The last days of Summer are upon us and for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients who are already predisposed to depression, the impending change of the season may bring with it a sense of loss and a feeling sadness. But "all good things must come to an end," a cute saying that we all know to be true. Summer is full of promise and allows lazy days in which you or your loved ones do not have to rush kids to school, hurry to work or contend with a continually overburdened schedule. Even for those with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) on dialysis or retired will likely miss spending unhurried, quality time with their family and friends. However, there are some strategies that can help you alleviate the "End of Summer Blues" and step more enthusiastically into the coming season.
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If you are feeling apprehension about the Fall, you may not have been able to enjoy all the things you had looked forward to during the Summer. Maybe you wanted to travel, have a picnic at the beach or take a dialysis cruise but then 'life happened' and you found that financial, work, CKD, dialysis or family obligations derailed your plans. The fact that summer is nearing an end can now evoke a deep sense of loss and disappointment as you realize that you did not do all or even any of the things that you had hoped to do. Do not despair instead try to start planning now for next year! Take a calendar and actually mark off the time to get away, open a savings account that is only for your desired excursion so that competing financial obligations do not get in the way, and tell your friends, family, co-workers, boss and/or dialysis nurse of your getaway far in advance. Talk about your trip regularly so that the people around you come to anticipate and accept your absence during that time.
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On the other hand, maybe you just had a terrific time all summer and already find yourself dreading the idea of missing your kids being home with you during the day, seeing your grandchildren more often or getting to spend time with your friends. Rather than dwelling on the winter doldrums that may lie ahead, remind yourself to stay in the moment. Actively celebrate the fact that you are alive and the things you can do in the winter months. For instance you can buy a new sweater, take a walk among the brilliant fall foliage, visit a pumpkin patch, or have friends over for a chili (no beans for end stage patients) and football party. If keeping up with your kids' school schedule is becoming overwhelming or you are finding it difficult to manage dialysis and other commitments, then make an active effort to schedule some relaxation time that is for you and you alone. Doing this is important as stress often increases as Summer ends and is detrimental to the long-term health of CKD patients of all stages (1-5).
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If your summer experience shed light on problems that feel too big or unmanageable then KidneyBuzz.com recommends that you seek professional help. Talking to your healthcare team about depression or issues with your treatment may help you to make needed transitional changes that will allow you to enjoy your life for years to come, regardless of season!
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In essence transitions take us from the known to the unknown and while the circumstances are always different the tools needed to successfully move ahead are the same, namely being positive, patient and proactive. Think about it this way, next Summer is already on its way! So shake off that "End of Summer Blues" and let's continue LIVING.
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McKenzie,, Heidi, Psy. D. "End of Summer Blues - Tips for Coping." Ezine Articles.
Psychology with Peta. "Successfully Copig With New Beginnings." The Advocate