If you’ve had, or are having surgery, you know recovery is tough. Getting back to normal can take days, weeks, and months. Besides basic health tips like eat well, and take a multi vitamin there are things that can help heal your mind after surgery too.
Stillness isn’t easy. Especially when so many of us thrive on busy lifestyles. But after surgery, you’re forced to not only quiet your body, but your mind. Each persons experience is different but it’s still a process for everyone that goes through it.
Regardless of your situation, there are a few simple ways to ease that process. Self care tips to help heal your mind after surgery a bit quicker.
There’s no one way to discuss healing. It’s a unique journey for everyone. Long recoveries are difficult no matter who you are. If you’re waiting for something like exercising, leaving bed, or trying to conceive, patience can be hard to grasp. Time can make days on a calendar feel like years.
In January I underwent a robotic laproscopic myomectomy to remove fibroids that had grown to over 350 grams. They’ed altered my life in a litany of awful ways and taking them out was a big decision. One made after a difficult journey. Leading up to the surgery (my first ever not counting sinus in 2009) I was anxious. Like anybody facing a major operation. But I was peaceful too. Ready to power through and be on the other side.
Once I did, I felt lighter. Not just in actuality, but in spirit too. Physical healing after a myomectomy can take up to eight weeks. But the body itself really takes a few months to fully return to normal. Up to six months if you’re planning to try and conceive.
As someone whose been through a long surgery recovery, I know how hard it can be. The beginning stages of mine weren’t easy on my body or psyche. Recuperating, aside from painful can take a mental toll too. Even for a homebody like me, laying low eventually brought out my inner Jack Torrance.
But I also know, the first day you start to truly feel better is so sweet. No matter who are you.
Plus, there are ways to ensure being homebound isn’t totally awful. Because the less stressed you are, the higher the chances of healing faster.
Recently, I heard something that stuck with me. Time is a stagnant thing. It doesn’t change, slow down, or speed up. It never stops, it just keeps flowing, it’s a constant. But we’re the one thing that isn’t fixed. That’s built to move.
Once I heard this simple idea, it started to waft into my thinking. Having to remain immobile or less active can be a challenge. It can hurt physically and mentally. Instead of pushing through the time though, be still inside it. Use it as a tool for moving forward and your outlook on the healing process can change. Time will pass no matter what, but it’s up to us to use it wisely.
Being stuck at home can be a curse. Or a safe place where your biggest fear is the space between the door and the real world. But eventually, you will set foot back into it.
Think of it like a zamboni over your body. Smoothed out layers and a fresh clean, new surface and beginning. What you do with it is up to you.
Here are some easy tips to heal your mind after surgery:
Get into that whole gratitude thing. Each morning when you wake up write down three things you’re grateful for in life. They can be anything. Just not big, obvious stuff like health, and family. Be creative. I used to scoff at it like any good, neurotic New Yorker. But being supremely grateful every single day can surprisingly change your outlook on life. It can even help to heal your mind after surgery.
Focus on something you like to do and do it. For me, it was movies, (lots and lots of movies) and writing. For others it might be journaling, reading, (I only read Becoming and the Secret) or knitting. The point is our passions are important to our healing because they can reduce stress and even aid our recovery.
Journaling. Even if you only do it randomly, keep a record of your thoughts. Expressing yourself is one of the best ways to help heal your mind after surgery faster. So, write, draw, collage, paint. If the waiting is getting particularly hard, (and it can), make a vision board. If you’re trying to look ahead, it might be exactly what you need to get a clearer picture of the future.
Plant a seed, or get a budding plant or flower. While it grows you’ll find it’s a useful metaphor for your own blossoming. Besides the obvious fact that as we know, seasons signify change. As the buds begin to bloom it can symbolize not just changing months but a chart of your own growth. It’s a small detail that can make a big difference in your mood. If only for a moment.
Plan a trip. Because a trip on the calendar usually always inflicts happiness or excitement. Whether it’s a beach getaway, or just a night at a nearby hotel. Having something to look forward to won’t just help you deal with the recovery time. It will also give you something to look towards.
Write out a list of goals and intentions. They don’t have to be deep. Something as simple as scheduling that barre class as soon as you’re cleared to work out again. Or getting tickets to a fun concert a few months away. Studies say that visualizing what we want is a proven method to get it. So the more active and healthy we imagine ourselves, the better our odds at healing faster after surgery.
Detoxify your space. One of the best ways to heal your mind after surgery is to see it as a fresh start. One way to clear the path is to literally clear the air which you can do with some sage burning. A process that is meant to cleanse and purify a space.
If sage burning isn’t your thing, try redecorating or doing some Feng Shui. Something to shift the energy and give you fresh eyes and a fresh start. I promise it will help.
Don’t forget to move. At first you won’t want to. But movement, essentially walking, is one of the best ways to feel better in a timely fashion. It benefits your body and your mind, giving you purpose. In that purpose you can find strength. Even if it’s only down the street to your local Starbucks.
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