At one time or another, most of us will experience a scary, unnerving health event. Even if you are frightened and uncertain, you must figure out how to move on. You’ll have to find your path through that health crisis as well as learn how to move forward in meaningful ways.

Try these strategies to help you heal after a major health event:

1. Plan ahead. If your health event involves surgery or special medical procedures that you know about in advance, use the time beforehand wisely. 

  • Prepare by cleaning up your house, doing maintenance on your car, paying bills, and other responsibilities. This way, you’ll have less to worry about when your big day arrives and during your recovery.
  • Another tip for preparing for recovery is to stock your kitchen with healthy foods. It’s a good idea to prepare your favorite nutritious meals ahead of time. You can even include healthy treats so you don’t feel tempted to send someone out for ice cream. 


2. Set up services for convenience. If you are going to be recovering for an extended period of time you may want to consider taking advantage of a few services that can assist with tasks and save you time. 

  • Grocery pick up and delivery services are more common these days and can save you a lot of time and effort during your recovery. Whether it’s you ordering or a caregiver, not having to shop or even drive to the store can be a huge relief.
  • Make a list of your most commonly purchased items so you can quickly reorder. You can use services such as Amazon Prime Now or lnstacart for delivery, and a lot of stores have their own pickup services.
  • Work with your local postmaster or mail service to hold your mail for pickup if you do not have your mail delivered to your home.
  • During times of medical events and serious recovery time it can become stressful keeping the house clean. If you do not have a caregiver, spouse, family member, or other support person cleaning up it might be a good idea to hire a cleaning service temporarily while you heal. This could also apply to the landscaping around your home
  • If you have pets, it could be a big help to hire someone to care for them while you recover as well. 

3. Give yourself time to heal. It’s easy to get frustrated that you’re not progressing at the healing rate that you’d hoped. However, abide by the timeline your doctor sets in terms of how your recovery should progress.

  • Don’t be afraid to take all the time you need to feel better.
  • Tell yourself that achieving your best health is worth the wait.
  • Keeping track of your progress in a journal is a great idea. Benefits of journaling during recovery include, being able to see true progress in a snapshot, staying encouraged through affirmations or devotionals, and being able to have a record of improvement to show your doctor 
  • And lastly, if you are prescribed physical therapy or at-home exercises, be sure you are doing them to give yourself the best possible recovery time. It may be uncomfortable or even painful. but it is worth pushing through. 


4. Make sure you practice good self care. Self care is important during recovery. However, our typical world view of self care is skewed, and frankly more about giving up than getting better. Indulging your desire to lay in bed for weeks, ordering fast food, or watching depressing movies are not optimal choices for long term wellness. The idea is to give your mind, body, and spirit the best chance possible to heal and improve. 

  • Instead of ordering pizza, ask a friend to come over and prepare something healthy for you, perhaps that you have already premade and frozen. Part of self care is community and support. Having them there, sharing a meal, or even coffee is encouraging and healthy for recovery. And you won’t have toxic pizza belly afterward.
  • Grab your favorite blanket, heat pack, pajamas, or other items to help you feel comfortable and to relieve stress. Just don’t stay there for too long at a time, unless you are unable to get up yet.
  • As soon as you can, take short walks around the house, open the windows, get some sunlight and fresh air into the house. Focus on being encouraged and hopeful. Don’t focus on what isn’t getting done, focus instead on what you CAN do.
  • As I mentioned before, journaling is a fantastic way to practice self care. Reflection can be powerful in growth, healing, and improvement on every level.
  • Take regular breaks from social media to focus on your path to recovery. A couple hours a day can be impactful if you use it for something positive and encouraging. Books, prayer, art, writing, exercise, or music are all great ways to “fill your cup” so to speak.


5. Connect with your support system. Keep in touch with the people you care about and find out what’s going on in their lives. Hearing about the lives of others can be rejuvenating and helpful to your healing process. Knowing they are there for you can be very encouraging as well. 

  • Being in contact with family, friends, church family, or even an online support group of people going through the same thing, is a good way to stay positive and emotionally healthy.
  • If you are part of a support group, it can be helpful to connect with them for Ideas and ways to get through or overcome challenges during this time. They will be the people that will most understand your experiences. 


