Heart Failure - Daily Activity and Work

Having experienced heart failure, it is important that you make gradual changes such as adopting a healthy lifestyle to improve your heart health.

Many people can continue to carry out their daily activities and lead a relatively normal lifestyle, despite having a heart condition. To help your heart to heal, it is important that you return to your previous home, leisure and work activities gradually.

Energy Conservation

Energy conservation techniques are useful ways that you can adopt to help you return and continue doing the things you used to do in your daily life. Here are some techniques for conserving energy:

  • Approach your day calmly.
  • Allow enough time for each task so that you do not have to rush.
  • Plan realistically and prioritise the things you need to do for the day.
  • Take short breaks and rest between tasks, even when not feeling tired.

You should consider using energy conservation techniques in your gradual return to daily activities. Some people with heart failure will also benefit from using special equipment and/or making changes to their home environment. Do consult your occupational therapist if you have concerns about your return to daily activities.

Generally, it is better for people with heart failure to stay active as much as possible. Continue to do the activities that you enjoy.

Returning to Work After a Heart Failure

Your return to work will be based on your overall health, symptoms and your rate of recovery. You should work as long as you can. Working can help you feel less alone, isolated and depressed.

At first, you may feel that working is impossible, especially if you have a lot of symptoms or have been recently hospitalized. So, it may be helpful to wait until your medical therapy is working well and you are feeling better before you decide on whether to continue work or not.

Talk to your doctor about the type of job you have. Your doctor may help you to decide if your job would affect your condition or if you need to make changes in the way you do your job.

Working on Your Physical Activity Programme

You may increase your stamina by working on your activity programme. Then you will have more energy to do your job. If your job requires physical labour, you may need to move to a less strenuous one.

Planning for Better Heart Health

You can plan rest periods or modify your activities at work such as:

  • Simplify your work task and set realistic goals.
  • Set and follow a realistic daily schedule.
  • Plan your activities early and avoid rushing.
  • Do the things that take up more energy when you are feeling at your best.
  • If necessary, rest before and after activities.
  • Finish your task on another day or when you feel less tired.
  • Ask for help, divide the task among colleagues, if possible.
  • Do not push, pull or lift heavy objects that are more than 3kg that require you to strain.
  • Use the lift or elevator if your work needs you to climb up and downstairs many times.
  • Keep your feet up to reduce the swelling.
  • Do not plan activities right after a meal (e.g., lunchtime).
  • Always carry your medicines with you.
  • Make sure you have your doctor’s or nurse’s phone numbers.
  • Get a good rest and sleep after work.

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