Illness can strike at any time and, when it does, often the results are often life-changing. Fortunately, there are some techniques to employ during your recovery period which can soften the blow an illness has dealt to your life.
Several of the most debilitating illnesses of our time are preventable. Heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers are often the result of an unhealthy lifestyle. For smokers, heavy drinkers, and those whose diet consisted mainly of sugary, fatty foods, the recovery period is an excellent opportunity to get a second chance to develop healthy habits.
If an addiction was the cause of your illness, take advantage of your recovery time to work on overcoming it. This period is an excellent time to do this, as the memory of the illness is recent enough to provide motivation and oftentimes there are healthcare professionals checking in on your progress who can assist you in finding addiction recovery resources.
It is important to acknowledge the struggle you've just been through. Most illnesses require a gradual easing back into a regular routine during the recovery period in order to avoid injury and relapse. For some people, especially those who are normally very active, this can be an extremely stressful time in their lives. Heart attack victims, for example, are advised against returning to their usual routines after being released from the hospital. Exertion doesn't have to only mean physical—even office jobs can put undue stress on the body. Mental stress can be just as likely to cause a relapse or another heart attack as physical exertion.
During this time it might be a good idea to take up a hobby or find something to occupy your mind so you're not thinking about the things that you can't or shouldn't do for the time being. You'd be surprised at all the enjoyable things there are to do that you've probably never tried, especially if you've been busy with work and at home for the last few years. Give yourself a chance to just relax a little—enjoy the little things and learn how to take time for yourself.
Finally, and this is only if it is within your power to do so, consider helping others cope with their recovery. This doesn't mean having to become a doctor or nurse. You can simply volunteer your time at a local hospital or nursing home, if able. Some individuals, after recovering from a serious illness, choose to pursue health education degrees out of a desire to “pay it forward” and help others in their community.
There are many people out there who can use help in dealing with their recovery. Using what you have learned through your own experiences with illness to aid others going through a similar struggle is a great way to spend your recovery time.