How to get back into the swing of things after an operation

If you’re recovering from an operation, and feeling ready to tackle life again at full pace, this article is for you. Here’s some tips on how to know when you’re ready, and how to ease into it.

You’ve been taking the medication you need to, doing the rehabilitation exercises you’ve been shown, and even cut down your schedule to allow yourself to rest and recover. You could be feeling like you’re ready to get back into the swing of things. But how do you know when you’re really ready?

The last thing you want to do is ruin the progress you’ve made, or end up back in hospital. That’s why it’s important to take your time in returning to your usual routine. Here are some things to consider before you dive back into life as it was pre-admission.

Ask your doctor about your recovery

Your doctor can tell you what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear. Plus, they’ll be able to assess how you’re recovering physically, beyond just how you feel. It’s important to communicate to your doctor if you feel like you’re back to your best. But if you are not, letting your doctor know helps them provide you with the best advice and support for your ongoing recovery. Ultimately, the more open you are with how you’re feeling, the more accurately your doctor will be able to gauge what stage of recovery you are at and advise accordingly. 

Take your recovery one step at a time

Life can be hectic and sometimes that can come at the expense of our health. Just because you feel as well as you did when you were juggling work, social and family commitments, does not mean you’re ready to pick them all back up again. At least not at the pace you were going before. Try just picking up one thing at a time, and checking in with yourself along the way to make sure you don’t take on too much, too soon.
Woman talking to her doctor

Break down the process of recovering

As mentioned above, it could be detrimental to your recovery and overall health if you try to pick up everything all at once. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on important parts of your life. Instead, try to break commitments down into smaller chunks. This might mean going back to work three days a week instead of the full five, doing the morning drop off while someone else does the afternoon pick-up, letting someone else deal with the dishes if you’ve done the cooking, or asking someone else to do the laundry.

Use assistance to your advantage

You don’t have to do everything on your own, so don’t be afraid to ask for help, and accept gestures from others. Friends and family can be of great assistance, but for some people it can make them feel as though they’re losing some of their independence. Services like food delivery or transport can make life a little easier, while still making you feel like you’re looking after yourself. See our suggestions for assistance services here.

Be honest with how you feel

Just like before your hospital admission, you’re going to have good days and bad days. You need to be realistic and patient. Do what you can, when you can, but also make time to rest when you need it. Don’t feel pressured to return to the ‘pre-operative you’ before you’re ready and prepared. It may help to find someone you trust to talk to, whether that’s a friend or family member or a health professional.  
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