Choose healthy relaxation techniques
Clearly, stress should be controlled for a better quality of life. One of the simplest ways to stop tension from building up in your body and mind is through healthy daily habits.
Start with a healthy diet. Fortunately, there are plenty of heart-healthy foods that are also known to combat stress – focus on getting some of these into your diet:
- Nuts (unsalted)
While it’s unclear whether certain foods can immediately bring down your stress level, some things are known to push it up. Caffeine is the most common culprit, as it stimulates your nervous system, but sugar and other simple carbs will lead to fluctuating blood sugar levels that can leave you feeling moody and on edge, too.
Exercise goes a long way. Regular exercise is great at reducing stress, but prioritize frequency over intensity. Your doctor will be able to give you guidelines that will help you stay in a safe zone when you’re working out. Brisk walking or gentle cycling can be a good place to begin. Find an activity that keeps your muscles moving without causing you to strain or lose your breath and commit to making it a part of your daily or weekly routine.
Good sleep is a good habit. There’s no substitution for the rejuvenating power of a good sleep. In fact, it’s so important that even a single night of poor sleep can affect memory, mood, and judgment. Take some time to improve your sleep setting: clear away the clutter in your bedroom, adjust the light levels for optimum comfort, and avoid stimulating activities right before bed (try leaving your cell phone in another room overnight).
It’s natural to try to ease your discomfort with easy and immediate remedies, but when you live with AFib, you should be extra careful about using these common relaxants:
Alcohol doesn’t mix well with AFib. You’ve probably heard that a glass of red wine is good for your heart, but that’s not always the case. Even a small amount of alcohol can trigger AFib symptoms in some people, and too much can interfere with sleep and leave you feeling worn out and irritable. Learn more about AFib and alcohol here.
Herbal supplements aren’t always safe. Many supplements may seem harmless, but beware of herbal remedies: some can interfere with common anticoagulants, which are often prescribed for heart conditions. If you’re taking the blood thinner warfarin, don’t brew any herbal teas or take any natural vitamins before discussing it with your doctor.
Be proactive, not reactive
When you feel in control, your confidence grows, and you may find you’re more emotionally resilient. In turn, it’s important to take an active role in your treatment: read up on AFib symptoms and the latest research in available treatments, and talk to your doctor regularly about your own AFib management. Understanding what your body is going through, and what you can do about it, will help you stay upbeat and in control.