How to Keep Bed Rest From Ruining Your Life

If you have a chronic illness, it is safe to presume that you have had your share of bed rest.

Having your doctor prescribe bed rest can feel like the end of the world, even for those who experience it often if you don’t plan for it or adjust your attitude. With that said, I have had my fair share of bed rest and have learned to make the best of it.

The following tips are why my world no longer ends when I have to rest, how I get by without losing my mind, and what you should keep in mind the next time you are ordered to stay in bed by your doctor or chronic illness.

*Disclosure: I am NOT a medical professional and I am not issuing medical advice. This post contains affiliate links. Meaning that, at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission from sales.

I was put on bed rest in Sept. 2017 after ripping an abdominal muscle. My drug-free pain-relief device decreased the time I needed to remain in bed.

Tip Number 1: Be prepared

Even you if never injure yourself, your chronic illness will demand that you spend extended periods of time in bed. 

Neither can be predicted, so the best thing you can do is prepare ahead of time. 

I view bed rest as a natural disaster and the extent of the fallout depends on how well I prepared for it. 

Ways to prepare for your downtime is to have at least a week worth of meals in the freezer that can be easily prepared. 

Stock up on gift cards from your favorite restaurants and fast food places or tuck away a slush fund to order takeout. 

Prepare financially by building a savings account that will cover your expenses during your downtime should you not be able to work while on bed rest. 

Stock your medicine cabinet with items that bring you comfort, such as heating pads, ice packs, essential oils, etc.

Tip Number 2: Take charge

This may sound silly as the thought of being stuck in bed is anything but one of authority.  However, you are still in control of your life and household no matter what has landed you in bed. 

Delegate the tasks or chores that you normally handle to other family members.

If bed rest is something that becomes a reoccurring event for you, plan ahead by having set assignments for every family member so there won’t be any surprises. 

If you live alone, consider asking friends or family to pitch in or if you have the means hire a housekeeper.

Tip Number 3: Do what you can from the bed, but get real!

I had to make changes to my life so that my world wouldn’t fall apart each time my chronic illnesses, surgeries, or injuries disrupted it. 

Ninety percent of what I commit to or take on work-wise can be done from my bed.  For my other commitments and for those of you who aren’t able to perform your job from bed it’s time to get real.

Give yourself the time your body needs to heal. The moment you know that you are going to be down and have an approximate idea for how long, start making different arrangements. 

Cancel, reschedule, or find someone else to take your place.  Don’t lose the respect of a client/charity/group by cancelling last minute if you don’t have to, give them ample time to replace you.

Tip Number 4: Indulge a little.

As I shared in my vlog “Why you should treat yourself”, it’s okay to indulge and reward yourself sometimes!

I no longer view bed rest as a prison sentence. Bed rest is prescribed because that is what our bodies need at that time.

To make my time down in Sept. 2017 a little more enjoyable, I purchased new pajama bottoms and leggings. You may want to purchase a new pillow or bedding, lotion, sleep mask, basically anything that will make you more comfortable.

Tip Number 5: Allow yourself to have fun!

That’s right, have fun!!! Play board games, online games like Words with Friends, marathon through TV series that you haven’t had time to watch before on Netflix or Hulu, crochet or knit, color or draw, the ideas are endless….

Another way to use this time is to catch up with friends and family with phone calls or Skype. 

Our attitude plays a huge role in our recovery, will you let yours make your recovery time miserable or will you find ways to enjoy this moment in your life?

Tip Number 6: Don’t isolate yourself

There were times when I viewed my bed rest time as doing a prison stint….

I had an unhealthy attitude of feeling like I didn’t deserve to be happy if I couldn’t function like I did before. 

I get that you won’t look your best and you probably don’t want everyone you know to see you in your pajamas, but don’t close out those closest to you. 

Also, don’t wait for others to invite themselves over.  Most people assume we don’t want visitors, so do yourself a favor and ask a friend over for a pizza party or to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee.

Same goes for your family.  To solve my problem of feeling disconnected from my family, we would all watch TV, play games, or do what we would normally do together in other areas of the house in my room.

Tip Number 7: Make your room a place that you want spend time in

Make your bedroom a place that won’t drive you mad if you have to stay in it for a prolonged period of time. 

Don’t skimp on the quality of your bedding, make sure it provides comfort no matter how you feel. 

Keep your room clean.  If you are like me, your master bedroom isn’t the room you focus your cleaning or decorating energy on.  Let’s face, other than us, who really sees it? 

Having a room that is organized, comfortable, and welcoming will make you less anxious when someone does stop by.  It also makes it easier for others to keep up with when you aren’t able to clean.

Tip Number 8: Have an alternative option for the person who needs to sleep

One of the downsides of being on bed rest is that our days and nights often get turned around. 

While not really a problem for those of us stuck in bed, it is for the person who needs to go to work the next morning. 

Whether it be a sleeper sofa, roll away bed, guest room, or the sofa itself, have a plan for either you or your spouse to sleep somewhere else when they really need a good night’s sleep. 

This also helps when recovering from surgery.  I sleep better knowing that my husband can’t accidentally bump into me.

Wondering what that glowing blue device is in the picture at the top of this post? 

It is my portable PEMF therapy device, Oska Pulse. 

It is keeping my chronic pain from my other conditions down while reducing the amount of swelling I am experiencing from my sprained/torn muscles. 

Published by Cynthia Covert

Diagnosed in 2001 with psoriasis, followed by fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, endometriosis, and later a botched hysterectomy turned her world upside down. Cynthia shares her experience, advice, and tips for how to make life with chronic pain easier and less painful.

4 thoughts on “How to Keep Bed Rest From Ruining Your Life

  1. These are all great tips! My biggest problem with bed rest is that it tends to make my neck and shoulder pain worse. Wish I could figure out how to stop that from happening, because then I might really enjoy it, ha!

  2. Cynthia, this is great! I spend most of my “bedrest time” in my recliner. It was my Dad’s when he lived with us and I was his caregiver. It goes back in a very comfortable sleep position, can be shaped similar to a hospital bed and lifts to put you almost in a standing position. This way I am not stuck away in the bedroom but can get the rest I need. I have remotes for the TV, DVR, stereo, air conditioner/heat pump and can reach to open or close the balcony door for the pets without straining or getting up. I keep a basket with a sleep mask, back scratcher, magazines, etc. I was just put in bedrest last week when I got bronchitis. Hubby went away (I was supposed to go too) but left me with easy food items and beverages handy.

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