Hospital stays: How to keep your mind and body active during your visit

Dec 2, 2011, 11:20 a.m.

When you find out that you are going to be staying in the hospital for an extended period, it is normal that you don't greet this information with a giant cheer. A long hospital stay can have detrimental effects on both the body and the brain, ranging from muscle cramps and body numbness to depression and body image issues. However, with a little bit of creativity and dedication, you can keep your mind and body active during your hospital visit. Here are some tips on how you can make that time in the hospital flash by much faster!

Yoga for stress management

You might not be able to do the same exercise program that you normally do outside of the hospital, but yoga is an excellent way to keep your body healthy -- and yoga for stress management is a great way to help your mind. Even if you are confined to the bed, as you might be during the early portion of your hospital stay, you can use yoga for exercise purposes, as well as yoga for stress management. Some of the simple yoga poses can easily be done from a hospital bed, and as long as your doctor is okay with it, you can use this method of mind and body stimulation on a daily basis! Yoga can help your blood circulation, help to preserve or increase range of motion, and is an excellent way to calm the mind. Even if you don't normally enjoy exercise, you may find that yoga is different: No exhausting effort is required, and instead you will find a beneficial relaxing effect.

Stay social

Just because you are in the hospital does not mean that you have to lose contact with the world. Encourage your family and friends to visit as often as allowed -- it helps to keep the mind lively and can really keep depression at bay. In many cases, the hospital will allow you to have a laptop computer and a mobile phone in your room when you are there for an extended period. Use some social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to stay in contact with everyone, and maybe even make new friends right from your hospital bed. Whether you love cell phones or not, they are a fact of life in today's world, and this is a great time to actually make use of yours. Chat with your friends, maybe even have the kids or grandkids explain text messaging tips and tricks if you like. When you have a cell phone with all of your friends and family numbers programmed in, it will be hard to feel lonely.

Game time!

This can be an excellent time to really have some fun with puzzles, word games, and crosswords. A book with word games or crosswords can provide hours of entertainment, while keeping the mind sharper than ever. If you enjoy board games or card games, invite your visitors to play -- they will soon be wondering when you had time to become such an expert!

Work time

If you were employed prior to your hospital stay, ask your employer if there is any portion of the job that you can do via the Internet. Many companies today use some telecommuting employees, so you may be able to keep working, at least part-time, right from your hospital bed.

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