Rebuilding Your Health after a Medical Crisis
Your attitude after the immediate recovery from a medical crisis is crucial to returning to a healthier you. Worried or being stressed about your recovery or possible relapses can interfere with your immune system and slow your progress or keep you from enjoying life again. A flexible mindset that points towards wanting to regain strength and health is essential.
Getting there can be making efforts, but here are some suggestions to assist you.
Get physical. Doctor Julie Silver says that "if exercise could be packaged as a pill, it would be the most popular prescription drug available."[i] Exercise helps both physically and psychologically. Exercise assists the body with producing hormones that improve mood. Always check with your physician first what activities are right for you after having a major illness. Walking, though, is usually something everyone can do and is a place to begin if you're not sure how or where to get started.
Get to know your body well. Yoga is a great resource to teach you about tuning in to your body. Often issues and feelings can get stuck in the tissues, energetically speaking. This concept is what is behind other healing modalities, such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. You may have lingering emotional issues, such as fear, guilt, shame, etc. around your illness that you haven't identified. Yoga and meditation can help by its focus on observing body and mind sensations to unlock what isn't observable day-to-day.
Get therapeutic massages. Massages not only help release physical tension, but they also help you feel good emotionally. Serious illnesses can carry a lot of emotional baggage that a massage can help alleviate by relieving stress. A massage can also be a message to yourself that you deserve to be healthy and even pampered, especially if there are guilt issues around having been sick.
Get involved. When you turn your focus away from yourself and to others, it can help with the psychological issues that may be keeping you from enjoying your life which then impacts your physical health. Volunteer in your community or maybe get involved with a nonprofit that is associated with the disease or condition you had.
Get laughing. Evidence suggests that laughter has a positive impact on mental health and physical health. Read a funny book or binge watch some comedies on television. Also, get together with people who make you laugh and smile.
Get together. Don't isolate yourself after a health scare; this can lead to depression and stress. Make efforts to see family and friends even if you think you don't feel up to it. Family members and friends can be great cheerleaders and support your return to health.
Get eating healthily. A healthy diet is crucial to recovery and health. Look at the diet that you had before getting sick and decide where you can make improvements. Your daily diet should include fresh fruits, vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids, healthy proteins, and less sugar and simple carbohydrates. Of course, if your doctor has you on a special diet, you need to follow her instructions. Also, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Get a hobby or interest. A hobby is therapeutic because you feel productive and your focus is on something other than your health, fears, and worries. Something as simple as journaling or writing can help express your thoughts about the illness and help you to move past it.
Get rest. Even after the immediate recovery of an illness, your body still needs to heal. Sleep plays a significant role in both physical and mental health. Melatonin, for example, is produced by the body to help with sleep. But, it also boosts the immune system and helps repair damaged DNA.
Often after a major illness, it's hard to focus on wanting to do anything. These are normal feelings. But, remember you didn't survive the illness to get sick again or not to be able to enjoy life again and have good health.
O'Reilly, Nancy, PsyD. How to Rebuild Your Strength and Recover After A Crisis. Retrieved from https://www.aarp.org/health/alternative-medicine/info-11-2008/super_healing.html.
Silver, Julie K. M.D. Super Healing (November 2008). Retrieved from https://www.aarp.org/health/alternative-medicine/info-11-2008/super_healing.html.
Zulkey, Claire. How to Bounce Back after a Health Crisis (January 22, 2018). Retrieved from https://www.nextavenue.org/health-crisis-recover/.
[i] Silver, Julie K. M.D., Super Healing, November 2008. Web.
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