The Diabetes Balancing Act

Life gets busy. As you try to meet all the demands life throws at you, it’s easy for diabetes management get lost in the shuffle. Despite your best intentions, sometimes important things like healthy eating, exercise and testing fall to the bottom of your to-do list.

25 October 2021

When life feels a bit like a balancing act, how do you handle everything on your plate — and still manage your diabetes effectively?

You’re probably thinking, “I don’t have the time! I’m so busy.”

First, remember that diabetes management must be a priority. Taking care of yourself impacts your ability to take care of your other responsibilities. Second, there are plenty of great tips to help you incorporate diabetes management into a busy lifestyle.

Meals and Snacks

When you’re busy, it’s easy to grab the most convenient foods instead of making healthy choices that help you manage your diabetes. Finding time to shop and cook can be difficult. How do you overcome that lack of time? Here are a few tips that can help:

  • Consider grocery delivery to save time. If that’s not available to you, ask a friend or relative to help with your shopping.
  • Do some meal prepping. On days off, prepare some extra meals you can grab during the coming week.
  • Limit shopping trips. If you are doing the shopping yourself, make a list and plan one big trip instead of multiple smaller trips. This saves a lot of time wasted on long check-out lines and additional travel.
  • Prep veggies early. Divide up veggies and fruits into smaller portions so they’re ready for you to cook — saving time later when it’s time to snack or prepare a meal.


If you’re crunched on time, it may feel like you just can’t cram in any physical activity. But being active is just as important as healthy eating when you’re working to manage diabetes. Here are a few easy ways to slip in more exercise, even if you’re busy.

  • Do 10 minutes at a time. Instead of giving up because you can’t find 30 free minutes for a big exercise session, start taking just 10 minutes here and there. Take a 10-minute walk on your lunch break. Get 10 minutes of exercise after dinner. Slip in 10 minutes of activity while you’re watching TV.
  • Find ways to be more active throughout your day, even if it’s not planned exercise. Park a bit farther away from the store. Take the stairs. Get up and walk around every 30 minutes while you’re working.
  • Pick exercise options you love. If you hate running, you’re not going to make time in your busy schedule to do it. Choose something you enjoy and you’ll be more motivated to fit it into your schedule.


Remember, even moderate increases in activity can have a positive impact on blood sugar levels and help you manage your diabetes more effectively.

Testing and Medication

It’s easiest to forget things such as testing or taking medications when you’re at your busiest. Use these tips to stay on track, no matter how busy you get.

  • Set times for meals, testing and taking medicines. Having a schedule can help you stay on track all day.
  • Try setting alarms or reminders for blood sugar monitoring, taking medicine or even eating a snack to prevent low blood sugar. Various apps can help alert you when it’s time to do these tasks, too.
  • Stay stocked up on supplies. Ask about three-month supplies of medicines. Try to have a month’s worth of other diabetes supplies on hand — so you don’t run out or make multiple trips to the pharmacy.
  • Ask for help. Have a trusted loved one help you remember to take medicines and stop and check your blood sugar. Sometimes a little extra support from people who care about you can go a long way when you’re busy.