Recovery from surgery can not only be a difficult and stressful time. It can be extremely boring.
Here are some ideas to guide you on your journey through recovery and beyond. Tips on how to spend your post-op time in the hospital and at home as entertained, productive, healthy, and optimistic as possible.
Boredom be gone, here we go!
After surgery, you will have seas of time on your hands that will need to be filled because boredome is lurking.
Write a list: write down lists of your top 5 favorite movies and then see how many on the list you can get through. For example, top 5 gangster movies or places in the city you’ve always wanted to visit (to get out of the house). Jot down your top 5 favorite souls songs, top 10 plants you always wanted to grow but never did. You’ll get the idea.
Discover and download new music: Expand your musical horizons and download some songs or albums you don’t know yet. You can use Spotify, Pandora, Rdio, or YouTube to see what you like before you load up your iPod or Pono Pono Player.
Journal: Keep a record of your post-surgery journey. It will give you the opportunity to look back and see how far you’ve come. Your experiences can be helpful to others undergoing the same surgery too. Share them online.
Start a blog: instead of jotting down your thoughts and ideas in a notebook you could also enter the world wide web. is the most used blogging platform.
Read magazines: read on a tablet reader such as Nook or Kindle or get the Kindle app for your tablet. Check out Flipboard, Zite or Google Newsstand on your iPad.
Watch TV shows or movies: Some shows are such classics, they are must-see’s. Start all over at season 1 of Game Of Thrones or finally watch the epic TV show Mad Men. Subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon videos or rent or buy DVD’s.
Play video games: They make time fly. Dust off your Nintendo, Xbox, Gameboy, or Sony PSP or play games on your tablet or smart phone.
Start a new social media account: Options abound. Stream your recovery experiences via Periscope. Whether you start a Tumblr or Pinterest account to share images or begin tweeting on Twitter, time will pass quickly, that’s guaranteed. Want to keep up with the kids? Go to Instagram or Vine. Always had affinity with the hipster type? Visit Ello.
Draw: let your creative juices flow and draw cartoons, caricatures, doodles, comics or whatever you fancy. Drawing can be a therapeutic experience. When you’re really absorbed in your activity time flies like an arrow. Don’t have inspiration? The web has metric tonnes of howto’s, examples and color-in printouts for if you’re not in the mood of being creative.
Visit with friends and loved ones: Go for a walk, or sit together and have a visit – their presence will boost your mood and fight the boredom that comes with being housebound. Much like the need to get yourself back into routine, socializing will help you feel “normal”. If you’re not mobile enough, invite them over to your place.
Call a friend: or relative you haven’t talked to in ages
Chat online: instead of having online conversations with peers you can try something new and chat with random strangers. Go to omegle.com, tohla.com or strangermeetup.com and chat away anonymously with people all over the world. Who knows if a new friend for life may be among those strangers.
Productive things to do
Without proper planning, the time period after the intense post-surgery when your pain is managed but you aren’t at the point of returning to school or work can get away on you and you will feel bored – a detriment to your mood and ultimately your health. Here are a few suggestions of how to fill your time productively.
Learn a new skill: Take some time and learn something new – start learning to play the guitar, knit, programming Java or anything you like.
Start learning a new language: Now’s the time to finally delve into Spanish or Japanese. Or to pick up where you left with your foreign language efforts.
Make something: This will help you feel productive, particularly if you’ve been bed-ridden for any amount of time.
Clean up: and sort out that pile of old magazines, mail, bills to create some breathing space. Feels good right? Now take it a step further and..
Make a declutter plan: You’re immobilized yet amids the things you own that ended up owning you. You can see more clearly now how much stuff you’ve got lingering around that has no use at all. This is the opportunity to think out an approach to clear up the mess. You’ll create more space in your house and head. For inspiration and motivation, check out this .
Put up ads on Craigslist or eBay: for belongings you don’t need anymore and are worth selling. Other unwanted stuff can be tossed or gifted.
Create a handyman list: A list of chores assigned by you to finally get done in and around the house. A honey do list belongs to the possibilities too, as long as you’re not antagonizing hubby. Don’t forget y ou’re still dependent on his or her post-op care.
Train your brain: Play Sudoku or crossword puzzles or indulge in other brain teasers such as the following smartphone apps What’s My IQ, Move the Box, Clockwork Brain or Knowledge Trainer. Get the . There are thousands of websites offering free thinking games too. Hit up Kakuro.com for free Kakuro puzzles and play free Sodoku puzzles at Livewire Puzzles.
