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Things to do while you recover

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!

If you want your recovery time to go by faster, here are some ideas of how to preoccupy yourself while recovering from heart valve treatments. It’s important to plan for everyday activities during your recovery, so you don’t have to undergo the exhausting feeling of idleness or discomfort. 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!

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For the Aspiring Bookworms: Read the Classics!

Many people choose to avoid tackling the classic literature genres: they can big, big reads and demand a lot from your attention span. However, 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 un-read 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. While we always love to add to our archive, you could use this as inspiration and write about your recovery, or another hobby. There are 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. Here are two sites that might inspire your further:

http://www.almanac.com/content/garden-raised-beds-and-small-plots

https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=428

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

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