Recovering from surgery can be a long, frustrating and difficult process. It can be tempting to rush recovery and try to do too much too soon, however it is vital that you take your time and do things properly. This will help to make sure that you don’t take one step forwards and two steps back with your recovery! Here are 5 simple things you can do to make sure that you recover safely from your surgery.
One of the best things you can do to aid your recovery is to start to move around. The extent to which this is possible will depend heavily on the type of surgery you have had, as someone who has had a breast implant removal will be able to do much more than someone who has had knee surgery.
The important thing to remember is always to listen to the advice of your surgeon, as they will be able to inform you what you can do and when it is safe to do so. When you are ready to start doing bits of walking, make sure you start small and gradually build your way up. You are likely to feel slightly light headed when you first start walking around again, so it is so important you just do a little bit and work your way up.
Start by sitting up for a few minutes before you attempt to stand, then carefully stand up. It is definitely advised that you have someone with you the first few times until you feel more steady. Walk a short distance, perhaps to the kitchen, and then go back. Little and often is the key, so do this a few times and then start going a bit further.
Recovering physically from surgery can take a long time, so remember to be patient and give yourself plenty of time to build your strength back up. In the long term, you could consider working with a professional trainer for the safest way to recover from surgery.
Get Plenty of Rest
Although it is good to get yourself moving, make sure you get plenty of rest too. Rest is a massive part of recovery, as your body has been through a lot of trauma so you need to make sure you take time to relax. The body does most of its healing while sleeping, so if you feel tired, you should take a nap whenever you need to.
The body wants you to rest so it is important that you listen to it. Your doctors will be able to advise you on the perfect balance between rebuilding strength and allowing your body to rest, so just do what you can!
Eat A Varied Diet
Another great thing you can do to aid your recovery is eat a varied diet. Again, you will be given specific instructions about what you can and can’t eat depending on your surgery, however usually you will be eating relatively soft foods to begin with.
There are some fantastic foods to aid with surgery recovery, such as berries which contain powerful antioxidants to help fight off infections, vegetables that will give you some much needed energy, nuts and seeds for healthy fats and lean meat for healthy protein sources.
The main thing you need to do is eat a varied diet with plenty of different fruits and vegetables so that your body is receiving a wide range of nutrients.
Monitor Your Wounds
Another thing you need to do to help your body recover is monitor your wounds. Make sure that you are regularly checking and cleaning the wounds as advised by your surgeon, in order to prevent infection or to recognise if you have an infection so you can contact a medical professional.
If the wound is red, there is any discharge, pain, swelling or you have a fever, it is important that you contact your surgeon. It is best to speak to them as soon as you notice the issue as it is much easier to treat when it is only minor.
For particular surgeries, you may have a nurse come to clean the wound for you as it may be particularly predisposed to infections. However, other people clean the wounds themselves and then go for checkups. Keeping the wound clean and dry is the key to making sure it is as healthy as possible. Knowing what the wound looks like and being able to identify any changes is key to recovering safely from surgery.
Look After Your Mental Health
Something that is often overlooked when it comes to surgery recovery is mental health. Not only is surgery extremely demanding in terms of physical recovery, but you may not feel like yourself so you need to focus on how you are feeling mentally.
Spending time outside, organising time with loved ones, focusing on the positives and eating healthily will all help you to take control of your recovery and it will make sure that you stay busy. It can be really tough, but accepting that you will need to let your body recover and take a step back from ‘normal’ life for a while is key, as this will certainly help you long term.
If you feel like you are struggling to cope, it is so important that you speak to a doctor as they might be able to suggest small changes that could completely change how you are feeling. Your mental health should be just as much of a priority as your physical health.
Surgery recovery is a very difficult process for some people, so make sure you do everything you can to look after your body and mind during the process. Try to find a healthy balance of moving around and getting sufficient rest so your body recovers and builds strength at the same time. Make sure you are eating a healthy balanced diet to consume your essential nutrients and monitor the healing of your wounds. Finally, prioritise your mental health just as much as your physical health!