6. Be aware of the trap of emotional eating. Most of us, when we are sick, in pain, or simply recovering, tend to look to food to comfort our bodies and emotions. Most often, it’s not healthy food we are gravitating toward. Highly processed, fried, and sugary foods are the main culprits here. Remember, it’s usually not the food that is as comforting as the memory or emotion attached to it. Being in a state of healing is a great time to make a change to a better relationship with food, and to give your body its best chance to heal itself. 

  • It’s important to avoid eating too much salt or sugar, due to the high level of inflammation they cause. This can impede and interfere with the healing process.
  • Eating a lot of beans, cruciferous vegetables, ginger, mushrooms, onions, berries and citrus fruit can increase the rate of recovery, reduce inflammation, and boost your immune system. 
  • Deeply colored fruits such as blackberries, pomegranates, and cherries increase antioxidants lost to the medications during the procedure, and help improve capillary integrity.
  • If your cravings are getting the best of you, and you have someone bring you a cookie, don’t take the guilt train all the way to town. If you are eating healthy the rest of the time, be graceful with yourself and don’t add any undue stress.

7. Spend quality time with your kids. If you have short-term physical limitations, it may be a great time to ask your kids to get out the old board games. You’ll talk, laugh, and enjoy each other’s company while playing. One of the most powerful things you can do to heal is to laugh. 

  • This can be a teaching moment for your kids. Teaching them the power of faith, hope, joy and choosing to overcome bottles by watching you do just that is more powerful than any words you may have on the subject. Learning the lessons of compassion, patience, and core giving is a great lesson for kids as well.
  • This can be a confusing and possibly traumatic time for your kids watching you go through something painful. or even scary. They are looking to you to see how they should react and recover from this event. 


8. Accept the help that others offer. It allows them to assist you in a time when they are looking for ways to help. Plus, you’ll feel positive inside knowing that people care about you so deeply. This means you aren’t going through this alone. 

  • Nothing speeds up healing like feeling love and support from others.
  • If you are the type of person who has a very hard time with others doing tasks you normally do, this is a good time to get better at receiving help. Being vulnerable, surrendering to the love of others, requires strength.
  • If it’s your spouse that’s helping you, this can be an experience that brings you closer together because you are both healing, strengthening, and bonding as you go through it. By allowing them to do things for you and support you, you both will learn new things and work as a team. 

9. Recognize the progress you’re making. Perhaps last week you couldn’t sit up without hurting, but this week you can. Maybe your steps are a bit quicker this week than last. Or maybe you feel like getting dressed today, but yesterday you didn’t. 

  • Acknowledge your steps of progress, no matter how small they may be. Let those steps spur you forward with positivity, getting you closer to health and wellness.
  • If you aren’t already, this is the perfect time to begin journaling. Writing down your progress, or even setbacks, is a powerful way to gauge how things are going, what is working, or what isn’t. These are things you can go back to later and reflect on for further growth and recovery. A few things to include in your journaling practice are gratitude, learning and improvement, and emotional reflection.


10. Escape into a good book or movie. There’s nothing wrong with some good, old fashioned escapism. Following an engaging storyline may be all you need to feel better and more impassioned to return to your normal life. Now, that doesn’t mean go find all the depressing, negative, or garbage TV you can find. During this time, you’ll want to be lifted up and will need to be reminded of all that is good and full of life.

  • Binge watching Star Wars when I am sick or recovering is a favorite pastime of mine. They are amazing underdog stories, but I have seen them a thousand times. Try out new and inspiring movies or books. This can help motivate and encourage you with new hope and new ideas.
  • The last time I was laid up I took the opportunity to find all the documentaries and life stories of people I admire or find inspiring. These aren’t things I would normally just sit down and watch on a Friday night, but I am so glad I took that time to discover stories I hadn’t heard. These are all people that had beaten the odds. I was so encouraged!


When you’re recovering from a major health event, there are many types of assistance you’ll require. Become inspired and create a plan to move you closer toward your personal recovery. Focus on your own pathway to healing and you’ll be back to normal (or better!) in no time at all. 




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