Irises, flowers growing out of a planner, schedule book. Spring, growth, healing, recovery.

Finding Your Routine

When it comes to managing chronic conditions, having a routine is essential. For many of us, dealing with the daily struggles and challenges of having heart failure can become frequently overwhelming and exhausting. Sometimes not even knowing where to start is the hardest part. Here are just a few tips for finding a routine that works for you.

Find what works

Everyone is unique

Every one of us will have a slightly different routine, and that’s totally okay! What works well for me might not work for you at all. Not all heart failure is the same so our routines won’t be the same either. If you are new to heart failure and don’t have a routine at all, don’t fret and stress over it. It may take time to settle into it.

Start small

Start small and build from there. For me, I keep all of my daily medications in the same place on my vanity in my bedroom. When I sit down to get ready for the day, I take them before I do anything else. I always make sure to have a full water bottle there as well. If you are on oxygen and have to leave your home, get in the habit/routine of checking to be sure your portable tanks are full. If you have a small portable concentrator check the battery level etc.

Be open to change

As our lives and our heart failure change, so will our routines. Personally, I hate change. I absolutely hate it but have no choice to deal with it. I like things the same and when that changes, no matter how small it is, it can make me feel completely overwhelmed. However, sometimes change is good. As people with chronic health conditions, we have to be ready and adapt to medication changes, the addition of oxygen therapy, and the list goes on.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

As we all know probably too well, sometimes we are just too exhausted or don’t feel well enough to keep up with part of our routines. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It might be asking a friend to go grocery shopping for you or having a family member pick up your prescription from the pharmacy.

I am a pretty independent person so this was difficult for me at first. I resisted and regretted it when I pushed myself too far. One thing I learned was that people are mostly eager to help, and all I had to do was ask.

Routine medical appointments

Meetings from afar

Keeping your regularly scheduled doctor's appointments is of utmost importance. We live in the digital age and I have been so thankful for telehealth and video appointments with my doctor over the past year. Being able to still communicate even without being physically in their office has been wonderful.

Open communication

Be sure to have an open line of communication with your medical team even between scheduled appointments and never feel bad about reaching out should you need to. It is your health after all, and keeping you well is a very important part of their job. I keep a paper calendar as well as the calendar on my iPhone where I track my appointments and when I need to request my medication refills.

Keeping an active routine

When I say ‘keep an active routine’ I’m not suggesting that everyone go out and run a marathon every day as this is wildly unrealistic for the vast majority. Staying as active as you are able, even if that means getting out of bed and walking around your house or just doing arm exercises when seated. Every little bit helps and your body will thank you.

These are just a few tips to get started when forming your own routine. I would love to hear other tips and tricks that you have found beneficial!

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