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Heart Recovery

Support from loved ones can make a world of difference to your heart recovery



Heart disease changes your life and your affects your loved ones Being diagnosed with heart disease changes your life. And it affects those who love you too.

Although more and more people are living (and thriving) with heart disease today than in the past, it's still a life threatening condition and one that can alter how you look at life.

Support from loved ones is a vital part of your heart recovery - not just in the immediate days and weeks after a heart attack or heart surgery, but ongoing in the months and years to follow.

Loved ones can help you make any necessary lifestyle changes, motivate you to exercise, or stop you from overdoing things! They can cheer you up when you're feeling down, and they can share your frustrations, worries, and fears.

This may, however, be easier said than done. You may be struggling to redefine your own self image and you may be reluctant to accept help because you see it as a sign of weakness. Or your loved ones may be finding it difficult to give you the support you need. It could be that they just don't know what to do or say, or they may be having trouble coming to grips with your situation.

You may be surprised at who steps up to the plate and who doesn't. It's not always the people we expect.

Conflict

If you're not ready to make changes in your lifestyle - such as quitting smoking or losing weight, this may cause conflict with a well intentioned person who cares about your well being. You may not want to hear what they have to say. Or despite their best intentions, they may not say it in a supportive way... or at least in a way that you find supportive.

You may be feeling that your loved ones blame you for getting ill - "If only you had quit smoking!" or you may be blaming yourself. Move beyond it. You can't change the past. Focus on what you are doing right... now and for the future!

Fear

Not only is it normal for you to experience some fear and anxiety as you recover, but remember your family will be feeling the same emotions. And as a result, they may overreact or be overprotective. With time, as you get better both physically and emotionally, these reactions will subside.

Communicate

As you recover, keep the lines of of communication with your loved ones open. This will help you work through any conflict or establish what level of support you need and are comfortable with.

Set some boundaries and expectations with your loved ones - what kind of support you would appreciate from them, and what you don't want them to do.

Caregivers need support too

It's important for your loved ones to take care of themselves. It can be exhausting and emotionally draining to support someone during an illness and recovery - so it's important that your loved ones get enough rest and support of their own.





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