Surgery can be an important step on your path to wellness. It can also take a lot out of you, leaving you feeling depleted and even depressed. It is essential to have a plan of action for taking care of yourself as you recuperate.
Along with following your doctor’s instructions, you can practice a number of self-care actions that can hasten your recovery and help you maintain a positive outlook, which is so important during your treatment and beyond.
1. Put Yourself First
This can be very difficult when you are so used to putting the needs of others before your own, but it is crucial enough to be first on your to do list. Rest when you need to, listen to your body and lean on those you love. Making yourself top priority will help you get back to caring for everyone else more quickly.
2. Nourish Your Body
Your diet can be a significant tool to use in your recovery. Make every meal and snack count. Include ample protein, as this is the building block your body needs to heal. Of course, fruits and vegetables provide fundamental nutrients, as well. If your appetite has decreased, try eating several small meals throughout the day instead of two or three large ones.
3. Ease into Movement
Physical exercise can aid in the healing process, but don’t try to do too much too soon. When your doctor gives you the go-ahead to begin, start out with simple activity such as short walks. Pick a time of day when you typically have the most energy. Try to do just a little more every day, even if it is simply a few more steps than the day before.
4. Rest and Relax
Just as physical activity is beneficial to your recuperation, getting adequate rest and reducing stress can go a long way towards a speedy recovery. Nap when you feel tired. Have an at-home spa day, sit on the porch and watch the kids play or binge-watch a show you have been meaning to watch on Netflix.
5. Tackle Small Tasks
As you begin to feel more like your old self, getting things done around the house can give you a sense of hope, purpose and accomplishment. Starting off, think small and slow, looking for honey-dos you have put off that won’t take too much effort or energy such as organizing old photos or cleaning out a junk drawer.
6. Ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your medical team if you have concerns or problems during your recovery. Your doctor is there to answer your questions and help you with issues from pain, swelling or wound care to discomfort, insomnia or constipation. Never feel as though your concerns are silly or bothersome. Even if they turn out to be normal side effects, a quick call or email can give you peace of mind.
7. Be Patient
The healing process takes time. Take it one day, one step or one moment at a time, if need be. Listen to your body and your intuition. Follow your doctor’s recommendations and look for signs of progress, no matter how seemingly small they may be. Show yourself grace and keep up your optimistic outlook. Above all, give yourself the time and the care your body needs to recover.