Impact of Rising Insulin Costs

The National Institute of Medicine highlights that due to escalating insulin prices, one in four people under 65 are rationing their insulin. Known as “liquid gold” in the diabetes community, the cost of insulin causes significant stress, affecting their well-being month after month. As a Certified Peer Counselor, I’ve heard from many who can’t afford their insulin, risking severe health issues like Diabetic Ketoacidosis because of U.S. pricing. Stress management is critical, especially in April, which is Stress Awareness Month. We aim to highlight ways to help reduce stress when managing diabetes feels overwhelming.

The Importance of Reducing Stress

Stress triggers the release of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which increase breathing and heart rate. Prolonged stress keeps these levels high, leading to potential long-term health issues such as high blood pressure and inflammation. Engaging in advocacy, like the #insulin4all campaigns, can also provide a sense of belonging and purpose, which may reduce stress.

Daily Strategies to Alleviate Stress

Incorporating physical activity into your daily routine is highly beneficial for managing stress. Exercise helps regulate the nervous system and releases endorphins, promoting calmness and focus. Whether it’s yoga, weightlifting, or a simple walk with your dog, physical activity helps you stay present and reduces future worries. If possible, exercising in nature can enhance these benefits even further.

Simple Mindfulness Exercises

For those unable to take time out for nature walks, a quick mindfulness exercise can be effective. Using noise-canceling headphones, spend five minutes focusing on your breath—inhale for five seconds, hold, and exhale for five seconds. This simple practice can help calm and stabilize your mood during stressful times.

Regular Meditation and Relaxing Hobbies

Committing to regular meditation or yoga can profoundly impact stress levels by lowering cortisol. Engaging in low-impact hobbies like reading, gardening, cooking, or knitting can also calm the nervous system. If you find that doing activities by yourself is not doing much to improve your stress, it might be time to talk to someone. You can start by talking with a friend or family member. This gives you the added benefit of checking in with that close person to see how they’re doing as well. Often people who seem the most pulled together are actually struggling the hardest so it can be nice to have someone check in for no reason, especially if they are looking for an outlet to talk about the grief or sadness that we can’t find words for. Hearing that others are struggling can help if we’re dealing with feelings of isolation or loneliness. Talking to a friend can also provide you with someone who can take you on outings when you feel too stressed to plan days of self-care.  

Managing Screen Time and Daily Tasks

 Studies show that we spend a large amount of time on screens which can negatively impact our mental health. While some of that time is necessary for school or work, the National Institute of Health recommends limiting recreational screen time to two hours. Often times when we have a lot in front of us that needs to be done, our daily tasks seem endless. Studies show that making a list, then crossing things off when you finish, helps you feel more organized and gives you a sense of accomplishment when you finish each task. Make a to-do list and enjoy the satisfaction you’ll feel as you cross off each item. 

Easing the Burden of Medical Management

For me, obtaining all my meds and diabetes supplies used to be a huge stress point in my life. As someone with diabetes, epilepsy, gastroparesis and CKD, I have a lot of meds to keep track of and pick up. Finding a service that is affordable and can deliver meds on time helps remove that piece of stress. It especially hurts my heart every month when I’m reminded I’m funding the very companies that are holding the lives of me and my fellow people with diabetes hostage. For now, one of the best ways I can avoid the stress associated with picking up my meds is by doing it through a company like Canadian Insulin, where I can feel good about supporting. If all else fails, spending time with an animal or volunteering at an animal shelter is a great way to boost serotonin levels and decrease stress hormones. Nothing is quite as calming as a kiss from a four-legged friend 


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This guest post is by Erin M. Akers, founder of Diabulimia Helpline. Erin is a dedicated Certified Peer Counselor who has been working for mental health within the diabetes community for 15 years. Erin empowers individuals to navigate a journey towards a life full of hope. You can connect with her on Instagram via @t1doubleampersand.