Even though surgery is about fixing the physical body, it also has a big impact on the mind (or the spiritual body, if you want). That’s because it uproots our lives and places us in a state of recovery for a period of time.
Surgery also involves some level of pain after the procedure, when the tissue starts to heal and reconnect. Plus, you start to realize just how many things you took for granted since recovery may also mean your movements are limited and restricted.
In some cases, even if the procedure is successful and brings a wide range of benefits, there is still a risk of post surgery depression, which can have a long-lasting impact on the patient’s well-being. To avoid such an outcome, it’s good to be aware of the risks to mental health and take preventive steps, such as the ones mentioned below.
Take care of your diet
Even if you’re usually a health buff, post surgery recovery and the feelings associated with it (sadness, frustration, anxiety) can make you crave comfort foods and sweets. In all fairness, if you manage to keep it under control, it’s not a bad choice – comfort food does help with the comfort part!
However, you first have to discuss the menu with your doctor since you may have some dietary restrictions during recovery. Also, if nothing stops you, it’s best to keep eating healthy foods because the nutrients will help with both your mood and your recovery.
Plus, make sure you stay hydrated and even do some light exercise if the doctor allows it. All these are extra steps towards a speedy recovery!
Get plenty of practical support
After any surgery, it’s important to get plenty of practical support to avoid any stress or even movements that could endanger the results. For instance, you may need help with running errands when you can’t drive after a bucket handle meniscus tear surgery.
In the case of this type of surgery, you don’t have to stay in the hospital for recovery, but you will need to stay off your leg for about 4 to 6 weeks and then do physical therapy in order to regain range of motion and strength.
Of course, the journey to recovery is different for everyone, but it is crucial to have a good support network. If you don’t have friends or family nearby, there’s always the option of hiring specialised services to help you manage the necessities of everyday life.
Give yourself time
If you are an active person who does sports or exercises a lot, surgery and the recovery that comes with it can seem like a punishment. You can’t wait to go back to your activities and you feel like recovery pins you down in a limbo of horrors.
Also, you may feel like your muscles are weaker while your body may go through some changes. All these are normal, but to someone who is not used to a slower pace of life, it can be agonising.
That’s why it’s important to remind yourself that you can always return to your fitness and exercise schedule pre-surgery, once you’ve been cleared by your doctor. Just be patient with yourself and learn to enjoy the changes that happen until then.
Post Surgery recovery is different for everyone, so it’s best to do some research and prepare ahead of time. It helps to plan your recovery and set goals for yourself – this way you’ll be able to track your progress and let your brain realize that there’s an end after which you’ll be able to enjoy life from a different perspective.
Alicia Saville did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in psychology, mental health, and wellness.