Managing Mental Health While Living with Kidney Problems
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Living with a kidney illness can take a toll on your physical and mental health. It is common for people to experience mental health disorders after being diagnosed with a life-changing illness. Forgetting to take care of your mental health while living with a chronic illness is common, so we’ve compiled some tips for stress management and healthy coping mechanisms below.
Reflect on how you’re feeling and talk about it
If you’re feeling upset or uneasy about your situation, talk about your feelings instead of bottling them up. Consult with your social worker for support on all aspects of life, such as new lifestyle adjustments, emotional, financial, family matters, and more. (1) They will be able to provide professional insight on how to cope with a kidney illness. Your doctor or social worker will point you in the right direction of different support groups to get involved with.
Practice meditation or mindfulness
Practicing meditation/mindfulness can help put your mind at ease and keep you focused in the present moment. Meditation/mindfulness has several health benefits including:
- Reducing anxiety– meditation can help slow breathing, heart rate and blood pressure levels after only one session. (2)
Managing chronic pain – a study conducted on MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) showed that people who practiced mindfulness meditation and yoga were able to perform daily activities better and showed improvements in anxiety, pain and overall well-being. (3)
Take care of yourself
It’s important to continue to make time for yourself while living with a kidney illness. This includes eating a “kidney-friendly” diet recommended by your doctor or dietitian to ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs. Stay on top of taking Renadyl™, your medications (as recommended by your HCP) and your dialysis schedule to keep you feeling better. Exercising and getting enough sleep may also improve your overall wellness. (4) Taking care of yourself also means doing things you enjoy. We recommend picking up an old hobby or starting a new one. Starting new projects may also help bring you joy and keep you occupied. Surrounding yourself with friends and loved ones is a good way to keep yourself in high spirits.
Neglecting your mental health may eventually take a toll on your physical health. Remember to always consult with your doctor or social worker to see which treatments and coping mechanisms are recommended for you.
1: “Social Workers: Helping Patients at the Dialysis Center.” DaVita, www.davita.com/treatment-services/dialysis/in-center-hemodialysis/social-workers-helping-patients-at-the-dialysis-center.
2: “Even a Single Mindfulness Meditation Session Can Reduce Anxiety.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 23 Apr. 2018, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180423135048.htm.
3: Kane, Suzanne. “10 Surprising Health Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation.” World of Psychology, 5 July 2018, psychcentral.com/blog/10-surprising-health-benefits-of-mindfulness-meditation/.
4: “Mental Health Services for People with Kidney Disease.” DaVita, www.davita.com/education/ckd-life/support/mental-health-services-for-people-with-kidney-diseae.