April 6, 2022
At Somatus, our care teams surround chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients with support that can help keep both the mind and body healthy. It’s important to recognize the direct impact stress can have on our mental and physical health, particularly for patients with chronic conditions, and how impactful effective stress-management techniques can be.
“Choosing to practice regular stress-management techniques can help eliminate some of the stress you feel and make you more resilient in the future when your stress levels are higher,” says Jennifer Sublett, Licensed Social Worker and Clinical Program Manager at Somatus.
Below are some of the stress-management insights Jennifer and other care team members share with our Somatus community every day.
Take Control of the Things You Can
One of the major causes of stress is trying to control the uncontrollable. This is especially true for people who have a chronic illness and cannot remove their condition or ignore their disease.
“Chronic illness can have a major impact on levels of stress,” Jennifer says. “But I encourage people to focus on the aspects of their disease they can control to ease their stress levels.”
For example, here are five ways to take control of a Chronic Kidney Disease diagnosis:
- Ask questions at your doctor appointments and feel free to request that things get explained multiple times, so you make sure to have a firm understanding.
- Follow the diet recommended by your nephrologist or dietitian.
- Keep an eye on your weight, blood pressure, and any other conditions that affect your kidneys (like diabetes).
- Attend a Somatus CKD+Me online webinar (sign up for the 1st Wednesday of the month here or 3rd Tuesday of the month here!).
- Surround yourself with a support network that can help you stay on top of your health.
That’s why it’s so important to keep our kidneys healthy. In fact, that’s our primary goal at Somatus! We work with kidney disease patients across the U.S. to ensure they have the support, education, and access to care they need to delay disease progression and stay healthy at home. One of the most effective ways we do this is by teaching our members the cornerstones of kidney nutrition. When we eat right for our kidneys, they function their very best!
Your Stress Management Mixology
While these tips can be helpful for someone with CKD, an effective stress-management plan is not one-size-fits-all. Everyone has a unique “playlist” of the short-term and long-term techniques that work best for them. It’s all about finding a mix that works best for you, so don’t feel discouraged by a little trial and error.
Here are a few stress-management activities/tactics that might fit your style:
- Squeeze your stress away – Squeezing a squishy item (like a stress ball) can calm your nerves. When you squeeze it, your brain shifts its focus to your arm/hand muscles and away from your worries.
- Journaling – Write down what caused your stress and how it made you feel and act. This will help identify repeat stressors—and just getting it out and on paper can relieve stress in itself.
- Guided imagery – Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and imagine a peaceful place. This is great for when you need instant calmness. Continue to breathe slow in and out to help your body relax.
- Quality time with friends and family – Try to connect with your loved ones in person! Feeling safe and understood is a natural stress reliever.
- Exercising – Get up and get moving! Physical activity releases endorphins that make you feel good and ease your worries.
It Takes a Village
Above all else, we believe in the stress-relieving power of community. A simple and free way to help manage your stress is to ask for help when you need it. We understand this may be easier said than done, but don’t underestimate the willingness of your family, friends, care team, doctor, and community to lend an ear. Connecting with people reminds us we are not alone in our worries and can be a powerful way to learn how others have tackled stressful moments in their life.
We are always here for you! Please let us know how we can lend our support on your health journey. You can reach us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 855-851-8354..
Complete the form on this page to enter to win 1 of 50 Somatus kidney-shaped stress balls!