After an extended illness or surgery, it is sometimes necessary to undergo a long-term recovery process to get back on your feet. Long-term recovery from any medical event, whether planned or unplanned, is a straightforward process of practicing self-care and following discharge orders, which is often easier said than done.
If you’re like many people, getting back on your feet and returning to work and life “as normal” are goals you can’t wait to achieve, yet your body may be betraying you with signals to slow down, rest, and take your time. You could do more harm than good if you try to resume your regular schedule without listening to your body’s cries for rest and recovery. Think you’re going to go stir crazy?
1. Follow Discharge Instructions to the Letter
If your doctor says sit, then sit. If you have a list of medications to take for pain management, stay ahead of the game to stay comfortable while your body repairs itself. Any activity on a list of “to avoid” means it’s off-limits until you get clearance from your doctor. To stray from this protocol is to set yourself back days, weeks, or even months after your recovery begins.
2. Eat and Drink Well
Give your body nourishing food and drink during your recovery period. Lean proteins, plenty of fruits and veggies, and whole grains are your best bet for fast repair and healing of the body’s tissues. Avoid alcohol, sugar, and processed foods, as they can clog up the body’s elimination process and keep toxic substances in the system. Eat great and eliminate is the name of the game for getting your body moving once more.
3. Plan for Some In-Bed Entertainment
While you don’t have to remain in bed for your entire recovery period, planning for some sitting/lounging time is in order. Stockpile some books, listen to good music, and consider making some upgrades to your television and home theater system. You might as well use this time for binge-watching–nearly consequence-free–as you prepare for a return to life “as normal”. Take up a new hobby like knitting or putting puzzles together to build neural connections and relieve recovery boredom.
4. Practice Self-Care that Inspires Optimal Health
The body has a marvelous ability to use innate wisdom to repair bone, muscle, tissue, and restore balance to all systems, yet every once in a while, we could use a little help to boost mood and make us feel better. Why not try one of the local massage services or take a day at the spa, or take up a new meditation practice while you plan to take on the world? Get your hair done, implement a new skincare regime, and make sure you’re ready to go when your recovery period is officially over.
Taking these small yet significant steps to efficiently recover will keep you out of the ER and get you back on your feet healthier, happier, and stronger than ever before. Here’s to your best health!