A long hospital stay can be a tough ordeal, but there are some steps to wellbeing to help you cope. To discover these 15 ways to boost your mental health whilst in hospital, read on…
Enduring a long hospital stay is never easy. Whether you’re awaiting surgery, healing from an accident, in the midst of discussing misdiagnosis claims due to hospital negligence, or are hospital-bound from a chronic or terminal illness, it can be tough.
Spending all your time in a place you don’t know, with people you’re not familiar with, and sleeping in an unfamiliar bed will never be easy. That said, prioritising your mental wellbeing is one of the key ways you can learn to cope during this unprecedented situation. So, for some steps to wellbeing during your long hospital stay, don’t go anywhere…
The first step to wellbeing is to keep your mind distracted. You could do this through reading, writing, colouring, drawing, crosswords, sudoku, knitting, embroidery or anything else you can think of.
These days, we’re really lucky that we live in a world where all of this is at our fingertips. So, either get a family member to bring you some of these items, or just access some phone apps; the choice is yours.
They say that home is where the heart is, so why not bring the “heart” into the hospital, to make this more of a temporary home for you. After all, the psychology of making yourself comfortable should help you to boost your mental wellbeing.
Some ideas for decorations you could bring in include photo frames containing family photos, your favourite books, a candle, or a plant. By adorning your bedside table with all these items, you’ll be bringing as much of home as possible into your current home.
Home decorations are certainly a great way to bring home to you, but nothing beats some more comforting items too. What we’re talking about is something which you can snuggle up to during those long hospital nights. For example, a blanket, a pillow, or even a cute little teddy, could be a great choice.
Writing down your thoughts and feelings may seem a bit cheesy, but some say that the psychological impact of just noting down negative thoughts could really help. So, grab a pen and paper, and start writing… not only is it a great way to pass the time, but it could be the key to letting your emotions free.
If you really want to, you could even start your very own blog to journal your feelings. This way, you could gain some advice from others who have been in your position, and perhaps even help out others in the process. By engaging with likeminded people, you may even form a little community.
Social media, although sometimes a negative force in peoples’ lives, can also be a really positive influence too. When you’re stuck in hospital, you may not have the usual social contact that you’re used to; you won’t be at home with your family, or at work, school, or uni with friends. So, staying in contact with people, especially if they can’t visit you, is so important.
Sharing statuses which engage people to interact, posting throwback photos, or posting new photos from your hospital antics are a good way to interact. Or, much more simply, just direct messaging your loved ones is a great way to stay sane, and get that dose of human contact we all need.
The power of our sense of smell can’t be overstated. Even just the smell of home comforts, like food, sweets, or perfumes, can take us right back to a moment when we were younger. The same can probably be said for your toiletries.
Perhaps there’s a particular shampoo or conditioner you use at home, which reminds you of a holiday you once went on. Or maybe there’s a toothpaste which takes you right back to brushing your teeth at home with your family. Whatever it is, bringing all these homely items to your hospital room can help you bring the essence of home to you.
A list of items which might be worth bringing to the hospital with you, to give you some inspiration, could include:
One really important thing to remember is to not be afraid to lean on your loved ones for mental support. They are there to help you, and now more than ever is a time you should be making the most of them for comfort.
Talk to them if you’re not feeling so great, or maybe even ask them if they don’t mind bringing you some food! There’s nothing quite like a home-cooked meal to set you right, after all. Just remember that you’re not a burden to them, and they are there to help you, now more than ever.
Many hospitals may have community activities to keep patient wellbeing up-to-scratch. This could be something like arts and crafts, board games, watching TV together, or playing video games with one another.
Not only will this help you to keep your mind active and distracted, but it’ll also give you an opportunity to meet other patients. Everyone here will be in a similar boat to you, in some way, so by getting to know them, and confiding in them, who knows, you may become firm friends.
In the modern world, we are particularly reliant on technology for entertainment, and this is no different in hospital. Yes, you’ll likely have a television in your hospital room, but you probably won’t have much variety, or even much say in what you watch. So, why not bring in your own laptop, so you can watch what makes you smile and keeps your spirits high.
Your hospital experience will likely give you a lot of free time, like you’ve never experienced before. Because of this, now’s the chance to try out something you’ve always wanted to, but never had time to do.
For example, if you’re feeling up to it, you could learn a new language, start writing a book, or get good at a school subject you never quite got the hang of. Whatever makes you tick, it’s up to you!
There’s no denying that, right now, you may be feeling a myriad of emotions. For some people, music is an amazing outlet for expressing and acknowledging these strange emotions.
So, take this opportunity to create new playlists, discover new artists, and share them with people online. This way, you can learn to cope, with the help of others, through the art of music.
12.Wear Your Own Clothes
In hospital, you’ll likely be given a small collection of clothes to wear, including a gown, and some clinical tracksuit bottoms. But, if you’re going to be here for the foreseeable future, why not make yourself feel even more comfortable by bringing in your own clothes to wear. Whether it be pyjamas and comfies, or something a bit more put together to make you feel refreshed, it’s down to you.
13. Leave the Room Regularly
Staying in your hospital room all the time is likely to drive anyone stir crazy. So, make a concerted effort to head out of your room each day, and even get some fresh air if you’re allowed. This could come in the form of hospital activities, or just having a walk around the hospital and ground, for a much-needed change of scenery.
14. Start a Side Hustle
So, you’ve got your laptop with you, you have a pen and paper, and you’ve the brain between your ears. Couple this with a lot of free time, and you’ve got the perfect recipe to start your side hustle. Whether it be an etsy store, a freelance service, or even a non-profit hospital business, like knitting hats and scarfs for patients, the entrepreneurial world is your oyster.
15. Don’t Forget About Life Outside the Hospital
It can be easy to become used to the monotonous day-by-day of the hospital, but you can’t forget that your life outside awaits you too. After all, you want to return to a home and job when you leave!
So, remember to pay your bills and rent on time, keep up with your mortgage payments, and check your work emails now and again. You don’t want to be left behind.