Yes, your blood sugar can affect your mood. These affects can be short-term due to fluctuations in blood sugar itself, or long-term due to the strain of managing diabetes.
Blood sugar swings can cause rapid changes in a person’s mood. These could include confusion, anxiety, irritability, and having the jitters. When a person’s blood sugar returns to more normal ranges, these symptoms often go away. In fact, mood changes can be one of the first signs that blood sugar is too high (or too low.)
When someone is first diagnosed with diabetes, it is a life-changing event. It seems that everything you once did now has to be done differently. As a result, diabetics are more likely to experience feelings of anxiety and depression.
Depression is a serious mental health condition that can cause a person to feel hopeless about life, have low bouts of energy, and lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. These feelings can be especially impactful for a person with diabetes.
For example, individuals who struggle with depression often lack the motivation and energy to complete even the smallest task. These could include eating well, exercising, even taking medications. This may affect their ability to properly manage their blood sugar, and could have a dangerous effect on their health.
Nearly 50% of people with diabetes are thought to experience “diabetes distress” at some point during the management of their disease. Diabetes distress encompasses symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.
By establishing a routine of healthy habits, individuals with diabetes can reduce their distress and better manage their health.
Eat regularly to make sure that your body is getting the fuel it needs. For some, this means 3 larger meals and 2 snacks, for others it may mean eating every 2-3 hours. Find what works best for your blood sugar. Don’t skip meals. When you skip a meal, your blood sugar goes haywire. It can drop to unsafe levels; you will notice that you have less energy, and you may develop a headache, or stomachache.
On a side note, check out these 10 foods that make you happy… literally!
Exercise regularly. Start small and slow. Do not give yourself unrealistic, unattainable goals. For example, your first exercise goal could be to take two walks each week. You can choose the days, you can choose the times, and you can choose to walk alone or with company.
There are countless forms of exercise. If the treadmill isn’t your thing, don’t use the treadmill. Honestly! If you try to force yourself into a workout that you despise, you’ll never succeed long-term. Goals help you get excited about fitness, and you are more likely to achieve those goals when you have help. Choose a work out buddy. This should be someone who has similar goals, who you know is dependable. This person can be a motivator and accountability partner for you.
Taking medicines at the same time every day and regularly checking blood sugar to ensure the levels are within their ideal range, can help people regulate their blood sugar levels and their moods.
Stress has an incredible impact on diet and on diabetes. When you are stressed, you are more likely to make quick and easy food choices that may not be the healthiest. Or you may feel the need to eat for comfort… mashed potatoes or mac n’ cheese, anyone?
There are plenty of ways to keep your stress levels down, and your diet on track. Learn more about how stress affects blood sugar, and ways to reduce your stress levels here.
Don’t go it alone! Identify the supportive individuals in your life. Tell them about your goals and ask them to keep you accountable and motivated as you work toward those goals. This group could consist of family members, friends, coworkers, or online support circles. Talk with them about how you are managing your diabetes. Invite them into the kitchen to cook a healthy meal with you, or ask them to join you on a walk.
Blood sugar can affect your mood in the short-term and the long-term. The key is to make managing diabetes a top priority. Set goals for yourself and don’t lose sight of them. Find what works best for you and your blood sugar, and utilize the support of family and friends.