Recovery from a critical illness, a serious injury or neurologic event such as a stroke or multiple sclerosis exacerbation can seem like a daunting task. Preserving hope and staying motivated throughout the process can not only benefit your recovery but also help you find more joy and acceptance in the process.
Track Your Progress
When progress feels slow tracking your progress can provide you with objective measures of your recovery even when it feels like you’ve gone nowhere. There are many tools out there today to help you track your progress. Pick the one that makes the most sense for you. Start early and update often!
- Take intermittent videos/photos and view them to see how far you’ve come
- Select a few performance measures such as how far you walk, how long you sat up or how many reps of an exercise you did and track it over time in a journal
- Take advantage of technology such as smart watches, fit bits or apps on your phone to measure your activity and performance
- Ask family members or close friends to share the growth they’ve observed during your recovery
Create a Supportive Environment
Though you may feel alone on your journey having a supportive environment around you can make all the difference. Whether it is in your home or in your community look for ways to build a support network.
- Join a support group
- Ask your close family/friends to spend time with you or help you out in ways that work for them and for you
- Seek mental health counseling if you are feeling down or losing hope
- Reach out to local advocacy groups in your area that can connect you with relevant resources
Make Time for Joy!
While staying diligent with medical treatments, therapies and other treatment modalities is essential for your recovery it is just as important to make time for relaxation, fun and enjoyable activities. While you may not currently be able to participate in all of the activities you have enjoyed in the past, there are likely many ways you can still cultivate enjoyment in your day. If you are having a hard time thinking of ways to relax or have fun ask your friends, family or therapist for suggestions on ways you can modify a previous activity to make it accessible or brainstorm new ways you can kick back and relax.
Here are some other strategies to help you stay hopeful and motivated during your recovery
- Make up a mantra or statement that you can recite to yourself when you are having a difficult day such as “I am strong and capable!”
- Spend some time practicing meditation or mindfulness to reduce stress
- Be patient with yourself and remember to acknowledge yourself for your hard work, progress and efforts no matter how big or small.