Happy Wednesday everyone!
If you are reading this post, it’s because you (or someone you know) has gone through surgery, is set to have surgery…or are a loyal follower/family member lol Whatever your reason, I thought I would share ways to recover mentally, while you are recovering physically from a surgery.
In my short 28 years of living, I have had two surgeries. During my junior year of college, I was playing on a flag football team with some of the young adults of my church, when I had an unfortunate accident. I switched to play defense and was trying to capture the flag, when the top of my body went one way and the bottom half went another way. At that moment I heard a snap…and later I was told everyone could hear the snap throughout the field. The doctors informed me that I had torn my right anterior cruciate ligament (or ACL for short). It didn’t hurt to walk on it, but putting weight on it could have damaged it even more.
Then, a couple of months ago, I went to the OB/GYN for one matter and was told I had other problems to concern myself with. Apparently, several of my fibroids had grown to a point where they needed to be removed with surgery. They were taking over, pushing other organs to the side and causing (what I thought were unrelated) symptoms like weight gain.
The suckiest thing about recovering physically from surgeries (at least for me), is knowing that life is still going on without you. One moment you’re going to work, hanging out with friends, running errands on the weekend, and the next moment you’re stuck in the house…on one floor…in your bedroom…looking at the same four walls everyday. It can be easy to get into a depressive slump while recovering from surgery, but I want to give you a few tips that has helped me.
Shift your mind on other things
The first week after this past surgery, I was in so much pain. But in between the periods of sleep and pain, I started to binge Manifest. However, once that ended, I needed to busy myself with other things. I started reading (and listening to audiobooks), writing in my journal, listening to podcasts (current favs: In the Dark season 2, Work in Progress, and Becoming Something), and doing sudoku puzzles. Doing these activities helped to get my mind off of the pain and my current situation.
Surround yourself with positivity
Since my church has been doing 21 Days of Prayer during my recovery, this was easier for me to do. My plan was to cut out secular entertainment and social media. Now, there is nothing wrong with watching non-Christian entertainment, but I wanted to be intentional about the messages I was (un)consciously consuming. Even if you don’t believe in God, you understand that certain books will leave you in a better state, than say, 50 Shades of Gray. As I mentioned, this is a sucky (but crucial) time when it comes to recovery…so you want to surround yourself with positivity. Listen to podcasts, light a candle, listen to some TedTalks…your mental state during recovery is your choice.
Continue to connect with the world
During the third week of my recovery, one of my friends came to visit me at home. It was so great catching up with her and feeling “normal” again. I have also had many people check up on my via phone calls and text messages. If people are aware of your surgery, sometimes they’ll want to visit you. Make sure to let people know when you’re well along in your recovery, so they can start visiting you. You can also connect to the world by writing letters to loved ones and friends, checking social media (but keeping it to a limit to avoid comparison/FOMO/etc.), and talking to others on the phone. Just because you may have limited mobility doesn’t mean you have to be alone.
Reflect on your progress instead of focusing on how far you have to go
Throughout the second and third weeks of my recovery, I felt that I wasn’t recovering (or recovering fast enough). So, I wrote a note to myself that said, “Remember how far God has brought you during this healing process” and stuck it in my bathroom. I also started keeping a log of small wins during my recovery, such as being able to sleep on my side or being able to get out of the bed on my own. If we only focus on the negative things we can see, we won’t see the progress and blessings in front of us…no matter how small or insignificant they may seem to us. So I would encourage you to keep a journal next to you to write down small victories during your recovery.
I hope that it helps you or someone you know. Allowing our bodies the time it needs to recover physically from a surgery is important. Don’t rush your recovery…let your body do what it does best, so you can get back into the world and do what you do best. I would also argue that working on our mental state after recovery is equally important. Remember: shift your mind on other things, surround yourself with positivity, continue to connect with the world, and reflect on your progress. If you have any suggestions, or tips on how you recovered mentally after a surgery, write them down in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!