Ten Ways to Beat Boredom After Surgery
Nowadays, we all lead busy lives, juggling careers, family, friendships, and so much more! If you’re used to a hectic schedule, then the thought of taking time off to recover after surgery might not sound so bad. Cozying up on the couch with nothing but Netflix on the agenda? Sign us up!
While a little R & R is often enjoyable, couch potato life does eventually get old. During recovery, many patients find that while their physical state improves, their mental health can slowly start to unravel. So why does resting make us feel restless?
- Lingering effects from the anesthesia
- Pain and discomfort from the procedure itself
- Managing the symptoms of a suppressed immune system
- General fatigue and drowsiness caused by pain medications
- Feelings of isolation
- Anxiety about the outcome of the surgery
- Loss of independence as a result of limited mobility
Between TV binges and social media marathons, our mental health can take a hit as we try to heal. In fact, evidence shows that mindless social scrolling and sadness go hand in hand, thanks to the so-called “comparison trap”. When you’re cooped up and bedridden post-op, you’re more vulnerable to a wandering mind that compares someone else’s “highlight reel” to your own life. And lets not forget the FOMO (fear of missing out) you might feel if you’re missing out on the activities your loved ones are plastering across your feed.
If post-op downtime has you feeling down, we’re sharing ten ways to beat boredom after surgery and a case of bedrest blues! So drop the smartphone and tell Netflix, no, you aren’t still watching. You’ve got ten better ways to beat boredom after surgery!
Ten Mood-Boosting Ways to Pass the Time Post Surgery
Join a surgery support forum
One of the hardest parts about recovering is feeling lonely or left out while you lay low. Joining a forum that’s specific to surgery and post-op healing is a great way to connect with others who are experiencing the same things you are. Whether you’re looking for answers to surgery-related questions, hoping to share personal recovery struggles and victories, or just looking for a place to connect with others in your position, a forum is a great way to beat boredom after surgery while combating feelings of isolation that can come up while you recover.
Create the ultimate “feel good” playlist
Research has shown that listening to upbeat music with the intention of improving one’s mood can actually lift our spirits. Use the extra free time recovery offers to create the perfect “pick me up” playlist with all of your favorite happiness harmonies. Explore new music and check out new artists you’ve never listened to before. Before you know it, you’ll be calling yourself DJ Downtime!
Schedule Skype or FaceTime dates with loved ones
You know all of those friends and family members you just never get to see enough of? Your recovery period is the perfect chance to schedule some quality catch-up time with those loved ones via Skype or FaceTime. It’s an awesome way to reconnect and beat boredom after surgery. You’ll feel like you’ve just had that long-overdue coffee date you’ve been meaning to schedule.
Plan a self-care spa day
What better way to spend some R & R than with some self-care pampering! Have a loved one pick up a few essentials (think: face masks, candles, nail polish, essential body oils, etc.) and create your own perfect at-home spa sanctuary. If you’re riding solo, draw yourself a bubble bath, light some candles, throw on some tranquil tunes, and completely zen out. If you have a partner to pamper with, you can give each other manicures, share a few healthy spa snacks, and maybe apply a hair mask to really go all-in with operation bed-rest beautification. Of course, don’t forget the cucumber slices for your eyes!
Sell your old or unwanted clothing
Have you always told yourself you were going to rummage through your wardrobe and get rid of the items you haven’t worn in years (or would never, EVER wear again-who remembers gaucho pants?). Like they always say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so while it may be hard to believe, there is someone out there who is just waiting to snatch up those “vintage” items that are cluttering up your closet. Selling old clothes is a great way to accomplish something productive while also getting you up and moving, which can make a big impact on your mental state. Plus, earning some extra money doesn’t hurt when it comes to putting most of us in a better mood.
Research recovery-friendly recipes
Whether you’re a master chef or specialize in bowls of cereal and microwavable mac and cheese, there’s a bounty of healthy recipes available online that can accommodate any level of culinary expertise. Research recipes that use ingredients that promote healing or immune function, or that include mood-boosting foods. Depending on what stage of recovery you’re in, you can ask a loved one to help you prepare a few of these meals, or throw on an apron and give it a whirl (or should we say a whisk) yourself!
Explore your creativity (and do it outside!)
Maybe you don’t consider yourself an artist, a painter, or a writer, but who’s to say you can’t become one? Or, maybe these were creative hobbies you let fall by the wayside when your life and schedule became congested with other obligations. No matter the case, tapping into a creative outlet can be extremely therapeutic and beneficial for your mental health and an awesome way to beat boredom after surgery. For an added mood boost, take your craft outside – the fresh air and vitamin D from sunlight have been shown to work wonders when we’re feeling down.
Look into stretches or exercises that are appropriate for your recovery
Time and time again, research shows that regular movement benefits our mental health. While your mobility may be limited, it’s always a good idea to look into safe and gentle ways to move your body while you recover. Even minor movements like short walks outside, gentle stretches, or periodic stand-up breaks can make you feel significantly better, both physically and mentally. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any and all exercises you decide to incorporate into your recovery regimen to ensure you’re not compromising your healing process in any way.
Take an online course
Have you ever wanted to learn a second language? Or maybe refine some useful work-related skills? Now’s your chance! Recovery after surgery is a great time to learn a new skill or improve on a talent you might already have. There are so many free online courses available that can teach you anything from how to play an instrument to basic knitting. Youtube is another great resource, with a ton of valuable video content to help you pick up a new skill set or master a craft.
Start a book club and host the first meeting
Book clubs offer the perfect excuse to hold monthly gatherings with a group of your friends. It’s a fun way to get back into reading regularly if that’s something that may have dropped from your daily routine now that we have such easy access to television streaming right at our fingertips. Since you’ll have some extra time on your hands while you recover, it’s a great opportunity to organize your friends, pick out the first book and host the inaugural meeting. With a book club, you’ll have a new story to entertain you while you rest and a lively get-together to look forward to, both of which will have a positive impact on your mental state and will help to beat boredom after surgery.
It’s not surprising that many patients face feelings of sadness after their procedure. If the stress of surgery itself hasn’t muddled your mood, sometimes the process of recovery is enough to bring on a bout of the blues. Don’t let post-op depression bring you down! You’ve got ten new ways to beat boredom after surgery!