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It's critical to maintain your emotional health as well as your physical health. It's especially important when you are living with cystic fibrosis (CF). Your state of mind may have a direct impact on your physical health.1,2

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Whether you are the patient or the caregiver, living with CF is not easy. It can be physically taxing and emotionally draining. Sometimes you may feel sad, which is normal. Dealing with the stress that comes with CF can be a lonely, isolating feeling that may last for weeks, months, or even years if not addressed. It's important to get help as stress may interfere with your ability to keep up with your CF treatment regimen. Speak to your CF care team right away if you have changes in your emotional or overall health.1,2

Researchers found that people with CF and caregivers of children with CF are more likely to experience emotional difficulties than people in the general population.1

The information in this section is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always speak with your physician to determine what activities or exercise programs are appropriate for you.

Managing your stress

Managing your CF and nutritional requirements can be overwhelming and stressful. It's important to cope with your stress in ways that work for you.3 Relaxation techniques may be helpful in reducing stress.

Meditation3

Meditation is a way to help to reduce stress. People often feel invigorated and refreshed after meditating. Meditation can be as simple as closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing.

Tips on meditation

  • Go to a quiet place. Some people like to play relaxing music instead of sitting in silence
  • Find a comfortable position. Try sitting on the floor or the couch
  • Close your eyes
  • Try to clear your mind of any thoughts. Sometimes it's helpful to focus on one word and repeat it over and over to yourself
  • Breathe deeply. Pay attention to your breath

You can meditate for as long as you want. Start with just a few minutes a day and build up to an hour—whatever works best for you.

Yoga and meditation can benefit people of all ages!

Yoga can also help relax the body and mind. You can learn the basics of yoga by taking a class, reading a book, or watching an instructional video.3

Yoga can empower children and may teach them the skills to better care for their bodies, manage stress, solve problems, and connect with others. Meditation can have a powerful effect on children and their everyday lives, including developing respect for their parents and a higher sense of self-esteem. Meditation may also help children develop focus, monitor their own emotions, and learn how to pay attention.

When entering adolescence, teenagers may be faced with peer pressure and feelings of anxiety about their changing bodies. Maintaining a yoga practice can be a great way to help teens manage the emotional challenges and uncertainty of this stressful time. Breathing and meditation can also have a powerful effect on the stresses of adolescence.

As an adult, your life may be a juggling act. Apart from managing your CF care regimen, adults may be faced with the demands of a busy workplace and a hectic household to run. Yoga and meditation may help you cope with the stresses of adulthood and contribute to a work-life balance.

Exercise8

Exercise may be another way to improve your sense of well-being and quality of life. Exercise is especially important for people with CF as it may help improve:

  • Mucus clearance
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Lung function

Whether it's running, jumping rope, playing sports, or taking dance classes, try to find something you enjoy and make it a part of your lifestyle. Feel free to find more information about exercising with CF.

Before you or your child start a yoga, meditation, or exercise program, talk to your CF care team. They can tell you more about what activities are approved and those that should be avoided. Remember to be careful, and be sure your body is able to handle the stress of certain activities.

Massage

Massage could be another great way to relax the body and mind. It can help to reduce stress, pain, and muscle tension throughout your body. Some people enjoy massage as it creates feelings of caring, comfort, and connection.3,9

The benefits of massage for all ages

Massage for children could offer a way to reduce their stress. Touch stimulates the body in positive ways to help it grow and develop.

Massage can be a valuable component in a teen's health and wellness plan. Regular massage may help teens with athletic injuries as well as body image and anxiety issues.

Many adults don't take the time to pamper themselves. But massage isn't just a way to indulge yourself, it can be a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being, whether you have a specific health condition like CF or are just looking for a stress reliever.

Before you or your child start a massage program, talk to your CF care team. They can tell you more about what activities are approved and those that should be avoided. Remember to be careful, and be sure your body is able to handle the stress of certain activities.

Improving your overall well-being may dramatically impact your emotional as well as your physical health. The happier you are, the more likely you are to adhere to your medications and take steps toward maintaining and improving your health.1,2 Remember, living with a disease, even one as challenging as CF, does not have to define you. Stress and emotional struggle do not have to define you. You are more than your disease and you are not alone.

References: 1. Depression and CF. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation website. https://www.cff.org/Living-with-CF/Emotional-Wellness/Depression-and-CF. Accessed February 4, 2016. 2. Taking care of me: emotional support. Johns Hopkins Cystic Fibrosis Center website. http://www.hopkinscf.org/living-with-cf-teen/taking-care-of-me-teen/emotional-support-teen/. Accessed February 3, 2016. 3. Taking care of me: manage your stress. Johns Hopkins Cystic Fibrosis Center website. http://www.hopkinscf.org/living-with-cf-teen/taking-care-of-me-teen/manage-your-stress-teen/. Accessed March 7, 2016. 4. OM at home | The Kids Yoga Program for Parents. YogaKids website. http://yogakids.com/om-at-home. 5. Meditation for kids: 4 ways to start kids meditating. Mind Body Green website. http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-1631/Meditation-for-Kids-4-Ways-to-Start-Kids-Meditating.html. Accessed March 14, 2016. 6. The benefits of yoga at different ages. Do You Yoga website. http://www.doyouyoga.com/the-benefits-of-yoga-at-different-ages-88886. Accessed March 23, 2016. 7. Yoga: meditation and breathing. Kids Health website. http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/?search=y&getfields=description&q=meditation&site=kh&client=ms_t_en&output=xml_no_dtd&gsaRequestId=7457070404200936186&filter=0. Accessed March 23, 2016. 8. Keeping healthy: exercise. Johns Hopkins Cystic Fibrosis Center website. http://www.hopkinscf.org/living-with-cf-teen/keeping-healthy-teen/exercise-teen/. Accessed March 10, 2016. 9. Massage: get in touch with its many benefits. The Mayo Clinic website. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/massage/art-20045743. Accessed March 7, 2016. 10. What are the benefits of massage for children? Livestrong website. http://www.livestrong.com/article/114384-benefits-massage-children/. Accessed March 14, 2016. 11. 3 ways teenagers can benefit from massage. Invigorate Massage and Wellness website. http://invigoratemassageandwellness.com/2013/08/21/3-ways-teenagers-can-benefit-from-massage. Accessed March 24, 2016.

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