most importantly, know that you’re not alone. There are people and resources available to help you manage your diabetes and stress.