8 Activities to Try During Dialysis

April 11, 2022, 1:46pm EDT

Dialysis healthcare professional showing patient something on tablet

Dialysis sessions can take upwards of 12 hours a week so, how do you fill this time? Here are eight activities to help you use this time to its fullest potential, whether that's relaxing, connecting with others, or engaging your mind. 

1. Watch a new movie, tv series, or documentary

Do you have any tv shows to catch up on or a movie your colleagues can't believe you haven't seen? Here's your sign to watch it or to find something new. There are dozens of streaming services, and some even let you download shows if you're trying to conserve cellular data. 

2. Get lost in a good book

Books are passports into fantastical worlds, historical events, in-depth topics, and much more. No matter your interests, you'll find a book that matches them. New books can get pricey, but there are many options that help offset this cost. Many local thrift stores offer a variety of books at significantly reduced prices, libraries now have eBooks to borrow, and hundreds of classic books are available, free online.  

Here are 5 NKF staff picks to inspire your reading list.

3. Catch up with friends and family 

There are many ways to stay in touch these days so, use this to your advantage. Schedule a phone call, video chat, or text-based conversation during this time. If this isn't logistically possible, start a pen pal correspondence and use the time during dialysis to write letters and make cards. 

You can also join NKF Peers and get matched with a trained peer mentor who can share their experiences about dialysis, transplant, or living kidney donation with you. Hearing their story and getting support may help you adjust to your situation. It's completely anonymous and all over the phone. 

Sign up

4. Go on a virtual tour

Did you know you can visit a museum, national park, aquarium, and more right from the comfort of your chair? Now you can! Explore the world through your phone, laptop, or tablet with free 360-degree walk-throughs and video tours.

Here are just a few breathtaking tours you may enjoy: 

5. Nap

If you feel exhausted or haven't slept well enough during the night, this is the perfect opportunity to catch up on your z's. There's nothing wrong with dozing through your dialysis appointment. 

Follow these tips to get the best rest possible while in a dialysis center: 

  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes
  • Cancel out noise with headphones or earplugs
  • Block out the light with a sleep mask
  • Bring a cozy blanket and a pillow

6. Work

Going on dialysis doesn't necessarily mean that you won't be able to work or attend school. Some people continue to work full time while others switch to part-time or flexible schedules. Some may ask for less physically demanding positions. If you feel up to it and have work that can be completed online, this may be the perfect time to do so.

7. Immerse yourself in a podcast

The podcast landscape has exploded over the past few years. Some resemble tv talk shows, while others take deep dives into special interests like kidney disease, history, true crime, or sports. There are even serialized fictional stories of every variety, including genres like science-fiction, romance, mystery, and more. 

If you'd like to learn about the latest in kidney care, check out Hot Topics in Kidney Health.

You'll hear from nephrologists, dieticians, people living with kidney disease, and more as they discuss everything from new medications to becoming an advocate for kidney health.

8. Dive into the hobby you've always dreamed of doing

Maybe you've always dreamed of learning to play an instrument, drawing a beautiful landscape, or writing a book. Take this time to do just that. Start by learning what you can about this new hobby and gather the tools (if any) you'll need. YouTube is a great place to find free tutorials to jumpstart your new hobby.