Prepare to make adjustments.
Recovering from a stroke isn’t easy, and no one expects you to make a go of it immediately. In addition to having some cognitive difficulties, your body is probably going to be pretty worn out too. Some days it might seem like just trying to make a meal is too much.
If you’re feeling well enough to take care of yourself, but still get worn out easily, work around it—find easy-to-prepare, nutritious options. Buy healthy things that are easy to make, like frozen vegetables, pre-cut fruits, and pre-cooked lean meats. Keep a stock of supplemental drinks (like Ensure) that can give a big nutritional boost without much effort—just keep an eye on how much sugar you're drinking in those.
Instead of trying to prepare three big meals each day, it may be easier to make and eat five or six smaller ones instead. Conversely, you can try making a large amount of food a couple of times a week and eat on leftovers the rest of the time—making healthy, homemade meals even easier to access.
If you aren’t totally at the top of your cooking game, it’s okay to ask for help. If you have a loved one or caregiver to help you out, ask them to prepare meals you can freeze and easily warm up without getting worn out. Senior centers and programs like Meals on Wheels are also available in many areas that cater to folks who need assistance by providing them with pre-made meals.
Did you know...
- Need a quick cool down? Try drinking some hot liquid. It's true! As counterintuitive as it may seem, the heat from hot liquids will raise your body temperature. This will heat you up and cause you to sweat. The increased perspiration will wind up helping you feel cooler as it evaporates. Try it out!
- A hearty laugh is good for the heart. Laughing can increase blood flow by 20%. Additionally, looking on the bright side can help you live longer. Studies have shown that a more optimistic outlook is linked to a healthier heart, lower blood pressure, and a lower risk for coronary artery disease.
- Just saying the words "thank you" can measurably improve your mood. Researchers can actually measure happiness and changes in brain structure when people practiced regular "grateful thinking." This included things like writing thank you notes, writing gratitude journal entries, mindfully counting their blessings, and thanking friends. It may be helpful in overcoming depression!
- Do you know what the strongest muscle in your body is? No, it’s not your biceps or your thighs. It’s actually in your head. The masseter is a muscle in the jaw that is used when chewing. When all of the muscles of the jaw work together, they can exert a force as strong as 200 pounds on the molars. That’s some serious pressure.
- Starting to feel claustrophobic? The smells of apples may help keep your claustrophobic feelings at bay according to a 1995 study by Dr. Alan Hirsch. Green apples, specifically, helped people change their perception of their space. Maybe they thought of expansive apple orchards? Cucumbers and barbecue made the feelings worse.