October 24, 2023

Having a Social Life and Navigating Events with Diabetes

Managing diabetes can be difficult enough as it is. This is US MED's guide on how to balance diabetes management and still have a fun time.

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Having a Social Life and Navigating Events with Diabetes

Home / Living with Diabetes / Having a Social Life and Navigating Events with Diabetes

Socializing is a vital part of life, and even the most introverted person enjoys hanging out with friends occasionally. In fact, social connections with other people can help prevent heart disease, stroke, dementia, and mental health issues. 

But since diabetes management is such a stressful, time-consuming process, people living with this disease can have a hard time truly enjoying parties and other events. Keep reading for a complete overview of how diabetes can interfere with your social life—and how you can have fun spending time with the people you care about anyway.

How Having Diabetes Can Affect Social Interactions

Though it’s common to focus on the physical symptoms of diabetes, this condition can just as easily lead to mental health problems. Take anxiety, for example: if you’re worried about blood sugar lows or highs, you won’t truly be able to live in the moment. And because parties and other social events are all about letting go and having fun, people with diabetes might not get the most out of these events.

That isn’t the only way diabetes can affect your social life, either. The process of successfully managing this disease is so demanding that it can lead to a mental health condition called “diabetes distress.” Diabetes distress is associated with feelings of anger and fear, and people with diabetes often feel isolated while living with this condition—which can make socializing difficult. (If you’re dealing with diabetes-related mental health issues, stress management techniques can help.)

As if these diabetes-related stressors weren’t enough, the lack of control associated with parties can make things even more complicated. When someone offers you a plate of delicious (but carb-heavy) homemade food or buys a round of drinks when you’ve already had one too many, it can be hard to say “no.” Still, you’ll need to find a balance between managing your diabetes and focusing on your social life to enjoy meeting up with friends while living with this disease.

Tips for Navigating Events with Diabetes

Balancing your social life and your diabetes management strategy is easier said than done, but getting some advice before your next big social event can help. Here’s what people with diabetes need to know about:

Talking to Friends and Family

Do you want your loved ones to understand the demands of diabetes management? Most people with diabetes do—and the most effective way to help these people learn more about diabetes is by talking about your condition.

Since most people don’t already understand diabetes management, you may find yourself fielding all-too-common questions about this disease during your discussion (for example, whether or not it’s OK for you to eat small portions of less-than-healthy foods). But when you open up about life with diabetes, your friends and family members will be able to keep your health requirements in mind while planning social events.

Testing Blood Sugar

Parties are a great time to forget about most of your responsibilities, but going out with friends doesn’t put your blood glucose levels on pause. Eating and drinking can have a noticeable effect on your blood sugar, so you’ll need to monitor your glucose trends closely.

Fortunately, there’s a way to avoid inconvenient fingerprick tests in social situations. By investing in a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system, you’ll be able to get glucose updates by scanning a discreet sensor (or simply checking your phone). CGM systems can’t fully replace “standard” blood glucose testing, but they can help you forgo this process as long as your readings match your symptoms.

Eating at Social Gatherings

Let’s say you’re planning to go to a restaurant for a friend’s birthday. You could figure out what you want to eat when you get there—or you could take a few minutes before this celebration to look at the restaurant’s menu online. That way, you’ll be able to find the right meal option ahead of time and you’ll have one less thing to worry about during the event.

If you want even more control over the menu, why not host an event yourself? After all, many delicious dishes can fit neatly into a diabetes diet. Taking the first step towards planning your diabetes-friendly dinner party is as easy as exploring our selection of healthy recipes.

woman cooking wearing g7 sensor on arm

Drinking With Diabetes

There’s a good chance that alcoholic beverages will be served at the next party you attend. Luckily, many people with diabetes can safely enjoy certain types of alcohol in moderation. Dry wines, light beer, and sugar-free mixed drinks are all ideal drink orders for people living with diabetes.

That said, alcohol can lower your blood sugar—so if you don’t want to drink, you shouldn’t feel obligated to. You’ll still be able to spend time with your friends and family, and you might even be able to serve as a designated driver.

Having a Plan

Planning can be a source of frustration for people with diabetes, but this process is definitely worth the trouble. By thinking ahead, you’ll be able to spend less time thinking about diabetes management and more time enjoying yourself during events. As part of this, you should always check your blood glucose level before leaving home—that will give you a baseline to work from when managing your blood sugar over the course of the night.

It’s also wise to have healthy snacks on hand while you’re out and about, especially if you don’t know if food will be available at a party. Whole-grain crackers, nuts and seeds, and cheese sticks are all highly portable, highly nutritious snack options.

Learn More About Diabetes Management

Hopefully, the advice shared in this article will allow you to enjoy socializing without neglecting diabetes management. But since this is just one element of diabetes management, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed as you work to keep your diagnosis under control. US MED can help—our blog has all kinds of information on living with diabetes, including valuable diet and fitness tips.

Another crucial part of managing diabetes is having access to the right supplies. If you’re a person living with diabetes, you need to find a company you can count on to provide you with diabetes testing supplies, insulin, and other diabetes-related products. As the nation’s leading diabetes supplier, US MED also excels in this department—take a look at our online store today!

Shirley DeLeon Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist

Medical Review by Shirley DeLeon, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist

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