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Save your energy

Without even knowing it, you may be wasting energy every day. Finding easier ways to do things will give you more energy to do the things you enjoy! The following are ways to save your energy.

Plan ahead

  • Schedule time to exercise. You may find it helpful to combine exercise with another activity. For example, ride your stationary bike while you watch TV.
  • Organize your home and work area. Store things where you use them.
  • Plan ahead for rest. Schedule rest breaks or power naps. If you get too involved in activities that cause fatigue, try setting a timer for 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, see how you are feeling and decide if you should continue or rest.
  • Use waiting time to relax. Instead of being stressed by the wait at the checkout line or in traffic, use the time to practice relaxation breathing.
  • Schedule time for you. Plan time for hobbies and activities you enjoy. Lunch with a friend can reduce your stress and boost your energy.
  • Plan for meals. Cooking can be simpler if you plan and prepare ahead of time. Make a double batch and freeze half for an easy meal later.
  • Plan for shopping. A list will eliminate trips for forgotten items. Avoid going to the store at busy times.
  • Get out of the fast lane. When possible, avoid rush hour. Schedule appointments and errands at other times.
  • Stay flexible. Even the best plans may need to be changed.

Pace yourself

  • Pace yourself. Move slowly and easily. Stop and rest often. Don't rush.
  • Use your energy wisely. Identify when your energy level is best and use this time to your advantage.
  • If you get fatigued in midafternoon, try cooking and doing housework earlier in the day. Save the midafternoon for lighter activities or a nap.
  • Find a balance. Don't try to do everything all in one day. Spread housework over the whole week, balancing heavy and light chores.
  • Set reasonable goals and make them realistic. For instance, clean only one room a day or decide to just dust.
  • Find shortcuts. Combine shopping trips with errands when you can. Avoid having to backtrack.
  • Climb stairs safely. You may need take up to four deep breaths before you climb stairs, "double step" to use less energy, put a stool at the landing to rest, or avoid carrying heavy loads.
  • Use a stepstool or sturdy climbing device when you reach for an object.

Make priorities

  • Evaluate your priorities. What do you have to do, and what do you want to do? What can you eliminate or simplify? If you never seem to have time for the things you enjoy, maybe you need to re-evaluate priorities.
  • Delegate work. Have family members (including children) help with housework. Have groceries delivered. If you can afford it, hire help. Also, your community may offer services to help with meals, transportation or chores.
  • Eliminate chores that aren't needed. Leave your bed unmade or let the dishes air dry. Use your energy to do something you want to do, instead of things you feel you have to do.
  • Recognize your limits and just say "no."
  • Learn to let go. Don't be a perfectionist. If you enjoy entertaining, have people over for dessert or potluck instead of a five-course meal. Let others help you.
  • Simplify your life. Buy easy-care, wash-and-wear clothing so you won't have to iron and hand wash items. Try a low-maintenance hairstyle.
  • Make your health your No. 1 priority.
  • Don't stand when you can sit. If shaving makes you tired, put a mirror on the table. Rest your elbows. Sit on a high stool to iron or cook.

Consider using equipment to save energy

Equipment is available to help you save energy. These items can be found at medical supply stores, discount stores or local pharmacies.

You may be eligible for community equipment loan programs. For more information, call the Goodwill Easter Seal Equipment Loan Program at 651-646-2591 or your local American VFW or Lions Club.

A hand-held shower head

hand-held shower kit

A long-handled sponge

long-handled sponge

A raised toilet seat

raised toilet seat

Installing grab bars .

grab bar for bathroom

Elastic laces and long-handled shoe horn

elastic laces and long-handled shoe horn

A reacher.

long-handled reachers

A sock aid

sock aid

Tongs

tongs

A tub chair

tub chair

A tub transfer bench

tub transfer bench

Do relaxation exercises

Stress — physical or emotional — can slow your body's ability to heal. When you relax, the tension in your body melts away. Just spending 20 minutes twice a day relaxing can help restore your energy.

Use the following relaxation exercises anytime you feel tense during the day. Be sure to find a quiet place, turn down the lights and close the door. Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Try to keep noise and other distractions to a minimum. You may want to play soft, soothing music during your relaxation exercises.

deep breathing

To deep breathe correctly, you must use your abdominal muscles, as well as your chest muscles.

  • Breathe in through your nose as deeply as possible.
  • Let your breath out through your mouth, slowly and completely.
  • Rest and then repeat these steps 10 times.

progressive relaxation

This exercise will allow you to focus on different body parts and give you a general feeling of relaxation.

  • Lie down or sit in a comfortable chair.
  • Close your eyes and think of your face muscles.
  • Let them totally relax.
  • Think of your neck and shoulder muscles.
  • Let them totally relax.
  • Repeat with each body part moving from your head to your toes. Let your body become loose and warm. Feel the tension melt away.

imagery

This exercise is used to manage pain and distress, give you a better sense of well-being and help your body heal.

  • Think of a pleasant or meaningful experience, or a favorite, restful place like a beach or cabin.
  • Let happy thoughts and images relax you.
  • Close your eyes and picture that scene or place.
  • Focus on the sights, sounds and smells of your favorite scene or place as you relax.

 

 

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Heart Failure, third edition, ISBN 1-931876-20-7

First published: 10/04/2002
Last updated: 07/19/2008

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts