Week 7: Defusing Your "Stress Bomb"

Updated:Feb 1,2013

Emotional Account Overdrawn!

I hate to admit it, but stress usually manages me better than I manage stress. I'm a fierce competitor. I've got to be faster, smarter and better — in everything. Second place? Forget it! Anything but first puts me in Stress City. Fortunately, I'm discovering again that regular physical activity really helps. When I don't exercise, my whole body feels like a spaceship loaded for liftoff.diabetes_tools_GoalsGuide_week7_image

Everything seems to go along pretty well for awhile, then something trips me up — like not getting my promised job promotion. But sometimes it's not even a big thing that sets me on edge. Even my girlfriend, Danielle, is adding to my stress. Now she wants to live with me. I don't need that kind of pressure right now. And when I hesitate, I get the old "fear of commitment" lecture and my stress soars.

The most recent thing I'm doing for myself is playing softball again. My buddy Jared is the catcher. He knows me pretty well, and wants me to get a physical just to be sure everything is OK. It's been too long, so I'll probably do it. Meanwhile, I'm going fishing — alone. Danielle doesn't like it, but I need some time to think.

-- Joe

Burned Out?
Have you ever felt like Joe when little things become magnified and you feel like you're carrying around the weight of the world? Doing too much in too little time or experiencing several stressful events close together can exhaust the body and mind. We all need time to recover from stress.

If you're in Joe's situation or even coming close, make a plan and do something to help get back on the path to health and wholeness.

First and foremost, keep moving. Regular physical activity helps burn off the "stress chemicals" that the body produces.
Fuel your body with nutritional foods, and drink plenty of water to fight fatigue.
Get plenty of sleep on a regular basis. If you're having trouble sleeping, make a conscious effort to get into a regular sleep routine.
Practice deep breathing and relaxation exercises to keep your body from living in a constant state of alert.
Take small stretching breaks throughout the day to lengthen and relax tense muscles.

De-stressing the stressed out

Now, it's your turn. In the left column below, create a list of things that are stressful now or have been stressful in the past. In the right column, list a few stress-management tools that you're willing to try this week. (Make sure that physical activity is one of them!)

Things that stress mePersonal stress management tools

Check Your Choices: Eating on the Run
Everyone eats fast food occasionally. But eating it several times a week is hazardous to your health and your waistline.

If you eat fast foods, remember that some are better than others. Counting calories is a great place to start. Also consider the fat, cholesterol and carbohydrate content in your choices, especially if you have diabetes. What you don't know can hurt you. Check out these comparisons and make informed choices.

Thirty minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise can burn about 200 calories; think about all your hard work next time someone asks if you want a larger portion size!

Tips for Eating on the Run
  • More restaurants are posting the nutrition content of their menu items in the store or online, so scan them before you make a hasty decision on an empty stomach.
  • Have a small grilled chicken patty or plain hamburger with veggies, skip the mayo and cheese, and ask for the whole grain bun, if available.
  • Side salads are often available as a replacement for combo meal French fries, but read the nutrition label on the dressing or ask for the light or fat-free version.
  • Choose grilled chicken over crispy, fried or breaded for sandwiches and salads.
  • Fried fish sandwiches are never a good choice.
  • Taco salads are a good option as long as you skip the cheese, ask for light or fat-free sour cream and don't eat the fried shell.
  • Pizza can be a less-guilty pleasure if you choose no cheese and only veggies for toppings.
  • Sandwich shops let you build your own creation — so choose small portions of lean, reduced or low sodium deli meats and load up on veggies. Skip the tuna salad, usually laden with mayo and can be one of the highest fat choices on the menu. Top it off with mustard, light mayo or oil and vinegar.
  • Sugar-free frozen yogurt and fruit cups are offered at many restaurants and can be an excellent way to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • Choose a low-calorie beverage, such as non-fat milk, sugar-free soda or water with your meal.

De-stressing the stressed out

Start Date _____________________

Steps For SuccessSMTWTFS
I shared my diabetes success story.       
I identified things that contribute to my stress level.       
I prepared a diabetes-friendly recipe.       
I chose a snack that was better for me.       
I met with my personal support team or buddy to help me stay accountable.       
(For persons with diabetes) I recorded my blood sugar.       
I was physically active this week. (Check days you were active.)       
Type of activities I did.
Brisk Walking Swimming Mowing Stretching exercises
Cycling Activity class Gardening Strength training exercises
Jogging Climbing stairs Cleaning Other _____________
I found support and motivation in the MyStart! Community.
Amount of time I was active. (Write minutes under day of the week.)       
Write your feelings about being physically active this week.

How did you feel about the food choices you made this week?

Write down the reward you chose for meeting your goals this week.


This content was last reviewed on 7/5/2012.


Reach Your Goals Guide