5 ways to practice self-care after your stroke

Stack of rocks or cairn on a beach

Taking care of your mental and emotional well-being after a stroke is important. This blog has some tips and advice for practising self-care.

Self-care is when you take the time to look after your emotional and mental well-being.

In practice, it means different things to different people. For some, self-care is taking some time to be alone with their thoughts. For others, it's about doing something fun with friends or family.

In this blog, we're going to talk about five different kinds of self-care. Then you can decide which is right for you.

Self-care tip #1: Connect with others

Connecting with other people can be a great form of self-care. It doesn't have to be in a large group. You might prefer meeting up or talking on the phone with just one other person.

Sometimes you want to connect and talk with people who know what you are going through. There are plenty of ways you can connect with other stroke survivors or carers:

  1. Meet up with your local stroke group.
  2. Join our online forum.
  3. Sign up for six weeks of regular calls with Here For You.

Self-care tip #2: Keep busy

Focusing on an activity can give you distraction from negative thoughts or feelings.

Hobbies are great ways to stay busy and even connect with other people. For example, our online forum has active gardening and cooking threads.

Another option could be to join in with some activities through our Online Stroke Activities Hub. Some sessions are all about stroke, while others are just for fun. There are weekly sessions on genealogy, exercise and even regular quizzes.

Many people find being active is a great way to feel more positive. If you aren't sure where to start, we have a programme of exercise videos for stroke recovery.

Self-care tip #3: Eat and drink well

Your diet can affect how you’re feeling.

Eating well goes beyond keeping you healthy. It can help boost your mood and energy levels. A few things to consider:

  • Eat regular meals with lots of fruit and vegetables.
  • Overeating or comforting yourself with fast food will make you feel tired and run down.
  • Try to drink less alcohol and caffeine too.

We have some tips on our website about eating a healthy diet. There is also more information on our 'Eat a healthy diet' webpage.

Self-care tip #4: Try mindfulness

Mindfulness encourages you to stay in the present moment, without getting caught up in what you're feeling.

You can try this now by just focusing on your breathing for 30 seconds. It might be hard at first. But with some practice, most people find it helps with their anxiety or when they’re feeling overwhelmed.

Apps like Headspace or Relax Melodies provide guided sessions on your phone. Contact your local library or GP about mindfulness courses.

Self-care tip #5: Be kind to yourself

This may be the hardest part of self-care, but it is so important.

Try writing down your achievements and any compliments you've received. Look back on these when you're feeling down.

If you find you're being hard on yourself, imagine what you would say to a friend in this situation. We're often much harder on ourselves than we are on others.

If you have any questions about emotional changes after a stroke, you can find more information here on our website.

You can always call our Helpline on 0303 3033 100 to chat with someone about your questions. It's a place for information and support.

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