Read a book: it’s productive as you’ll learn new vocabulary and new ideas and it expands your way of thinking. Go grab that book that’s been collecting dust because you were always “too busy” have a go at it now. Finally you will be able to read Tolstoy, E.L. James, or Proust. Not so bad if you think about it huh? Go to Gutenberg.org or Kobobooks for free ebooks. Reading long magical book series such as Harry Potter or Game of Thrones can be rewarding (and time consuming) pastimes.
Listen to audio books: especially after surgery listening may be more convenient than reading on end. Tip: if you have trouble falling asleep, listen to a part of an audio book you already know, it helps you doze off.
Ask your (grand)children to read to you: It’s entertaining and aids their education.
Practice speed reading: Follow a free speed reading course on Youtube or premium one on Udemy. You will thank yourself later when you have learned employ techniques such as chunking and eliminating subvocalization and can read like the lightning (The speed reading world champion, Anne Jones reads 4,700 words per minute with 67% comprehension).
Organize old photos: Make most of your recovery time by finally moving those pictures in an album. You’re re-living good ol’ times while you’re at it.
Image: Nickelodeon / via
Get some sunshine: A daily walk, particularly with a friend or loved one, can be a real boost to your mood but the fresh air and vitamin D from the sun will enhance your immune system. It helps you doze off at night too (more in a bit).
Set goals: Whether it is to walk to the end of the block or to the front door, set a goal that will aid in your recovery. Make it a reasonable one so that you don’t give up. Having achieved your goals, as tiny as they may seem, will give you a good feeling about yourself and will motivate you to do other things as well.
Think positive: Try to look at the sunny side of a situation rather than focusing on the negative. Rain does not equal lack of sun, it’s good for the garden. Preached by all personal developments and other gurus. It’s a really important habit and especially in harder times it can be daunting but fruitful. Try it, you will heal better and become a better version of yourself. Recovery may feel slow at times but it will happen and you can remain mindful of your health.
Be grateful: Practice gratitude because your surgeons and nurses took so good care of you. Count your blessings, not your burdens. Research by Dr. Robert A. Emmons suggests that people who did this felt 25% happier. Write down or speak up what you’re cheerful for. For instance the support of your family and friends. For the fact that you’re recovering and will be back on your feet.
Pray: look up new prayers online. Read encouraging .
Help others: Be selfish, help another, it is a science-backed happiness enhancer. Even if you’re clustered to your bed or recliner, you may be able to think along with someone over the phone. Or type an email for them they have been postponing for a while.
Do something good
Sign petitions for good causes: Go to Change.org or and make the world a better place. You can start your own petitions too. Or join the movement and counterbalance the power of large corporations by holding them accountable for their actions.
Write short thank you notes: Thank your spouse, kids, family, friends, the medical team, the newspaper guy. It doesn’t matter who, you can thank anyone who you appreciate being in your life. Use a Post-it or another small note and hang it on the fridge, on the nightstand, bathroom mirror or send a card to the hospital.
Support rescue groups: in finding new homes for homeless animals. Share their photos and stories on .
Write letters for Amnesty International: you may find it satifsying to use your post-op time to writing petition letters to request for the release of prisoners.
Join Amazon Smile: you can choose a charity when you sign up at smile.amazon.com. The charity of your choice receives 0.5% of all your future Amazon purchase amounts, provided that you go to smile.amazon.com when you shop.
Stress can be an impediment to the healing process so any measures you can take to alleviate anxiety through the healing process will be beneficial. Being bed-ridden, non-weight bearing or just not your old physically active self can be a huge pain in the butt. You may need something to keep your hair pulling tendencies to a minimum. Let them keep their chill pills, here are natural ways to relax.
Just breathe: Various breathing exercises exist. They will not only help you feel better and stimulate recovery but also help you see things in perspective.
Breathe deeply: If feeling overwhelmed, and as long as it is not too painful, stop for five minutes and take a slow, deep breath. This will ease stress and anxiety. If anxiety is getting the best of you, taking a slow and deep calming breath can help.
Practice restorative Yoga: As soon as you are able post-operative, start with simple movements like turning your head from side to side and rotating your ankles and wrists. As the healing process allows, incorporate more complex movement.
Get massage therapy: If allowed by your doctor, massage can relieve tension in muscles and stress. You can get massage, ask a relative or go to a salon or use a self massage tool such as the .
Corpse Pose: according to YogaJournal.com, calms the brain and helps to relieve stress. To do the pose, lie on your back with your arms stretched at your sides with your palms facing up. Take care not to over extend your neck or arch your back in any way. Breathe deeply and slowly to relax your mind and body, remain in the pose for 3 to 5 minutes for the full benefit. Until you are fully recovered, have a partner help you get into position.
