Skip to content

The best ways to recover from surgery

Here are a few activities to help keep the boredom at bay

A woman in a wheelchair paints as her dog sleeps on the ground next to her
A woman in a wheelchair paints as her dog sleeps on the ground next to her

Healing post-surgery isn’t just about your physical recuperation; another key player in a speedier recovery is knowing how to handle boredom. Staying in good spirits when you’re limited in what you can physically do is so important, but often overlooked.

Being stuck at home to recover post-surgery can drive even the sanest person a little stir-crazy. So, here are seven activities to help keep the boredom at bay.

1. Discover a new author or TV series

How often have you longed to binge watch a new TV series or catch up on the stack of books collecting dust on your bookshelf? Hit the op shops or local library pre-surgery for books and DVDs or get yourself an e-reader and load it up with novels (check out Kindle Prime or your library’s online catalogue for a more budget-friendly approach). More into TV shows or movies? Sign up for a month’s trial with a streaming service and explore a whole new library of movies or hit play on a TV series you’ve been meaning to get around to.

In the lead up to your surgery, don’t forget to check out nib Rewards. With discounts available on everything from magazines to novels and puzzle books, you won’t have to pay full price to beat boredom.

2. Join a forum or two

Whatever your hobbies or interests, there’s an internet group for discussing it. Look out for groups filled with positive folk and vigilant admins, and while away a few hours indulging in discussions on anything from philosophy to food, travel, science, great reads or animals doing adorable things.

A group of friends sitting around playing cards and eating snacks

3. Plan a trip

You won’t be in bed forever, so why not research travel blogs or sites and plan the perfect holiday? The benefit of free time means being able to find the best things to see and do, saving money by comparison shopping and having a chance to thoroughly research customer feedback on the places you plan to stay at or visit – be it fantasy or for real.

4. Learn a new skill

From practicing a foreign language to trying a short course, you could spend your recovery time learning a new skill. In saying that, it’s important to be mindful of your limitations – mental fatigue is common, so do acknowledge this and avoid adding to your frustration levels. Look for accredited courses where relevant if you want to add your new knowledge to your CV.

5. Get crafting

Keep your hands and mind busy by indulging in the arts and crafts. If you haven’t planned ahead, you can find a wide range of stockists that deliver online and tutorials if you need to master new skills. Not up for knitting? Why not try jewellery making, origami or drawing for something different?

Keeping on top of your mental health is just as important as your physical recovery

6. Podcasts

Music is a great way to lift the spirits, but did you know Spotify is also home to hundreds of awesome podcasts? You can also find a free podcast playing app on the Apple or Google Android store. Once you’ve downloaded the player, get trawling through a wide variety of topics. If you’re lost, look for some top-rated options or ask friends for recommendations.

7. Board games

This one will require a second person but keep a few board games handy and the next time someone asks how they can help, ask them to take a seat and deal the cards (or roll the dice, choose a monopoly get the idea). Or, make the most of your solo time by learning how to play card games or chess like a pro and enjoy winning every round!

Keeping on top of your mental health is just as important as your physical recovery, so if you notice any changes in the way you’re thinking or feeling, the best thing you can do is speak to your GP to get personalised advice.

If you're an nib member heading to hospital soon, make sure you check out our Going to Hospital page. This tool gives you information on health insurance, tips on how to reduce any out-of-pocket expenses and helpful questions to ask your specialist. To find out the details of your current policy, chat to someone about your upcoming hospital visit or get some guidance, call us on 13 16 42.

At nib, we also offer a range of Health Management Programs at no additional cost to eligible members*, including a Discharge Support Program. This program allows nib members access to a personalised recovery program after they return from hospital. If you would like to find out whether you’re eligible, or you’d like more information, call us on 1800 339 219 or email [email protected]

*Available to eligible nib members who’ve held Hospital Cover for 12 months and served their relevant waiting periods. Additional criteria vary according to each program.