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Coping with Depression: Top 5 Tips from the NKF

Despite the parties, family gatherings and good cheer, the holiday season is also marked by depression for many. This is especially true for those battling a chronic disease. When confronted with kidney disease, there can be many losses–health, work, income, social outlets. This can naturally lead to depression. But there are steps you can take to feel more in control that may ultimately make a big difference in how you feel. Here are the top 5 tips for coping with depression, from the NKF:

  1. Keep the Faith
    No matter your religious beliefs, spirituality can go a long way in trying times. It takes many forms, depending on one’s faith, and can include prayer, meditation, belief in a higher power, or attending a place of worship.
  2. Reach out for Support
    A strong support network is very beneficial. Don’t keep your feelings bottled up—express them to close friends and family. Asking for help is okay too. It’s difficult to balance doctor’s appointments, work and family obligations. People who care about you are usually happy to relieve some of the burden, if you tell them exactly what you need. Seeking professional help, either individually or in a group, may also be useful, or you may find talking to others experiencing similar health challenges to be an invaluable source of comfort.
  3. Have Goals and a Purpose
    Doing something you care about and giving to others are important ways of dealing with depression. Get involved with an advocacy group for those with kidney disease or other illnesses. Join the PTA at your child’s school or take a class. Whatever form of activity you choose to pursue, when you feel a part of something, feelings of wellness and positivity will follow.
  4. Take Care of Yourself
    Exercise, following a healthy diet, and taking medications as prescribed are all essential to feeling good and coping with the challenges of kidney disease. Being proactive with your care includes educating yourself about all aspects of kidney disease and putting what you’ve learned into practice. If you’re physically healthier, your mental health will improve as well.
  5. Have a Positive Attitude
    Never underestimate the power of a positive attitude. Take life one day at a time, do what you can and don’t dwell on issues that you can’t control or change. Try to find the positive in your life and focus on the good things. Remember, living life to the fullest is a choice!

If you are still feeling depressed and overwhelmed by sadness or anxiety, make sure to share your feelings with your doctors to allow them to determine if medication could be beneficial for you.