Why Self-Care Is Important

DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The material contained on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider with any questions.

Can I live a normal life with pulmonary arterial hypertension?

For many people with PAH, trying to get back to a “normal life” is challenging. You may grapple with the concept of your “new normal” and how your PAH diagnosis changes your familiar routine. Although some aspects of your life will surely change due to PAH, maintaining a great self-care routine may help you feel more like yourself and even improve some of the negative effects of PAH in your daily life.

Why self-care is important article thumbnail

What does self-care look like with PAH?

Good self-care can look very different from person to person. It’s important for everyone to practice some basic self-care, like personal hygiene, proper nutrition, and getting sufficient rest. But did you know that self-care can mean more than that? Or that your self-care routine might look totally different from someone else’s?

Your self-care routine is all about doing what makes you feel your personal best—physically, emotionally, and mentally. What does this look like for you? What small things can you do daily and what kinds of things would it help to prioritize weekly or monthly on a regular basis?

Self-care looks different for everyone, but to get you started here are a few popular and PAH-friendly self-care activities you can consider incorporating.


Have you ever wished you could join a murder mystery book club? Or have you been meaning to sign up for a membership at your town library? Reading can be a great way to stimulate your mind and reduce stress! A 2009 study found that people who spent just 6 minutes a day reading were able to lower their stress by up to 68%!


Meditation is a free, easy way to slow down and focus on your body, breathing, and wellness. In a 2019 case study, one woman with PAH describes that over the previous 17 years, she has found success in practicing both yoga and meditation to help improve her breathing and give her more peace of mind.

Meditation can sound intimidating or strange to many people, but it can be as simple as:

  • Sitting or lying down in a comfortable, quiet area inside or outside your home
  • Closing your eyes, relaxing, and breathing naturally
  • Focusing your mind on only your breathing for several minutes

Listening to podcasts

These days, there are tons of podcasts available for free on any smartphone. From comedy and celebrity gossip to true crime and politics, there is a podcast for everyone. In fact, there are even podcasts about living with PAH.


Journaling is a great habit for those with PAH. Not only will it give you a place to log your daily symptoms, improvements, and goals—but it can also give you a private outlet for your thoughts and feelings along your journey. Finding a healthy way to express and process your emotions might help you cope with the more difficult days that may come along with PAH.

Taking a class

Are you into the arts? Fashion? Astronomy? Want to learn a new foreign language? Self-care includes pursuing your individual interests, whatever they may be. Check out your local arts center, community colleges, or adult learning center to uncover what is offered in your area. If you live in a more remote location, check online! Nowadays, you can find things like yoga classes and virtual sight-seeing through platforms like Zoom.

Visiting with others

Sometimes, making time in your day to visit with a loved one may have big emotional payoffs. Whether it’s a sibling, close friend, family member, or social group, spending time with others may make you feel more connected to the world around you. It may also help improve feelings of depression or loneliness.

A woman visiting friends and family members as an important part of self care

How does exercise or being active fit into PAH self-care?

For many, self-care also includes getting outside for a short daily walk or doing a 6-minute PHitness video a few times a week. Routine movement and exercise are an important part of a healthy lifestyle—especially for those with PAH. Remember that everyone’s PAH is different, so it’s important to consult your healthcare team to discuss what’s right for you before starting a new exercise routine.

Staying active may help:

  • Improve PAH symptoms, including shortness of breath
  • Reduce the risk of other chronic conditions like diabetes
  • Improve your overall mood and combat depression
  • Increase your energy levels and reduce fatigue

What is considered “active”?

Getting active doesn’t necessarily mean you need to start an intense weightlifting routine! In fact, according to the American Heart Association’s recommended activity levels for adults, any activity is better than no activity. So, getting up and moving throughout the day—even through “light-intensity” activities like a short walk—may help prevent health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

Join the PAH Initiative community!

Join the PAH Initiative to be among the first to learn about new educational resources, find out when PAH events are scheduled, and get inspired by others who are moving forward on their PAH journey.

Join the PAH Initiative

You may also be interested in …

PAH & exercise

Wondering how to work exercise into your PAH treatment plan? Check out these tips for exercising safely.

Read Article
PAH treatment plan tips for exercising safely article thumbnail