National Diabetes Month occurs every November, with World Diabetes Day on November 14.

November has been designated for diabetes awareness since 1975, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). But it wasn’t officially recognized until the early 1980s.

For more than 40 years now, November has served as a time where organizations, people with diabetes, caregivers, loved ones, and other advocates rally to shine a much-needed spotlight on diabetes. This helps drive research and potentially even saves lives.

But awareness months sometimes come and go in a blur. Knowing how to get involved — or stay involved — can be tricky. That’s why we compiled these options so you can plan ahead for November.

At the beginning of the month, let your friends and family know that diabetes awareness is important to you.

The blue circle has become the universal symbol for diabetes. So, whether you have diabetes or know someone who does, you can raise awareness on social feeds by taking a blue circle selfie.

You can access the circle through the dedicated app from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). Then, add the image as your profile pic.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to study for this one!

If you’ve never been diagnosed with diabetes and haven’t taken a type 2 risk test, now’s a great time. About 1 in every 2 people with diabetes don’t know they have it, according to the IDF.

You can also take a quiz to test your diabetes knowledge.

Read up on your favorite diabetes blogs or search for new ones you haven’t yet discovered.

If you find helpful tips or a particularly moving personal experience, share it with your social media network to help raise awareness about diabetes.

Feeling creative? If you have diabetes, you might choose to share what it’s been like living with the condition. You don’t have to start your own blog, though you can if you’re so inspired.

An easy way to get started is to take to social media. Write short posts on your Facebook or Instagram pages.

Some questions to get your creative juices flowing:

  • What’s your diabetes story?
  • When were you diagnosed?
  • What obstacles have you had to overcome?
  • What lifestyle changes have had the most impact?
  • What myths can you bust about diabetes?

Not a writer? Post a video of how your diabetes tech helps you or share a recipe you love.

The ADA has a list of events, many of which are listen-and-learn sessions called Ask the Expert. On November 9, you can tune in to hear why everyone should have a diabetes care and education specialist (DCES) in their corner.

You can also find other Ask the Expert sessions before November.

If you’d like to get involved sooner than November, you can opt for a virtual Tour de Cure or Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes in your region.

These events incorporate training, fundraising, and going the distance for diabetes — all while raising awareness in a safe and fun way leading up to the end of the year.

The IDF lists more than 450 events in over 100 countries via an interactive map, all occurring on World Diabetes Day.

Chances are, there may be a live event in your neck of the woods, though there are many virtual offerings, too. From webinars and film screenings to health fairs and wellness walks, you’re bound to find something that interests you.

Banting House in London, Ontario, is known as the birthplace of insulin. It’s where Dr. Frederick Banting woke up in the wee hours one morning in 1920 and wrote the hypothesis that would later be credited with insulin’s discovery.

Not all people with diabetes require insulin, but the anniversary of its creation is still noteworthy. In honor of Banting’s achievement, World Diabetes Day takes place on his birthday.

You can tour Banting House if you’re in the area on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

It’s also possible to celebrate the space virtually. Check out one of Banting House’s weekly virtual puzzles from the comfort of your own couch.

Diabetes Awareness Month is a great time to engage with other people who have diabetes or with other caregivers.

Your local hospital may have an in-person group. You can also connect virtually with folks all over through the ADA’s online community.

As great as awareness months are at increasing action, activism, and momentum, they can also be taxing on the very community they’re meant to help.

So, if you find yourself overwhelmed with events, social media callouts, or anything else, don’t hesitate to take a step back and a deep breath.

Self-care is important, whether you have diabetes, are caring for someone who has diabetes, or are a staunch advocate for the cause.

Raising awareness about diabetes is crucial. It can encourage people to know the signs and symptoms, drive research, and foster community.

Diabetes Awareness Month happens every November, and you can get involved in many different fun and meaningful ways this year and beyond.