Stress Management and HIV
Choma, we’ve all faced a bit of stress in our lives; whether it’s from fights with friends, exams, pleasing your loved ones or relationship problems. But when you are living with HIV, it can be a bit more stressful because you are dealing with managing an illness. Choma, stress can mean different things to different people. Like, one situation can be so difficult to deal with for one person and may cause huge stress, but for someone else, it may cause little or no stress. If you’re living with HIV, these stressful situations may build up and negatively affect your health.
There’s no direct link between stress and worsening HIV, but stress can weaken your immune system. And, because HIV is linked to weakening your immune system, fighting off infections just becomes that a bit more difficult, choma. Although you can’t avoid stress, there are ways to better manage it so that you can also better manage fighting off infections.
Stress is a feeling you have when you react to a situation or pressure. The situation can come from many things like other people, events that are taking place in your life. Stressors are things that cause stress, like a fight, schoolwork, an ill family member, being bullied or pressure to pass your exams; just to name a few. Sometimes, stress may come and go but if you face a situation where there’s too much pressure then you may start feeling too stressed out and feel like the stress won’t go away. At times, feeling a little too stressed out could impact your health mentally, emotionally (you may feel too sad or upset) and physically (you may gain or lose weight, your mouth may get dry or palms may sweat) choma.
Other signs that you may be feeling too stressed out may include:
- Being negative all the time
- Struggling to concentrate
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Acting out of character, like crying or laughing for no reason
- Always feeling tired
- Not wanting to be left alone at all
- Wanting to be left alone a lot
- Having headaches that just won’t go away
Some of these signs can also show that you may suffer from depression choma. So, speak to a health practitioner to find out how you can get treatment.
Choma, the problem with stress and depression is that it can cause poor HIV self-care, meaning you may stop taking your treatment, whether it’s due to forgetting or not feeling motivated to stay healthy. Unfortunately, if you stop following your medication routine, you let the virus become resistant to the medications and therefore tougher to control.
It’s not always easy to deal with stress choma, but there are ways you can help yourself feel better when you do go through a hard time. The aim is to not make the stress go away or avoid it, it’s learning how to manage stress when it does come.
Here are guidelines to help you manage stress related to HIV.
Recognise what stresses you out
You may find that certain parts of living with HIV, like taking medication every day at a specific time, may increase your stress levels. Choma, make a list of all the things that may be causing you stress, then work on getting back your control over them. That way, you’ll better manage these triggers the next time you start feeling stressed out.
By setting a goal for better health, you already shift your way to thinking positively, and that choma can help you better manage your stress and HIV. In fact choma, having HIV is even more reason to live a healthy life. A nutritious diet, being active and taking good care of yourself will go a long way toward managing stress.
Speak to people you trust
Whenever you feel like you can’t cope, ask for help choma. Find an HIV support group than can offer support or speak to a trusted friend when life gets too hard or when you feel ready to disclose your status. Knowing that someone else cares can help you manage stress even better.
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