The holiday season is in full swing and many are lively and cheerful. Movies and television programs will be showing holiday specials. Stores, shops, and offices will be playing festive music. The expectation is that this should be a joyous and magical time of year, but for many Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients it is not. The holidays can be a reminder of a patient's limitations by bringing up painful memories of a period in time that he/she was healthier and had more freedom. Also, traditions and nostalgia of the holidays are often reminders of those dear to us who are no longer with us including friends that were conducting Dialysis and lost their battles. What's more, the festive season can cause those with Chronic Kidney Disease to feel very lonely since no one can quite relate to their challenging circumstances. These feelings can quickly turn into depression, commonly called the Holiday Blues. However, the following are a few tips that patients can use to combat and limit their Holiday Blues.
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Symptoms of the Holiday Blues can include headaches, more frequent bouts of insomnia, uneasiness, worse than normal anxiety, sadness, severe intestinal problems, and unnecessary conflict with family and friends. These side-effects of the Holiday Blues can have a "spillover effect" and impact a patient's quality of life, Dialysis Treatments, and overall health. Chronic Kidney Disease patients, especially those on Dialysis, may try the following tips to make it through the holidays while better managing and improving their physical and emotional health:
1. Be reasonable with your schedule. Do not overbook yourself into a state of exhaustion--this can make patients cranky, irritable, depressed, and wiped out.
2. Decide on your priorities. Prioritize what is most important to accomplish this holiday season, organize your time, and stick to your schedule. Remember, much of what you cannot get to this year, you can always enjoy next year.
3. Be honest with yourself. No matter what our plans, the holidays do not automatically take away feelings of aloneness, sadness, frustration, anger, and fear. These are natural feelings that every Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patient experiences at some time. Click here and come by the KidneyBuzz.com Facebook Fan Page to connect with other patients who understand your struggle or to just vent your frustration.
4. Don't expect the holidays to be just as they were when you were a child. They NEVER are. You are not the same as when you were a child, and no one else in the family is either. Do your best to be kind, but if you feel uncomfortable simply remove yourself from the situation. You already have enough stress as a Chronic Kidney Disease or Dialysis patient and do not need to add to the burden.
5. Feeling like you are under scheduled or under planned for the holidays? Consider visiting a church during the holidays. Also, call an old friend to catch up. Engaging with others is a great way to help limit feelings of depression and loneliness.
6. Plan unstructured, low-cost fun holiday activities such as window-shopping and looking at the holiday decorations. Look at people's Christmas lighting on their homes. Further, consider just sitting in the mall and enjoying the holiday music and watching the passersby.
7. Give yourself a break. Create time for yourself to do the things YOU love and need to do for your physical and mental wellness: aerobic exercise, yoga, massage, spiritual practices, taking short walks or any activity that calms you down and gives you a better perspective on what is important in your life.
How do you manage your Holiday Blues? Share your response with the over 52,00 Facebook Fan Page Friends (click here). You may find you are not the only one with these feelings. If you feel especially down, talk with your social worker who may provide some helpful insight. Also, consider following the nearly 125,000 monthly visitors on KidneyBuzz.com for your Number One (#1) source of Daily News, Information, Impact Meals, Inspirational Quotes, and tailored Products and Services which teach Chronic Kidney Disease, Dialysis, Kidney Transplant, Diabetes and High Blood Pressure patients how to better manage and improve their lives.