Whether you’re staying for a few days or a few weeks, getting admitted to the hospital can be an exhausting and stressful experience. On top of the actual illness, you also have to deal with the boredom, the limited mobility, and the general discomfort of being in an unfamiliar place that may not be as comfortable as home.
For these reasons, the recovery period after hospitalization is incredibly important. Here are the best ways to make recovery as easy, safe, and comfortable as possible.
1. Prepare for hospitalization
One of the best ways to make recovery easier is by preparing for your hospitalization beforehand. If you are going to be going through a lot of diagnostic tests, ask your doctor for more comfortable options that won’t run your body or mind too hard. For instance, if you need to get an MRI, request for an open scanner machine to make the experience more comfortable. Moreover, ask your doctor how you can prepare to make your hospital stay more comfortable. They might suggest things like increased exercise, a healthy diet, and less screen time in the days leading up to your admission (if you have more than a day to prepare).
2. Get some exercise
Staying in a hospital mostly consists of doing nothing since you need to let your body rest. However, laying in bed or sitting all day can easily lead to physical de-conditioning, especially if you work out regularly or are an athlete.
To help your body recover from days or weeks of limited mobility, get some exercise as soon as your doctor gives you the go signal. Start with something simple like walking around the block or stretching. Then, gradually build up until you reach your normal physical activity again.
Strength training is extremely important if you’ve spent enough time in the hospital to lose muscle mass. Once your doctor gives the green light, start lifting weights again to regain the strength and muscle you have lost.
3. Follow the recommended diet
Before you are discharged, the doctor or dietitian will most likely give you a diet to follow while you’re recovering from your hospital stay. Follow their recommendations to the best of your ability to ensure that you’re getting enough calories and nutrients to heal properly, especially protein which is essential for healing.
Eating hospital food for days or weeks on end might have you craving all sorts of food when you go out, but resist the urge to gobble up greasy pizza and wash it down with a triple chocolate milkshake until you feel well enough. If you don’t have an appetite, on the other hand, try eating small frequent meals instead of full ones until you regain your appetite.
4. Connect with loved ones
Another major downside of getting admitted is not having close contact with the people you love the most. Visiting hours are limited, and bonding at home or any other place than the hospital is different from hanging out with them while you’re stuck in a bed. This can lead to mental decline while in the hospital, which can continue after you’re discharged–unless you do something about it.
When you get out of the hospital, it’s always a good idea to connect with loved ones. Meet friends for coffee or ask them to come over if you don’t feel well enough to go out. Spend more time with your family. Hug your pet extra long. Bonding with loved ones is one of the best ways to improve your mood and mental health after a stint at the hospital.
5. Go outside
Sunshine is a great mood-booster, and so is nature. Go outside more often to make up for all the time you’ve spent cooped up in the hospital. Not only is spending time in nature a great form of stress relief, but it is also a great way to increase your physical activity–both of which will help speed up healing.
6. Listen to your body and mind
Pay attention to what your body and mind are telling you. If you feel too tired to exercise, don’t. If you’re experiencing prolonged pain, let your doctor know immediately. And if you feel sad or lonely, call up someone for mental and emotional support. You know what’s best for your body, so make sure to listen to what it’s telling you.
Recovering from hospitalization can be a challenge. Make it easier with these simple strategies. Not only are you making recovery easier for yourself, but you’re also speeding it up to get yourself back on track in no time.