By Erika Guzman, Recent ASU Nutrition Student
Life happens. Broken bones, torn muscles, surgeries, any of that can happen without any warning. I can say, from firsthand experience, it’s awful and puts you down in the dumps. You may not function correctly for the time being, but healing does take time. Besides my personal experiences, I have interviewed a few people about what they did, what their doctors recommended, and how to keep sane.
- If you’re not immobilized, take walks around the neighborhood area or parks. Get yourself out of your room, out of bed, and out of the house. An interviewee said that “it’s better than moping around in bed; it helps you clear your brain and appreciate things outside a little more.” Fresh air helps and keeping busy will distract you from recovery. Also, moving around can help prevent triggering some problems, such as pressure ulcers, pulmonary embolisms, and blood clots. A little bit of movement can go a long way.
- Get enough sleep. You need sleep to recover. Your body needs to rejuvenate and heal properly, and sleeping poorly may affect your recovery process. It may feel like you’re doing nothing for a long period of time, but your body will thank you later as it heals.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water; it’s essential for your body’s recovery time. Water helps your cells hydrate and heal. It also helps with digestion and can help prevent extra weight gain. Otherwise, if you become dehydrated, it may hinder your recovery time as it can cause problems with your body functions and can cause further problems in the long run. Make sure to always keep water nearby.
- Listen to your doctor. I cannot stress how important this step truly is to your well-being and healing. If you’re like me, restless and stubborn, now is not the time to do things at your own pace. Disregarding the limits your doctor has put on your daily activities and health can and will hinder recovery and can actually cause more damage. If the doctor tells you to weight limit to lifting, follow through. Do the same for staying in bed, meals, medication, walking, stretching, or anything else he or she recommends. Remember, doctors, are there to help your healing process go smoothly. If you have any questions, follow-up with your doctor as time progresses and don’t be afraid to ask for alternatives if plausible.
- Find ways to manage your stress. Being stuck and physically hurt for a long period of time is frustrating and can stress you out. For some, it’s because they can’t do normal everyday activities. For others, it disables them from going to work, so overall, it is a stressful situation. There are some ways to help your stress levels, such as meditating, reading, or finding a creative outlet, like writing or painting. Keep yourself occupied and it will help keep the negative thoughts at bay.
- Be mindful and eat healthy. Let’s face it, it’s nearly inevitable to avoid weight gain when you’re in recovery, especially if you happen to be immobilized. It’s wise to eat lots of fruits and veggies as well as watching portion control. Healthy and wholesome foods will help your recovery faster as well as help you have consciousness about what you eat. If you eat a lot of processed or junk food, not only will it affect how you feel, it will result in weight gain.
- Exercise. Although there can be limitations depending on your situation, there are exercises for many situations. Broken arm? Back, ab, and leg workouts. Broken leg or foot? With lifting limitations, handheld dumbbells work well. Back surgery? Breathing exercises will allow your lungs to continue functioning properly. If you want to exercise and unsure about what your limitations are, ask your doctor about what you can do or ask about rehab to get you back on track.
- Keep or improve your schedule. Even though you are injured or won’t be able to work or go to school for a while, it doesn’t mean that your schedule should be thrown out the window. Sleeping is great, but don’t overdo it; you’ll end up in a state of grogginess and possible mild depression. Keep yourself busy with adhering or improving a set schedule for yourself; once you recover fully, it won’t a huge struggle to get back into your daily routine.
- Spend time with your friends and family. Do not keep yourself locked up in your room. Socialize and spend time with your loved ones, even if it’s only once a week. It helps keep your mind off of the timely recovery as well as allow you to build stronger bonds with the people around you. It may even result in planning events after recovery, or learning about your friends and family. Being social is important for your emotional and mental health.
- Accept what you cannot change. The hardest thing to do is to accept the situation and result. You could probably think of dozens of ways on how you could have prevented it, but in reality, it’s already happened. Instead of being stuck on the “what if’s,” focus on what you can do to improve as you heal. Learn about your body and the situation. There will be times where you will feel more upset or down in the dumps about your situation, but remember that it takes time to heal.
Everybody has a different experience and situation when it comes to broken bones, surgeries, and recoveries. Physical injuries can heal, but the process takes a toll on your mental health. With a positive outlook on your recovery and help from your loved ones, it makes recovery a little more bearable.
Editor’s Note: most of these tips were given by friends or customers who wish to remain anonymous*