Easy Outings While Recovering from Surgery

Laura Cox, LPC
Ostomy Lifestyle Specialist | Shield HealthCare
06/17/15  5:03 PM PST
recovering from surgery

Recovering from surgery

If you are preparing for or recovering from surgery you know that healing is a long process that takes a lot of rest and patience. Everyone’s recovery experience is different, but a commonly shared experience after surgery is cabin fever. Cabin fever can be caused by a lack of stimulation for your brain since you are usually recovering at home. Cabin fever commonly makes people feel restless, irritable and in some cases depressed for a short amount of time. If you are experiencing cabin fever you may realize you’ve been sleeping more than usual just to pass the time or have a craving to just go outside. The best “cure” for cabin fever is to do something mentally uplifting for you.

If you are up for getting out of the house…

Try to go on short outings to make you feel rejuvenated and happy. Walking is imperative to your healing process because it helps rebuild strength and also wake up intestines and aid in digestion. Try to incorporate some easy walking while out on an excursion, but also start with activities and places that you know will have chairs nearby if you get tired.

  • Perhaps start with a visit to your favorite coffee house. Bring a good book to read or a good friend to chat with. Just being surrounded by people and in a different environment will immediately boost your mood.
  • You can also try a short meal out with family or friends. This way, you will be sitting, engaging with other people, and still enjoying a new environment.
  • Ask a loved one to take you on a pretty drive if you do not want to have to stand for an extended amount of time. Never underestimate the mood-boosting power of seeing a part of the world, listening to your favorite tunes, and being with someone you enjoy spending time with.
  • Nature walks, conservatory visits, or short zoo or museum excursions allow you to enjoy longer walks when you’re ready.
  • Short shopping excursions (groceries or otherwise) will allow you to stretch your legs and help you feel like you are getting back to normal parts of life.
  • You can also pamper yourself while you’re on an outing. Think about getting your hair cut or styled while recovering. The head massage is super relaxing and helps you feel pampered. The majority of the time you’ll be sitting too!

Don’t underestimate the feeling of fatigue that can hit even when you’re sitting. Don’t be discouraged! Your body just went through a very difficult procedure. Listen to your body. If you become too exhausted, return home and rest.

If you’re not quite ready to leave the house for an outing…

Before you go out on the town it’s a great idea to test your stamina while still at home. Cabin fever is from a lack of stimulation for your brain, so try to make your home stimulating. Change up your environment while staying in the comfort of your house.

  • Use your brain. Turn off the electronics for an hour and read, do brain teasers, call a friend or try projects like painting or writing. It’s scientifically proven that people are happier when doing something more engaging, but will usually take the path of least resistance by turning on the TV.
  • Invite friends over if don’t feel up to going out yet. Have them over for a move night, board games, some coffee or a meal.

Don’t get discouraged if healing does not happen as quickly as you’d like. Getting your body back in tip-top shape requires time, patience, and support from others. Focus on your small accomplishments and positive thoughts! You’re on your way to well!

For more information, see related ostomy surgery recovery articles and ostomy resources here:

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