Jeanette Terry was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 11 years old, and she has since lived with diabetes through difficult life transitions, including the teenage years, college, and having children. She addresses the day-to-day struggles of living with diabetes—going beyond medical advice—to improve overall adherence and management.

Life is full of surprises, both good and bad. Some of the surprises life throws our way can cause the need for some pretty sudden lifestyle changes. These surprises can include a change in career, a new baby, or a move to a new city, among others. Sometimes what we thought would be a good surprise brings a reality check that can be hard to face.

The good news is that as human beings, we can adapt well to our surroundings, or so we would hope.

Diabetes is one area of our lives that doesn’t adapt so well with abrupt changes. Sudden changes in daily routine can really throw off a diabetes management plan. But life changes can’t be avoided, so we have to learn to adjust to the new circumstances and create a new routine as fast as possible that gets us back in control of daily diabetes management.

It takes the body a while to adjust to changes in diet, routine, sleep, etc. Because of the body, daily diabetes care can become a challenge and very frustrating, especially while trying to create stability. It is a lot easier to work toward something if we can see immediate results from our efforts. But in the end, all of the hard work is worth it because the harder you work to maintain diabetes stability through the changes in life, the greater control you will have.

1. Check the facts. Before making any life-altering decisions, take your daily needs into consideration and make sure they will be covered with whatever you choose. This applies especially to diabetes management. Find the resources you are going to need to take care of yourself so you can hit the ground running with your diabetes control when the changes happen.

2. Be patient and give your body some time to catch up to the new lifestyle. Slowly but surely build a healthy routine to fit your new lifestyle. Work every day to create stability in your life and in your diet so that your blood sugar levels don’t bounce all over as is their tendency during big life changes.

3. Make a priority list. It is easy to get overwhelmed when life seems to turn upside down on you with new life changes. Make sure that your health is at the top of that priority list. Things like unpacking, cleaning, and settling in can all wait until you have established a healthy routine for your diabetes care. If you feel healthy, everything else will fall into place.

As you adapt to your new lifestyle, be sure not to let your diabetes take a back seat and just adapt to whatever is happening in your life. Build your life around your diabetes and your health. It is possible to live your dreams and choose whatever lifestyle feels right to you. You just have to make diabetes a part of it.

To learn more about handling changes and diabetes:

A Healthy Lifestyle Can Change Your Perspective on Diabetes
Do Seasonal Changes Affect Diabetes Control?
How to Keep Up with the Ever-Changing Needs of Diabetes