Mental Health Tips for Managing Chronic Kidney Disease
Coping with the physical effects of chronic kidney disease (CKD) can be stressful no matter how long ago you transitioned to the dialysis lifestyle. Fear and anxiety surrounding your health and your future are normal, but they don’t have to dominate your life. There are many ways to support your mental health and continue living well with CKD.
Build your support network
Surrounding yourself with people who care about your well-being and who are good, empathetic listeners is important for chronic kidney disease patients. This support network may include family and friends, CKD support groups, or a therapist. Your social worker can help identify support groups or therapists that may work for you. There are also ways to seek support from the comfort of your home. The National Kidney Foundation has online communities where those with real CKD experience can have supportive discussions and ask questions.
Calm your mind with meditation
Even just a few minutes of meditation each day can reduce the production of stress hormones in your body. Meditation allows you to slow down and focus on the present moment so you can respond, rather than react, to the challenges of living with kidney disease. Apps like Insight Timer and Calm are a great way to get started.
Maintaining an active lifestyle is beneficial for your physical and mental health. Exercise helps produce endorphins in your body, which contribute to positive feelings. It also helps you feel more energized throughout the day, more at ease, and improves mood. Work with your care team to find a fitness regimen that’s right for you.
As a kidney disease patient, you may be struggling with self-esteem or negative self-talk. You may even be experiencing feelings of anger or bitterness toward your body. Developing a daily gratitude practice, meditating, and learning to redirect negative thoughts can help you develop more compassion for your body. Celebrating your life – imperfections and all – can have a tremendous impact on your mental health.