Living with AFib: The Importance of Self-Care

Living well with AFib goes beyond taking your medication, eating well, and staying active. These things are a great start, but it’s not uncommon to feel a lot of strong emotions as you adjust to this new normal. The most difficult time is often right after your diagnosis, when you may be still trying to shake that feeling of being diagnosed with something you’ve never heard of before. But not feeling like yourself doesn’t have to last—the following self-care techniques may help you manage feelings of stress, anxiety, and even anger.

1. Ask for help

Don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend or family member for help if you need it. Living with a condition like AFib can be difficult, and knowing you have someone to lean on can be reassuring. You may also want to explore local support groups or online communities for people who also have AFib.

2. Get enough sleep

Everyone is different, but most healthy adults need about 6–8 hours of sleep each night. Getting enough quality sleep has a positive impact on your mood, eating habits, energy levels, and more. Try to stay more active, limit caffeine and screen time before bed, and establish a consistent bedtime to give yourself the best chance of a good night’s sleep.

3. Consider meditation or yoga

Mindfulness practices like meditation or yoga can help reduce feelings of stress or anxiety. Both practices focus on the breath and acknowledging thoughts as they come and go. Yoga is also a great, low-impact way to stay active. Not ready to join a local yoga class or download a meditation app? Simply stopping what you’re doing once or twice a day to breathe deeply can help calm and clear your mind.

4. Find healthy outlets for stress

When your stress levels are elevated, try taking a walk or writing your feelings down in a journal. Participating in a hobby that you love or volunteering can also help you manage stress.

5. Practice gratitude

Even when times are tough, gratitude can lift your spirits and gently shift your thinking. Before you go to sleep at night, try to think of three things you were thankful for that day—they don’t have to be big things, either. The laughter of a child or the sight of flowers in your garden can be positive reminders of the good things in life.