Meditate: Great for reducing stress and making you feel more centered and vital. To meditate, sit comfortably and close your eyes. Breathe slowly (visualize a soothing color going in, a stressful negative color out) and repeat a statement such as “I am well” to yourself.
Enjoy aromatherapy: Lavender and chamomile have both been linked with reducing stress and can aid sleep. Place a few drops on a pillow or small towel. If mixing scents into bathwater, be sure it is safe to do so. Essential oils come in various levels of potency and quality, research prior to purchase and use of the oils.
Try self hypnosis: Yes, it’s true, you can hypnotize yourself. The application of hypnosis for medical purposes dates back centuries. Studies are limited but some research shows it reduces anxiety before surgery as well as boost post-op recovery. found that: “the hypnosis group’s objectively observed wound healing to be significantly greater than the other two groups.” Check out the reviews of this to be amazed.
Sit still for a while each day: “Stillness is the altar of spirit” as philosopher Alan Watts put it poetically. It will help you get in touch with yourself and what is truly important. Post-surgery is the ideal time for reflection.
Research a new mantra for yourself or a friend: Mantras help clear your mind and focus your energy on the present moment or on a certain habit or thought process used as a guideline for life.
Image: Disney / Via
Health boosting activities
To make the most of your post-operative recovery time, you will want to boost your immune system and strengthen your body, from the inside out.
Get dressed every day: A small act but important to establish routine, even if it is to change into a new pair of sweatpants, it will keep your eyes on the end of recovery when you return to your regular routine.
Walk daily: After surgery it is common to feel isolated and sad; this small gesture of normalcy will help you start to feel more like yourself.
Expose yourself to nature: If you can’t walk far, just go toward the window. If you can, go out for a walk. Pay attention to the sky and trees. Exposure to plants or even a picture of nature helps us relax, reduce stress and even boosts healing.
Surround yourself with positive people: who are there to aid you in your recovery.
Diet improving activities
Eat healthy: If you didn’t already, now is the time. Your body is going to need all the nutrients it can get to heal. You’ll feel better and have more energy, allowing you to get back to your life.
Eat sufficient protein: A major building block of the body is protein and including rich sources of protein in your diet puts you at a significant advantage for your body to heal. Try boiled eggs, lean cuts of meat and nuts such as raw almonds which are high in protein and other nutrients.
Fiber intake: Be conscious of your fiber intake, the last thing you want when in the healing stage is to cause any strain that could result in further pain or at its worst, split stitches. High fiber foods include apples and vegetables and if fiber intake is a problem, take a supplement such a .
Gather easy to prepare yet healthy recipes: to make when you’re back to cooking. Join social cooking networks such as Foodily, Recipify, and Cucumbertown to be inspired, share recipes, and organize your newfound skills.
Take nutritional supplements: Consider nutritional post-surgery supplements if your diet has been adversely affected by the surgery or pain and discomfort following it.
Make (and consume) nutrient-packed smoothies: such as a peanut butter, banana and milk (dairy, almond or soy), can be a real added benefit to your diet. Speak with a physician prior to adding any supplements to your diet.
Read up on nutrition: and become an expert on nuts and seeds, vegetable smoothies or whatever interests you. Here’s a great resource for .
Sleep improving activities
Sleep well: Be sure to get enough sleep each night. Pain and discomfort are a disruption to a good night’s sleep, but you body heals best when you are well-rested. An adequate night’s rest also has a significant impact on your mood. If you don’t get sufficient sleep (which can be very difficult in a hospital), downlaod a sleep monitoring app or start a dream diary to enhance your sleeping patterns.
Get sunlight: We’ve already mentioned getting out for a daily walk, however if movement is limited, simply sitting outside and soaking up some Vitamin D will revitalize you. Getting sunlight exposure during the morning will benefit your Circadian rhythm and thus help you sleep at night.
Be patient: Don’t let your worries about healing keep you up at night. Accept it’s going to take time to heal. Pushing yourself to quickly can complicate your recovery and in the end, is not worth it. Surgery recovery time is dependent upon so many factors, your prior health history, the type of surgery and sometimes just plain luck.
Pick some of these post-surgery activities and…
before you know it you’re recovered
Recovery time is dependent upon many factors, your prior health history and type of surgery as well as plain luck. Prior to initiating any changes to your routine or incorporating any of these practices, speak with your doctor to ensure the chosen activity will not impede your recovery.
To heal physically as well as emotionally from the trauma of surgery it is important to take the time, be patient and allow the healing process to progress – ideally, with limited stress as it can be an impediment to the entire process.
Don’t forget to check out these fun post-op gifts that will help you beat boredom and recovery more quickly.
: stress management.