Those rehab exercises need to be done, and when you don’t have the motivation to do it, we’ve got your back.
Rehab exercises are necessary for regaining mobility and preventing further loss of movement. This loss of movement occurs if you neglect your affected limbs so much that your brain completely forgets how to use it. It’s called learned nonuse and you need to maintain minimal movement in order to avoid this colossal pitfall.
So when you need an extra nudge to do your rehab exercises, try these 5 tips.
1. Follow the 5 Minute Rule
Make yourself one small promise: “I’ll do these exercises for just 5 minutes.”
When we set small goals, fear is much less likely to kick in and suddenly those stroke recovery exercises seem much more doable.
Here’s the trick: Once you get moving, you will always have the option to stop after 5 minutes.
As long as you make it optional for yourself, you’ll be very likely to do it. It’s like reverse psychology, and it works every time.
2. You Only Have One Job Right Now
When you have too much going on in your life, it can quickly become overwhelming and frustrating. Both of these emotions are motivation drainers, so taking small steps is key.
Whatever your one goal is, hone in on it and make everything else optional.
Similar to tip #1, once you get going you’ll be much less likely to stop. But even if you do stop, you’ll still be closer to achieving your most important goal.
3. Stop Thinking About It – Seriously
This tip is counterintuitive, but it’s an important one.
You need goals, and you need to think about them daily. If you do this, your brain will have no choice but to address the issue and remove some of the resistance holding you back.
Now, it’s important to think about these goals, but don’t think about them too much.
When you’re doing your rehab exercises, your ‘doing mode’ is ON. But if you continue to think about the looming path ahead, then your doing mode will stay on and possibly lead to depression and anxiety.
To stay motivated, think about your rehab exercises only when you’re doing them, and forget about them when you’re not.
Which brings us to our next tip:
4. Be Really, Really Consistent
Once you’ve developed a habit, you don’t need to exert effort towards remembering.
You just do it.
But it takes time to get to this point (21 days to be exact) but once you’ve developed consistency, doing your rehab exercises habitually will come naturally.
You’ll save yourself mental energy by foregoing the remembering process (racking your brain really takes a toll on our mental battery), and it will help keep your doing mode OFF the rest of the time.
5. Find Inspiration from Other Stroke Survivors
To find inspiration, you could hop on a generic motivation website, but if it doesn’t translate directly to stroke recovery, then it might not have a profound effect.
Start reading stories from other stroke survivors – the people who conquered their recovery with the determination that you want to see within yourself.
A good place to start is with Nicole Marquez, who fell off the roof of her apartment building and still has a positive attitude about her recovery.
You should also read Sean Entin’s story where he suffered a massive stroke (from a baseball-sized clot!) and fought very hard to get his life back.
When you need a little extra push to do your stroke recovery exercises, try some of these tips and let us know how it worked for you!