Skip to main content

Becoming A Young Adult: Adulting And Living With Type 1 Diabetes

« WeCare Blog | March 31, 2023 |

Who would have ever thought being a grown man or woman going about mundane daily tasks would come with its own verb – adulting. Activities that are so easy to say out loud – housework, meal planning, grocery shopping, budgeting, and getting to places on time – turn out to be a little more difficult to actually do in real life. Before you turned 18 years old, you were probably under the care of your parents or carers, who did most of the parenting or caring for you. However, now that you’re an adult, it’s time to do some adulting of your own, and when you’re living with type 1 diabetes, that might be no simple request.

Meal Planning And Grocery Shopping

Meal planning takes on a whole new level of complexity when you’re living with type 1 diabetes. Not only do you have to actually come up with an idea of what you feel like eating, and plan your grocery shop accordingly, you also need to:

  • Meal plan and shop within your budget. Meat can often be much more expensive than vegetarian options. Also, consider what fruits and vegetables are in season and therefore will be a little cheaper.
  • Figure out what you’re going to do with the leftovers. Can these last few pieces of roast vegetables be mixed into another dish for tomorrow rather than throwing them away or leaving them in the fridge until they go mouldy?
  • Ensure you’re providing yourself with a healthy balanced diet. Experts recommend those living with type 1 diabetes should still stick to the five main food groups, which are fruit and veg, starchy foods (e.g. pasta), proteins (e.g. eggs, meat), dairy (or alternatives like soy), and oils (ideally low in saturated fats).1
  • Understand carbohydrate counting to help manage your blood glucose (BG) levels. If you’re not sure, ask your diabetes healthcare team about the basics of carb counting and how to read food labels.

Managing Money

If you’ve just entered the workforce after leaving school or university, you may suddenly have more money than you’ve ever had before. However, with money often comes many responsibilities. You may need to learn to manage your money around various bills (such as monthly subscriptions, rent, gas, and electricity), diabetes-related expenses (maybe including the cost of your healthcare supplies or healthcare insurance), and more, all the while keeping your savings account healthy.

There’s an abundance of advice online about managing your money, and even some apps that can help you track your expenses. You may want to seek the services of a financial advisor, or just download a budgeting app on your phone.

Money can be the source of significant anxiety whether you’re living with type 1 diabetes or not. However, we do know that type 1 diabetes can increase your risk of anxiety and depression,2 so it’s important to be aware of it. If money matters are causing concern to your emotional wellbeing, speak to your diabetes healthcare team about your options for both emotional and practical support.

Organising Your Time

So much to do, so little time! If only the house would clean itself while you go to work. If only your employer would give you unlimited (paid) time off work to attend your appointments with your diabetes healthcare team so that your weekends remain free to meet with friends, you haven’t seen in three years. On top of all of that, all this adulting has you exhausted so you really just need time to sit in the bath with a book – but you can’t do that because you’re supposed to get in the recommended 150 minutes per week of exercise.3

Does this sound all too familiar? If you can relate to the above it may be that you need some help in time management. Here are some tips on managing your time:

  • Prioritise your tasks based on urgency and importance and learn to say “no” (or at least “later”) to the less important things.
  • Plan ahead. For example, if you’re going to an appointment and there’s a supermarket next door, why not plan to do your grocery shop immediately after your appointment rather than going home and then back out again.
  • Set reminders and utilise calendars or day planners.
  • Establish a routine for recurrent tasks, such as housecleaning or the gym.
  • Keep a generous amount of all your diabetes supplies just in case you need them. It is also a good idea to have a dedicated bag that holds all of your essential supplies when you are out and about. This includes insulin, glucose test strips, lancets, extra tape, and a spare battery cap of your Medtronic insulin pump.
  • Where practical, delegate tasks you don’t need to do yourself.

Final Thoughts

Adulting can be challenging (and it doesn’t always get easier the longer you’ve been doing it!). Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from trusted friends or family, whether it be how to navigate the supermarket or manage your pension. Also, remember that your diabetes healthcare team is there to support your physical and emotional wellbeing, so be sure to keep in touch with them to keep your diabetes management on track.


  1. Diabetes UK. What is a healthy, balanced diet for diabetes? 2022. Available at: (Accessed June 2022).
  2. American Diabetes Association. Mental health: Living with Type 1. 2022. Available at: (Accessed June 2022).
  3. CDC. Get Active! 2021. Available at: (Accessed June 2022).