12 things to do when recovering from a stay in hospital

If you’re recovering from an operation, you could be trying to cope with pain, sleeping problems, and new medications to remember to take. But one of the things people might not tell you about is that it can also be really boring. Here are 12 ways to keep you engaged and make the most of your recovery time.

Read books

Many people say they just don’t have the time to read. Finding the time to squeeze in a chapter of a book before bed can feel impossible when you’ve got to cook dinner, do the washing, get the kids in the bath and into bed, all after working all day. So now is the perfect time to read that book you got ages ago, or even go over some of those classics you “read” in high school. Don’t be picky either. If you’ve gone through every shelf in your house, try reading something you’d never ordinarily pick up and you might just find a new favourite. 


Practicing mindfulness in our daily lives can be really beneficial, and these benefits are not lost on those who are recovering from a hospital stay. From focusing on your breathing for a few minutes a day to colouring in, there can be many ways to practice being mindful that, at the very least, will help keep you occupied. Find out more information on mindfulness here.

Go through your music library

Computers are an easy place to hoard things, especially music. Going through your music libraries and cleaning out all the songs you don’t like can be very therapeutic, as can rediscovering songs that bring back old memories. Make a playlist for every occasion like driving to work or going to the gym, for when you get back into it. Alternatively, make a special playlist for someone you love as a thank you for helping you during this time.

Play games

Often when we’re busy we feel we can’t make time to enjoy the simple things. Why not ask your family or friends to get together for some board games? If you don’t feel like socialising, why not try out some of these apps to help train your brain?

Start a blog

Maybe you’ve been dreaming of it but have never had the time to sit down and do it, or maybe you couldn’t name a blogger if you tried. Either way, your recovery time could present a great opportunity to step into the blogging world. It can be an outlet to express how you’re feeling, and help you to connect with others who feel the same. Or, it can help keep your mind off what’s going on by allowing you to focus on your interests. 

Plan a holiday

What better way to get your mind off your recovery than planning to travel somewhere else? This can be as realistic or as lavish, as far away or as local as you like. Maybe it’s planning a drive to the coast one day when you’re feeling up to it, or maybe it’s just going through and perfecting the bucket list by adding every location in the world you’d like to visit. The important thing to remember is that these are just ideas and a good way to keep busy, not plans that have to be set in stone or put into action.

Lady recovering and bored

Learn a language

Learning a language takes time and focus, so a hospital recovery could be the perfect time. It doesn’t have to be hard either! There are heaps of apps and online programs that are free, and take your French from amateur to connoisseur.

Watch your favourite TV series 

Whether you’re a box set kind of person or a streaming fiend, there aren’t many other times in life when you can really take the time to watch the whole season from start to finish (reciting every line as you go, and making sure you take plenty of breaks to eat, sleep, and stretch!). The same goes for watching every movie your favourite actor has ever been in, or all of the extended editions of a movie series.

Start a journal 

Similar to a blog, a journal can be an outlet for how you’re feeling, but the bonus is no one else has to know. Often at times we just need to express ourselves and then move on, and a journal is a great way to do this. Plus, it can be a great way to track your recovery and feel proud of the progress you’ve made.

Play with pets

Our much loved pets can often cheer us up if we’re having a bad day, and the same may be true when we’re recovering from a stay in hospital. There are some impressive possible health benefits that can come from owning a pet, and in aged care homes, pets are much more than just a fluffy tail.

Craft projects

It can be hard to find the time to complete craft or DIY projects. This can be a great time to pick up an old hobby or learn something new. Committing to a project while you’re recovering can help you pass the time and feel productive. You might find some inspiration online, or come up with your own ideas.

Write a short story (or a whole book!)

It seems as though people consider themselves either to be a writer, or not. Creative writing can be intimidating and time consuming, so writing a story may not be the first thing you think of doing when you’re looking for things to do. It’s an exercise in creativity and at the end of the day no one has to read it – so what have you got to lose?

If you’re on the road to recovery, you may also like our suggestions for support services, or ways to let people know you’re still recovering

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