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Coping with tough times

Stuff happens in life, nothing stays the same, whether it's challenging health issues, or difficulties at school, home, work, or in relationships. Sometimes, people have a sense of uncertainty about the future when living with a heart condition. It can also be hard managing the ups and downs if you have ongoing symptoms. Feelings and situations can at times seem overwhelming and difficult to cope with. Here are some ideas to help you to support yourself through those times:

Phone a friend - it's often good to share. Try not to bottle things up. Talk to a sympathetic friend, family member, teacher, counsellor, or phone a helpline. Sometimes it helps to talk to others who have had similar experiences or who were also born with a heart condition - go online, blog, get support from The Somerville Foundation Message Board, join us on Facebook and come to our events.

Distract yourself with other activities - do things you enjoy and know help you feel better. Listen to your favourite music, dance, watch TV or DVD's, play computer games, read, go for a walk, hug a tree, stroke the dog, go out.                                              

Express yourself - write it down, start a journal, write a poem, or a song, scribble, paint, draw, dance. Don't worry about artistic merit, it's about 'getting it out'.

Do things to help you de-stress - relax in a warm bath, imagine yourself in a safe and comforting place, look at something peaceful or beautiful. 

Remind yourself that feelings do pass and change over time - so hold in there and focus on getting through the day. Sit it out, wrap up in a duvet, sleep.

Avoid using drugs and alcohol when emotional - these can intensify feelings, affect your judgement and may lead you to feel worse.

Be prepared - if you know that there are times when you might feel down, angry, upset, tense, it can be useful to write a list of things that you can do and people you can call. Make a 'comfort box' or scrapbook for yourself and put in photos, images, sayings, chocolate, a cuddly toy - anything that you can focus on when the going gets tough. If you are going into hospital think about what you can take in that will help you pass the time and distract you from unpleasant procedures and tests. 

Give yourself a break - sometimes we can be hard on ourselves, expect too much or just overdo it. It's usual to have ups and downs in mood in response to what is happening in our lives. Treat yourself with kindness. 

Remember that it is okay to ask for help - we all need help and support at different times in our lives. Sometimes it can be useful to sit down and talk through worries and troubles with someone. Here is a pdf of the different ways 16 - 24 year olds can access counselling and other therapies.

We also have a wealth of information on managing your heart condition across our website. Check out our pages on physical health and emotional health.

You are also very welcome to talk with Anne Crump our Mental Health and Wellbeing Coordinator about any concerns you might have: / 020 8240 1165 

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Help & Advice

Information on managing your heart condition, including Physical, Emotional and Mental Health.

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