One challenge during the recovery period after cardiac surgery is finding ways to amuse and entertain yourself without leaving the limited vicinity of your hospital or home. For individuals that are normally active, the prospect of such restrictions can seem daunting, so why not find a way to utilise this time?

Finding a solution can be a source of mental stimulation in and of itself, or you might even be able to rekindle an old hobby. While it may be tempting to spend hours immersed in soap operas or taking long naps, you will find that you feel more fulfilled at the end of each day if you spend some of your time more productively. A successful recovery isn’t just a physical process - your mental wellbeing is just as important!

Here are a few ideas of how to keep busy during your recovery


For the Aspiring Bookworms: Read the Classics!

Reading is a relaxing hobby that helps pass the time. And with the development of the kindle and other e-readers, you don’t need a library to access the greats! You may even have a pile of unread books at home to delve into. The Guardian and Telegraph both have a list of 100 great novels that are waiting to be read!

Alternatively, buy the audiobooks of these great stories and listen to them while you try the increasingly popular hobby: colouring books for adults! These can help reduce stress and keep your brain engaged.

If you’re Tech Savvy: Start your own Blog

As you will see on our website, several patients have contributed articles about their experiences of heart valve disease. If you would like to blog about your experience email info@heartvalvevoice.

There are also several sites such as WordPress which allow you to easily create a blog page or website, and you can write about anything! Perhaps combine this with another of the suggested activities and write a book review blog or a language learner’s journal!

For the Travel Lover: Learn a Foreign Language

For the explorers out there, one way to help you look forward to your life post-treatment could be to plan a trip for once you're feeling healthy again. Use this to drive your use of the spare time you have once out of hospital and start learning a new language. In the UK, Spanish is one of the most popular languages to learn, but you could try your hand at French, Portuguese or even British Sign Language!

Enjoy a Tasty Treat: Diversify your Cooking Skills

While heart valve disease is not specifically linked to any lifestyle factors such as diet or alcohol consumption, a healthful and nutritious diet is vital to your recovery as it contributes to overall heart health! Once you're ready why not experiment with some of the most delicious and healthy recipes out there? Try out meals you wouldn’t normally eat and a few sweet and low-fat treats for special occasions. The internet is filled with a wealth of recipe inspiration, and cookbooks are common place in bookshops and supermarkets.

Green Fingers: Plant a Flower or Vegetable Bed

Once you begin to feel comfortable moving about a bit, why not embrace the outdoors and plant something in a raised bed. Gardening is a productive, stress-relieving activity that can instantly add an air of freshness to your recovery routine and having the raised element ensures you don’t overexert yourself by stretching too much. 

Make sure to invest time watering and caring for your plants, since nurturing another living thing can contribute positively to your own recovery.

Raised Beds

Raised beds are a great way of growing a wide range of plants, and are particularly popular for growing fruit and vegetables. They are a good way of boosting drainage and can be used to introduce a different soil type to your garden. Raised beds are also a useful way to garden if you have restricted mobility, as they reduce the need to bend.

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Small Plots

Grow more in less space with interplanting, succession planting, and other techniques. View five simple gardening tips for ensuring a bountiful harvest, even if you have a small space.

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Virtual Tours of Musuem and Galleries

There are many things to miss during these long periods of time at home, but for those of you who love art, these wonderful galleries are here to help. Now, thanks to their digital collections, you can explore some of the finest collections of art the world has to offer from the comfort of your own home. 

So take some time today and discover a new era, a new artist or a new style, and fall in love with something extraordinary.

​The Museu de Art, Sao Paulo

The Museu de Art de Sao Paulo is Brazil’s first modern museum. With collections ranging from 18th century Brazilian art, to textiles, sculpture, European art and dressmaking, this huge collection will satisfy even the most casual of art gallery goers.

Click here and start your journey

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

A celebration of the tragic life of the extraordinary artist. The Van Gogh Museum is home to over 200 paintings by thee brilliant artists, as well as a huge collection of drawings and personal letters. Find out why Van Gogh continues to be one of the most adored artists in history,

Click here and start your journey

Pergamon Museum, Berlin

Pergamon museum in Berlin is home to a rich collection of ancient artefacts including statues of Alexander the Great, an extraordinary reconstruction of the Pergamom Alter and the wonderful Ishtar Gate of Babylon. Access Ancient Greece and beyond from the comfort of your own home.

Click here and start your journey

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Walk through this Parisian gallery that is home to artwork by Monet, Cézanne, Gaugin, Boch and Van Gogh. The gallery is a celebration of artists who worked and lived in Paris between 1848 and 1914, with a stunning collection that reflects the incredible body of work created in Paris at that time.

Click here to start your journey

British Museum, London

One of the countries finest museums opens its virtual doors for your viewing pleasure. Take in the Great Court, marvel at the wonders of the ancient Egyptian mummies and discover the secrets of the extraordinary Rosetta Stone. There are so many artefacts on the virtual tour to pique your curiosity.

Click here to start your journey

Remember: make this a positive experience 

A rule of human nature is that we wish for free time when we’re busy, and then wish for activity when we have free time. Take this recovery period as an opportunity to better yourself in more ways than one, rediscover an old hobby or learn an entirely new one! Let us know via our Facebook or Twitter pages what you did to help pass the time!