Preparing for musculoskeletal or joint surgery can be challenging, especially if you are used to being physically active. Then when it comes to the recovery period afterwards, there may be more uncertainty as you face weeks and possibly even months more of inactivity.

Perhaps your surgery has been delayed following the pandemic? Or you’re struggling with chronic pain and still have months to go before your op? Whatever your situation, it’s important to recognise that there can be a huge impact on your mental wellbeing.

Research shows that a healthy psychological attitude throughout the process has a positive impact on your recovery, so it’s worth taking some time to experiment with different ideas and techniques to support yourself prior to and after your surgery. More information on some of these techniques can be found on MyFFC:

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Here are a few tips you might want to consider:

  1. Use only reliable medical sources to find out more about your surgery and recovery process if you would like to, such as your GP and reputable websites such as the NHS. It might be wise to avoid chat groups or online forums.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or discuss concerns with your medical team at all stages of the process. They are there to support you and this can be extremely helpful in ensuring a positive outcome. Reassurance is very important and has a massive impact on overall wellbeing – in particular, anxiety levels.
  3. Practice regular relaxation techniques such as progressive relaxation. Experiment to find out what works best for you. You can find a number of guided techniques you can access as a starting point on MyFFC here once you’ve registered.
  4. Nurture a hobby that you can maintain during recovery. It’s often difficult to find something that works for you if most of your hobbies are physical. Experiment to find something fulfilling. Perhaps listening to music, reading, watching a new TV show, craftwork, learning a new language, puzzles etc.
  5. Practice mindfulness and mindfulness meditation. Research shows that regular mindfulness practice can help manage pain as well as reduce anxiety and stress levels. You can find out more about mindfulness on MyFFC here.
  6. Take time out to practice deep breathing (from your diaphragm) each day, both prior to surgery and during recovery, if safe and comfortable to do so. This will engage the parasympathetic nervous system to help you feel calmer. You can find a practical guide to deep breathing on MyFFC here after registering.
  7. Use positive self-talk and visualisation. Imagining a positive outcome and using positive language can make all the difference.
  8. Talk through any worries with someone you trust. You don’t have to cope alone, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  9. Be realistic in your expectations, allowing yourself time to recover. Everyone is unique and will cope in different ways and have different timescales for recovery, so cutting yourself some slack is key.
  10. Acknowledge any feelings and emotions you have before and after surgery. Remember, it’s normal to have many of them.
  11. Connect with nature where and when you can. This can include anything from sitting outdoors or near an open window and breathing in the fresh air, to watching and listening to birds from your chair and going for a short, gentle walk when you are able to. You can also develop your gardening skills and enjoy it as a new hobby, ensuring you’re working within your physical capabilities at that time.

You can join one of our wellness workshop groups on MyFFC to find out more on everything from relaxation to stress, resilience and more in the Groups section here once you’ve registered.

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