Recovering From Surgery: Self-Care Tips
Recovering from surgery requires rest and relaxation, along with following your doctor’s instructions. Here are some additional self-care tips to help you relax both before and after your operation:
- Get complete information about your operation. You can calm many of your anxieties by asking lots of questions and understanding what's likely to happen.
- Talk about your concerns with a trusted friend or a professional counselor. Keeping worries to yourself can lead to feelings of tension and overwhelm.
- Visualize the surgery going successfully. Focus on your breath while you do this visualization, and use it as you are being prepared for surgery.
- If you are feeling down, read or watch something funny. Laughter has amazing healing powers.
- While in the recovery room, meditate on your breath, exhaling softly and completely and inhaling in a very relaxed way. You can also use a headset to listen to relaxing or sacred music.
- When you feel particularly tense while recovering from surgery, do a progressive relaxation of your muscles. Start with your toes. Tense and hold the muscles for a few seconds, and then relax the muscles. Move through all parts of your body with this tense and hold exercise. However, do be aware of the surgical area and avoid tensing or moving muscles in that area until your doctor gives the OK.
When you are ready, and only after you check with your doctor, massage can help you recover. Although massage around the area of surgery may not be appropriate at first, an overall massage to the rest of your body can improve circulation, encouraging the flow of healing oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and carrying away irritating waste products. The massage may also reduce swelling and speed healing.
Another option is lymph drainage massage. This gentle technique can stimulate your immune system, reduce pain, help flush out residue of medications, and reduce swelling. Or use an energy technique, such as reiki, that involves only light, or no, touch.
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