Living with any life-changing condition can significantly affect your mental health. The same applies to people living with Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic condition that hundreds of people are born with. Whilst new research and treatments are increasing the life expectancy of those with CF, both living with it and the challenges that come with Cystic Fibrosis can have a massive impact on your mental well-being.
With CF, keeping as fit and healthy as possible is one of the best ways to help manage the condition, and the same applies to your mental well-being. So whilst Cystic Fibrosis and mental well-being come hand in hand, there are ways to keep your mind healthy and strong.
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One of the main factors of living with Cystic Fibrosis is that no one has the same experience with the condition. Many symptoms that affect each person can negatively affect mental health resulting in anxiety and depression.
Dealing with the demands of managing their condition daily, like getting sick and coping if their health takes a turn for the worse, are all things that can put pressure on mental and emotional well-being. This can make those with the condition feel like a burden or struggle to see their situation getting better, and without coping strategies or support, things can get worse quickly.
It’s important to speak to someone in these kinds of scenarios, like family, friends or your doctor/professional. They can help support you and ensure you get the correct guidance and help. Just like your physical health, your mental health can deteriorate, but it’s important to remember that support is out there and won’t last forever.
Have a Routine
Having a routine is always an excellent way to boost your mental well-being. It is a good way to motivate you to get things done and give you a sense of direction. A daily routine setting out your treatments and CF-related aspects can help you see that your condition doesn’t take up all your time. That way, those free areas of your day that don’t involve these things can be time to look forward to, where you can fill the time with a hobby, going out, exercising and doing something to help give your mental health that healthy boost of hormones.
Having goals to work towards can also help improve mental well-being. Keep something in mind that you’d like to work towards, like learning something new, finding a new hobby or maybe finishing that job you started months ago. Having little goals in mind can keep you moving forwards and achieving things, even if they are only small things. If you’re unsure where to start, make a list of things you’d like to do and then arrange them into what you think is most achievable right now and what you can work towards in the future.
Be Kind To Yourself
Being kind to yourself is important. If you’re feeling low or are a little worried, take some time out for yourself. These thoughts are bound to crop up from time to time, especially when you’re tired, or your health isn’t doing too well. In these moments, it’s important to acknowledge and accept the thoughts. Then shift your focus to things you can be grateful for or try doing something you enjoy, such as spending time with your favourite people or listening to music, maybe even putting your favourite film on and chilling out for a bit. This way, you’ve acknowledged the feelings of daily worries and stresses, but you’ve not let them be the focus of your mind. Understand that they are there, and then act on them with something positive.
Everyone struggles with their mental well-being from time to time. So it’s important to deal with it as soon as you notice negativity is getting in the way of positive thoughts. Once you notice and acknowledge this, you can deal with it, whether it’s taking some time out, speaking to someone or seeking professional help. This will help you build ways to cope and deal with different, everyday scenarios that living with Cystic Fibrosis can throw your way.
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