Being sick or injured can be one of the loneliest, most stressful things a person can go through. There’s a reason they say no man is an island; we all need help, and we can see this most clearly when we have to recover from an illness or injury. Unfortunately, no matter how many healthy relationships we have, and even when we have all the physical and emotional support we need, we might still find ourselves anxious, lonely, and stressed. We might even find ourselves in situations wherein we have to be left alone, even for a little.
Even if you have someone caring for you during this difficult time, it couldn’t hurt to arm yourself with the tools to care for yourself, too. Here are some self-care pointers to help you navigate this hard time.
Follow your doctor’s orders to a T.
Even when you have someone caring for you, monitor your own progress. Make a list of everything your doctor tells you to do and follow them. Drink your medicine on time, and eat the foods they recommend. Don’t forget to ask your doctor when you need to call an ambulance. If they say you need to call 911 for specific reasons, for example, when a specific body part hurts or when you can’t breathe, then don’t hesitate to do tell your primary caregiver so you can call for help.
Have a couple of safeguards in place.
Chances are, your primary caregiver is already on top of things, but you can also do your part in making sure everything is in place because your primary caregiver might not be with you 24/7; they might have to go to the grocery store or take a day-off. Here is a basic checklist for everything you need to accomplish:
- If you live in a two-story home, consider moving your bed and all of your daily essentials into the living room. The last thing you need is to have to go up and down the stairs every day.
- Keep a list of contacts you can call in case of an emergency or when you need help. Make sure you have their mobile number, landline number, and information for other messaging platforms.
- Keep your loved ones updated on your progress.
- Double-check your internet connection and make sure the wires are intact. Have your internet provider’s hotline number ready in case you lose your connection.
- Place your phone and chargers in an accessible area in your house.
- Ensure that you have all of your equipment in place, like your crutches or wheelchair, or a hoist for residential use.
- Make sure there are no tripping hazards, like folded rugs or misplaced tiles, anywhere in your living space.
- Ask your primary caregiver to help you prepare meals for at least another week. Meal planning is a good place to start.
- Consult with your local government if they have a program that can help check on you from time to time.
Make your mental health a priority.
When you’re sick or injured, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of self-pity and loneliness. Multiple studies have shown that our mental health and physical health are intrinsically linked, so you cannot neglect your mental and emotional well-being while you’re on the road to recovery. The following are pointers you can consider doing to help keep your mind healthy:
- Honour your feelings and talk about them. Some of the most common feelings that people have when they’re sick or injured are frustration, helplessness, regret, and many others. Don’t shove your emotions under the rug; instead, be open about them, and cry it out if you need to.
- Accept support and help. Reach out to your trusted friends and family for support, or look for an online support group or into online counselling to help you sort out how you feel.
- Don’t focus on the what-ifs. Don’t look back on what you could have done to avoid the illness or injury. It’s neither here nor there, and you need to be kind to yourself and focus on the present.
- Stay optimistic. Listen to your doctor when he or she says things can still get better. Be patient with your progress, and be flexible and open to change.
Ask for Help
We all need help, especially in times of upheaval. So don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends and family about what you’re going through. Build a healthy and life-giving relationship with your primary caregiver. Depending on your spirituality, pray to a higher power. Know that you’re not alone, and some people can help you get through this.