BREATHE to Deal with Stress 

BREATHE to Deal with Stress 


Feeling stressed these days? It’s hard not to if you are always worried about managing your diabetes. You have to remember to take your insulin and your medicines at the right times. You need to check your glucose regularly and think about losing weight. You’ve got to keep your cholesterol in the right range. And on top of all that, you have to quit smoking if you do smoke. It’s enough to make even the calmest person feel stressed.

Stress makes it hard for you to manage your diabetes. It also does real harm to your body. Feeling stressed all the time is called “chronic stress.” Chronic stress has been shown to raise blood pressure and increase your risk of heart disease. It also prevents your immune system from fighting disease, and can lead to depression.

We all wish that stress would just go away. But for most of us, stress is here to stay. Like diabetes, stress is something you can learn to manage. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help deal with your daily stress and reduce how it affects your body. Remember to BREATHE and read on to find some tips to help manage your stress.

  1. 1.         B Be prepared. Do you often feel stressed because you have to take care of too many things at once? Does it feels like the week just flies by? Sure, you may just be having a busy week. But if this is the way your life is every day of the year, then planning ahead may help. Take 5 minutes at the start of each day to make a list and plan for your day. Most people get that 5 minutes time back at the end of the day and feel less stressed overall.


  1. 2.         R Relax. Easier said than done, right? The key to relaxing is to make it a priority, like the other things on your list. Don’t know how to relax? Find a method that works well for you and take 15 minutes each day to do it. Studies have shown that just sitting for 10 – 20 minutes a day and focusing on saying a single word over and over can help you lower your blood pressure. Sounds silly? Try it out for a week. You may find that at the end of the week, your body is having an easier time relaxing and you’re looking forward to those 15 minutes of peace.


  1. 3.         E Exercise. When you’re busy, taking time to do exercise often drops to the bottom of your list of to-dos. But exercise is a sure-fire way to help you handle stress and reduce the bad effects that stress has on your body. In fact, moderate exercise makes your brain release feel-good chemicals called “endorphins” that help you relax. It also takes your mind off your problems and gives you a chance to think of ways to solve them.


  1. 4.         A Ask for help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask the people around you to help. Don’t try to do it all on your own. Nervous about giving yourself your insulin shot? Ask your spouse to help if he or she is able. True friends and family are there to support you when you need it. If you’re worried you’re asking too much from them, make sure they know how much their help means to you, and try to return the favor when they need help.


  1. 5.         T Talk to someone. People are social. It makes us feel good to reach out to others and when our friends, family, and peers understand us. When you talk to people about your stress, you may find others who have tips and advice to share.


  1. 6.         H Halt. You have to stop at some point, so why not now? If you’re feeling overwhelmed and things are too much for you to handle, just stop and walk away. Sometimes the best way of dealing with stress is to remove yourself. Go back to whatever was causing you stress after you’ve had a chance to relax or had a good night’s sleep.


  1. 7.         E Eat well. If you don’t take care of your body, the effects of stress multiply and you might feel even worse. Make sure you eat plenty of healthy foods to keep your body working well, and get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. Think of your body as a battery. If you keep it charged when your stress levels are low, then you’ve got more energy for when they’re high.
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Constance Brown-Riggs, MSEd, RD, CDE, CDN—an award-winning RD, certified diabetes educator, and past national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is the author of The African American Guide to Living Well With Diabetes, which received the Favorably Reviewed designation from the American Association of Diabetes Educators, and Eating Soulfully and Healthfully with Diabetes.

Dr. Lori Shemek, PhD, CNC, CLC, the best-selling author of “Fire-Up Your Fat Burn! and leading health and weight loss expert, is also known as “The Inflammation Terminator.” She has made it her mission to educate the public on the toxic effects of certain foods and lifestyle choices and how they create inflammation in the body. She is a leading authority on inflammation and its role in weight loss, preventing disease and optimizing health.

Rebecca Bitzer – MS, RD/LD, CEDRD is an award-winning Registered Dietitian, writer, speaker, blogger, and REBEL Dietitian business owner. Rebecca and her team of six Registered Dietitians have counseled thousands of clients struggling with diabetes for over twenty-five years. They work closely with each other along with internists, endocrinologists, therapists, and families.

Maureen Sullivan – RN, CDE has worked for many years as a Registered Nurse, most of them in emergency and trauma services. She is a Certified Emergency Nurse, Certified Diabetes Educator, and the former manager of a hospital stroke program. Maureen’s wealth of knowledge, passion for nursing and education, and ability to engage people makes her an excellent teacher and a captivating lecturer. Recently, Maureen has been concentrating on writing, speaking and teaching, as well as working on her award-winning weekly podcast, “The Health and Humor Show.”

Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN is a nutrition communications specialist, registered dietitian in private practice, social media consultant, speaker, spokesperson and corporate consultant. She is currently the owner of Nutrition Starring YOU, LLC and Lauren strongly believes that we should “Think Healthy, not Skinny”, and “EveryBODY is unique, your diet should be too”. Lauren was co-host of the Family Food Experts Kitchen radio show, available for listening on iHeart Radio and iTunes. Also known as one of the “NutritionBabes”, Lauren co-founded, a popular Health and Wellness website in 2009. was voted one of Healthline’s Top 100 Health Blogs in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Mark Heyman, PhD, CDE is a clinical health psychologist and the director of the Center for Diabetes and Mental Health (CDMH). In addition to treating patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, Dr. Heyman provides training for health care providers on how to identify and address the emotional and behavioral aspects of diabetes in their patients. He also works with pharmaceutical and medical device companies to help them understand these issues and incorporate this information into their sales, marketing, and patient education materials. He is particularly interested in empirically supported behavioral interventions that promote behavior change and improve physical and mental health in people with diabetes.

Katie Ferraro, MPH, RD, CDE is a nationally-recognized registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and author with an expertise in nutrition communications and curriculum development. She is the co-author of “Diet Therapy in Advanced Practice Nursing” (McGraw Hill, 2014) and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Nutrition at the University of California San Francisco and University of San Diego’s graduate schools of nursing.

Dr. Beverly S. Adler, PhD, CDE (aka “Dr. Bev”) is a clinical psychologist and certified diabetes educator, author and speaker. She specializes treating the emotional issues of people with diabetes. In her private practice, she provides individual, family and/or group therapy utilizing a cognitive behavior therapy orientation, combined with a spiritual approach. Her goal is to empower her patients to manage their diabetes.

Dr. Bev is the author of two self-help diabetes books. She has written numerous articles which are published in print and online – always focused on diabetes from the emotional perspective. She also speaks to audiences of people living with diabetes, as well as, to audiences of healthcare professionals and diabetes educators. Dr. Bev, herself, has been living successfully with type 1 diabetes for 40+ years.

In August 2016, Dr. Bev was honored to receive the “CDE Entrepreneur of the Year” Award from her Metropolitan NY Association of Diabetes Educators.

Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND is an internationally recognized nutrition and diabetes expert with more than two decades experience. Through writing, speaking and one-on-one coaching, Jill empowers people to grab control of their health. She has worked as both a nutrition counselor and a diabetes educator in the hospital and research settings, and now in private practice in Newport News, VA. Jill is known for her practical approach and caring attitude. Her no-nonsense strategies to eating well include foods that both taste good and are good for you.

Marlene Koch (pronounced ‘cook’) is a nationally recognized nutritionist, popular TV personality and New York Times bestselling author. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science. She is a registered dietitian and one of a select group of dietitians to hold an advanced certificate in Child and Adolescent Weight Management from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.

Marlene has taught professional chefs from the American Culinary Federation the principles of healthy cooking and eating. She has been adjunct Nutrition professor and cooking instructor for Columbus State College and the Columbus State Culinary Academy, and she is a nationally recognized expert in weight loss, diabetes, child and adolescent nutrition, and sugar substitutes.

Marlene has sold over one million cookbooks, and is a regular guest on QVC.

Barbara Ruhs – MS, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Neighborhood Nutrition LLC, a consulting firm focused on providing solutions to help food companies and supermarkets improve consumer health & wellness. She’s a former supermarket dietitian and has run a successful business for 17 years. A leader in the field of nutrition, her mission is to help people by impacting the way food is produced, marketed and sold. She’s a strong advocate for supermarket dietitians and believes the retail food industry has the greatest potential to impact public health.

Cheryl Orlansky has over 25 years of experience in health promotion and chronic disease prevention and management. Her first career as a registered dental hygienist led her towards a path of wellness and nutrition! Her expertise is in diabetes, weight management and cardiovascular disease for individuals and groups. She works in a large private practice including endocrinology, internal medicine, rheumatology, neurology and sleep medicine. She is an award winning dietitian with current leadership positions in state and local dietetics organizations.

She has been interviewed and quoted in media outlets for WebMD, Atlanta Sports and Fitness, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. She has partnered with V-103 Radio to lead supermarket tours as part of a community outreach during National Nutrition Month.

Cheryl helps her clients reach balance through lifestyle choices: cooking and eating, activity and purpose in life.

Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and classically-trained chef. With a passion for helping people (including her father) with diabetes, she’s author of The With or Without Meat Cookbook: The Flexible Approach to Flavorful Diabetes Cooking and the award-winning The All‐Natural Diabetes Cookbook, both published by the American Diabetes Association. Jackie is also author of 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes and Big Green Cookbook. Her next book, The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook—2nd Edition, was published in 2015.

Nutritionist Rania Batayneh, MPH is the author of the best-selling book, The One One One Diet. She holds a master’s degree in public health nutrition from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and is also a Wellcoaches Certified Health and Wellness Coach endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

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