Coping with stress and anxiety Life is changing for all of us for a little while. In the face of uncertainty, it’s normal to feel stressed, anxious and fearful. For people with kidney disease, this can be a very challenging time, especially if you also have depression. It’s important to remember that it is OK to feel this way and everyone will react differently. Here are some ways you can help to improve your mental health and wellbeing. It is important to follow the latest government guidance to keep yourself and everyone safe. Tips for improving your mental health during a crisis: 1. Take a break from the news If you find yourself overwhelmed by everything you’re hearing, try taking breaks from watching or reading the news so you don’t overload yourself with information that may be upsetting. 2. Stay connected with people Maintaining healthy relationships with people we trust is important for our mental wellbeing, so think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family whilst at home. You could try phone calls, video calls through WhatsApp, Skype or Zoom or social media as alternatives to meeting up in person. 3. Talk to someone It’s perfectly OK to feel a little bit worried about the current situation. It’s OK to share your concerns with someone you trust. A member of your renal team who you connect with might also be able to help with any concerns you have. It can help to share any worries. Do not allow yourself to become isolated with any of your concerns. Please call our freephone helpline if you would like to chat with one of our advisors about your concerns - 0800 169 09 36. 4. Relax and breathe Relax your breathing by taking deep breaths or meditating. There are lots of apps, some of which are free, which will be able to help you if you wanted to try a guided meditation. Focusing on the present can help with difficult emotions and improve wellbeing. 5. Eat right for your body Eating right and sticking to kidney-friendly food and fluid plan can help you feel better both physically and mentally. If you’re looking for recipe ideas, check out our recipe books Taste! and Food for Thought. 6. Find positive distractions Distract yourself from things that cause you stress and anxiety by focusing on something you enjoy. Focus on your favourite hobby, relax indoors, watch a new series on Netflix. There are lots of free tutorials and courses available online, and people are coming up with new ways to do things, like hosting online quizzes and music concerts. Our top tip is, do not panic and follow the advice of your renal team. The NKF Helpline 0800 169 09 36 is open from 8.30am until 5pm Monday to Thursday and 08:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday. For more information and advice regarding your mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus crisis, the NHS have a comprehensive guide on Every Mind Matters.