How an Insulin Pump Break Can Save Your Sanity

Apr 11, 2022

It’s 2:13a and Sabrina wakes up for the third time tonight to an occlusion alarm on her insulin pump. Exhausted and thinking about her big meeting with her boss tomorrow morning, Sabrina massages her site, gives a correction, and goes back to sleep, praying she’ll be able to sleep uninterrupted until morning.

Sabrina feels she’s done a pretty good job dealing with the day-to-day challenges for the past seven years she’s lived with T1D, but recently she’s felt more stressed. Not getting enough sleep because of her pump has made life with diabetes rough over the past couple of weeks. Sabrina decided something had to give to keep her mentally healthy.

An insulin pump break sometimes called a pump holiday, is when you take a break from using your insulin pump to manage your diabetes. With a little bit of planning, taking a pump break is perfectly safe and can do wonders for your mental health around diabetes.

Lack of attachment

Having a medical device attached to you 24/7 can be a challenge. Pump tubing gets caught on doors and cabinets. Alerts and alarms get under your skin. Even if you – and your blood sugars - love the convenience of using an insulin pump, sometimes you just need to mix things up and take some time away from it. A pump holiday is a chance for your body and mind to take a break from always having something attached to you. Even though insulin pumps are great tools, they can also leave you mentally exhausted sometimes. Temporarily switching to injections can help you take a break from the stress and reset, and still manage your diabetes safely.


There’s no rule you have to use your insulin pump all the time. There’s no one right way to manage diabetes, and it’s perfectly ok to change things up sometimes. A pump break can help you see you can be flexible in how you manage diabetes. Just because you have a pump doesn’t mean you can’t give yourself insulin a different way. A pump break lets you see you aren’t stuck and can choose what works for you at any given time.


Let’s be honest. There are situations an insulin pump can get in your way and make it hard to participate in activities you want to do. For example, if you’re going to spend the day surfing or SCUBA diving (yes, you can dive with T1D!), wearing a pump may not be a great idea. Maybe you want to sit by the pool, and there’s not a great place to put your pump. A pump break gives you the freedom to adapt your diabetes management to your activities, rather than letting diabetes dictate what you can and cannot do.

When she woke up the next morning, Sabrina decided it was time for a pump break. She switched to injections and gave herself a two-week break. Her time in range was below where it was on the pump, but a pump break was what Sabrina needed for her mental health. She went to bed every night without worrying about being woken by alarms, and the day she spent at the beach free from her pump was just what she needed. When Sabrina went back on her pump two weeks later, she was ready, knowing she could take another pump break anytime she wanted.


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