Having surgery is a very mentally and physically draining process, however often the potential issues when it comes to mental health after surgery are overshadowed by the physical recovery. Post-operative depression can be quite common, but it is absolutely vital that you never suffer in silence.
We are going to discuss a few of the ways that you can look after your mental health after surgery. As well as a few of the symptoms you might experience if you are struggling with post-operative depression. The stress your mind and body are under before, during, and after an operation is huge. So make sure you look after yourself and seek help whenever you need it.
Keep Yourself Busy With Things You Enjoy
Although your movement and mobility might be restricted after an operation, it is important that you keep yourself busy by planning small things to look keep you occupied. Here are a few ideas to keep you busy. They can easily be adapted to suit your recovery.
- Start a new TV series you have been wanting to watch
- Get absorbed in a good book or two
- If you can’t hold a book, listen to audiobooks
- Listen to some new music
- Watch the films you have been putting off
- Play board games with visitors
- Watch DIY videos for projects you want to do when you’ve recovered
- Play video games
- Enjoy the fresh air and sun outside
- Connect with old friends on social media or over the phone
- Try meditation apps to help you process your thoughts and relax
- Plan a future holiday
- Research a topic you have been interested in for a while
- Learn a new language
- Write a thank you letter to hospital staff
- Take short walks (if you can) and gradually build up strength
When you fuel your body with great foods, it can help to keep your mind healthy. Have a chat with your surgeon about specific foods you should be eating and avoid anything they tell you to. Focus on looking after yourself from the inside out by eating plenty of nutritious foods to help you recover.
Sit down and plan your meals for the week and make sure you include some delicious and nutritious foods that will make you happy. For example, you might want to eat oranges, dark green veggies, sweet potatoes, and spinach for vitamin A or citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, and peppers for vitamin C.
If loved ones are cooking for you, then perhaps look for slow cooker meals. These meals often require very little preparation and they are an easy way to eat plenty of vegetables. If you are cooking for yourself, this is also a great option as if you are low on energy, your meal will probably only take around 15 minutes to prepare and then you can relax for the rest of the day. Whatever you do, just make sure you follow doctors’ orders!
Try To Establish A Routine
Trying to establish some sort of routine will help the day to go quicker and will encourage you to do something productive with your day, which will be fantastic for your mental health. Here is an example of what this routine might look like:
- Wake up naturally
- Eat breakfast
- Have a shower and change clothes
- Go for a short walk (if you can)
- Have a chat with a friend or family member
- Eat lunch
- Have an afternoon nap to re-energize
- Spend the afternoon doing an activity or two of your choice – see ideas above!
- Have another short walk before eating your evening meal
- Relax in front of the TV or read a book
- Go to bed when you feel tired
This might seem like a basic routine, however, when you are repeating similar things each day you will be able to track your progress much better, which will do wonders for your mental health.
Talk To Loved Ones or Professionals
If you ever start to struggle with your mental health. Then it is essential that you talk to your loved ones or professionals. When you keep your thoughts and feelings to yourself, they are likely to feel much more intense and far less manageable. Talking about how you feel will not only take a weight off your shoulders but getting advice from others could completely change your mindset.
For example, perhaps you are feeling frustrated with the fact you aren’t recovering as quickly as you’d hoped and this is bringing your mood down significantly. However, when you have a chat with a loved one or you call your doctor to discuss how you’re feeling, they might remind you of how far you have already come and that you will be all the more healthy following the recovery than you were before the surgery.
A small conversation has the potential to change everything, so don’t suffer in silence and seek help if you think you might need it. If you’re not sure what to look out for, read through the signs below.
Signs You Might Be Struggling With Your Mental Health
Being aware of the common feelings you might experience if you are struggling with post-operative depression is really useful, as you can identify when you might need to seek help.
If you are having trouble sleeping, feeling extremely tired, low in mood, hopeless, guilty, uninterested, upset or crying often, reduced or increased appetite, low motivation, or thoughts of self-harming, it is important that you seek help from a medical professional. This is not an exhaustive list, so if you ever feel like something isn’t quite right, you need to do something about it.
Whilst not all of these things will automatically mean you are having mental health after-surgery problems. After surgery, if any of these do arise, make sure to speak to a doctor. They would much rather have a chat with you to rule anything out than have you suffer in silence.
Whether you have had a breast implant removal Manchester-based or emergency bowel surgery in London, something every patient has in common is the struggles that come with surgery recovery. Whilst a strong focus is often put on physical recovery. You need to make sure that you never overlook how you are feeling mentally.
Keep yourself busy, eat nutritious foods, establish a routine, talk to loved ones or a professional, and look out for signs that suggest you might need help. Your family, friends, or medical professionals will be happy to speak to you about how you are feeling and provide help.
For support with your mental health, post-surgery or not. Make sure you seek help, as there is always someone there for you.