How do you manage stress?: Even without the... - Kidney Disease

Kidney Disease

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How do you manage stress?

cmaxwell78 profile image
cmaxwell78NKF Ambassador

Even without the added strain of managing chronic kidney disease, life is stressful. Family, jobs, hobbies, finances...how do you do all that you want to? How do you do it well when you are dealing with illness? This topic came up during my most recent visit with my renal specialist about how, as kidney patients, managing our stress is a key ingredient to staying healthy and, for some, potentially delaying function decline. So, how do you do it? How do you find calm and peace? How do you manage stress?

10 Replies

Great questions. I've dealt with a lot of stress in the course of my 66 years but the one thing I've learned is that all stress is not from negative (bad) things. Stress also comes at us from positive (good) things. For example, if you checked the lottery numbers this week and found you had the winning ticket for millions of dollars you'd be thrilled beyond belief. Great news... however, that is still stressful.

Once I figured that out and realized that I can only control things about me. I have no control over issues with other family and friends. That doesn't mean you don't worry or care about family and friends it just means that you have to realize that you don't have control over every issue that comes into your life. I'm concerned about my kids and grandkids but my kids have lives of their own and I have to accept their decisions and actions hoping that what I taught them has taken root and they will make the best choice. My grandkids have their parents and all I can do is hope that they will grow and learn and have the life they want. By no means is this easy to accomplish. It's hard, very hard.

Teaching special needs students in middle and high school for 20 years was a great eye-opener for me. They had their problems and issues and in addition, I did what I could to teach them the skills to achieve but I quickly realized that I couldn't make life decisions for them and I couldn't bring home their issues. It's a hard line to walk but it must be done. Those that don't will achieve burnout in three to five years.

Finding out that I had Diabetes, and then Hypertension started me on the process of dealing with stress in a more self-productive way. If I hadn't I would have died years ago. Having recently found out I had CKD was stressful. What I had to do was learn as much as I could about it and that, for me, alleviates the stress. If I do all I can, learn what I need to know I can make informed decisions and the rest will take care of myself. I don't ever think of "what ifs." That's where you (anyone) can get into real stress and trouble. Since you can't go back in time, you can't change past behavior. You can only change current behavior and hope it has a positive effect on future outcomes.

You did mention hobbies. Hobbies are supposed to be enjoyed and not add any stress, either positive or negative to your life. I read a tremendous amount. Yes, a lot of reading on CKD to keep informed, but I'm talking about novels of many types. That's not something new as I've always done that. Because of AMD, I have had to give up books and switch to a Nook and now an e-reader. I also am an amateur photographer. Film in the past but digital now. I bird, travel, hike and bike. Those things help me enjoy life. Nobody can eliminate stress from their life, but you can manage it by doing the things you enjoy and get pleasure from.

cmaxwell78 profile image
cmaxwell78NKF Ambassador in reply to Mr_Kidney

I totally agree about the good and bad stress. Age and change in life circumstances for the better have given me a perspective shift which yields patience, calm, ability to understand (most of the time) what's important and what isn't.

Well, I meditate about every day. I also started seeing a therapist who specializes in folks with chronic illness. But, it's been tough. My work doesn't care at all about my illness and they never even ask me how I feel or how things are going with getting a transplant. My family is pretty understanding though. And my friends are cool and take care of me. But, I decided early on to just not tell a lot of people because I don't think anyone cares. There are times when it's overwhelming. I've sat in my office and cried more than once. But, someone recently told me that I'm easily one of the strongest people they've ever met. That meant a lot!

cmaxwell78 profile image
cmaxwell78NKF Ambassador in reply to Dustypye

That's great that you have found some outlets to help manage the stress of disease - not to mention what I would think could be added stress over not feeling supported and cared for where you spend a great deal of your time. It's unfortunate that co-workers aren't dialed in to what's going on in your life, but that feedback you've gotten is so encouraging! People are seeing the mountains you're tackling and can identify you as one of the strongest people they've met! Be encouraged!

I went through (and am kind of still going through) a midlife crisis this year. I hit 40 and took a good look around. The list of things I want to accomplish grows, and the amount of time on my "meter" shrinks. I realized there's never enough time, for anyone. Even if I live to be 120, I will die with things left on the to do list. I'm finally making peace with that. Talking to friends who have already undergone their crisis or are in the throes of it helps. One of the sages in my faith tradition said "It is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but you are not free to desist from it either." I started taking that personally, and it helps.

I write as a stress reliever. I've actually sold a few of my pieces this year, which still surprises me. Therapy and writing have been my saving graces.

I'm fortunate, in that my bosses care. This was not always the case.

cmaxwell78 profile image
cmaxwell78NKF Ambassador in reply to JenN18

I'm with you! I turn 40 soon and I think my age has given me so much more perspective! I write for stress relief, too, but nothing worth selling. Congrats on taking charge of your bucket list!

For myself, I try to do daily mediation (I use the Calm app), write in a daily journal what I am grateful for and don’t sweat the small things. Need to learn to let certain things go. An example for me would be having two little ones that get every toy out in the basement, does the mess bother me, sure but in the grand scheme of things I let it go. If I clean it up today, it’s going to be the same tomorrow. Also try to keep doing what gives you joy. I wish I could run like I used to, but don’t have the energy. Instead I enjoy cooking for my family and that lets me decompress and gives me happiness. Hope that helps!

cmaxwell78 profile image
cmaxwell78NKF Ambassador in reply to CNeb

I'm with you on the toy clean up! I've gotten much better at not stressing over that, too. Enjoy the little ones while they are little, is what I say! :)

I am presently handling stress by posting and reading here!! It makes me happy when I can help/relate to others and when I can share struggles 😀

diazepam, only allowed short term but helps throughttttthe worst whilst having investigations ans getting some practical help where possible.

Taking time out even locking self in bathroom with headphones and relaxing music on.

exercise if possible fresh sea air walks with regular rest breaks

treating self to something nice like art stuff

meeting friends

letting someone else take a load off their problems which can take your mind off yours

hope you feel more relaxed it will come eventually x

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