Welcome to the final part of our stroke recovery expert series.
- Part 1: A Survivor’s Guide to Becoming a Stroke Recovery Expert
- Part 2: How to Deal with Stroke Side Effects and Limitations the Smart Way
- Part 3: The Nutrition Game and Finding Inner Peace during Stroke Recovery
Now that we’ve covered the essentials of rehab and how to properly deal with stroke side effects, let’s dig into the extra stuff – the accessory work that will make everything easier.
The Nutrition Game
What you eat plays a large role in your recovery on an energetic and emotional level.
Energy-wise, you want to keep yourself well-nourished so that you have energy to complete your rehab exercises and carry out the activities of daily living. Specialized diets you may want to explore in this area are:
You can also consider supplementing your diet with vitamins known to boost stroke recovery.
Before starting a new diet or supplementing, however, it’s important to consult with your doctor first.
Happy Gut, Happy Brain
On an emotional level, what you eat can have a real effect on your mood, too.
Specifically, if you’re suffering from post stroke depression or anxiety, it could be caused by a lack of probiotics in the diet. Probiotics help nurture your gut health which is directly linked to your brain health through the gut-brain axis.
With this intimate connection, it’s no surprise that there are studies linking an unhealthy gut to anxiety and depression. Luckily, this means that the opposite is true.
There are other avenues that you can take instead.
Finding Inner Peace after Trauma
During stroke recovery, there are many road blocks to inner peace, like anger, frustration, and negative thinking, and this can get in the way of your recovery.
Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for stroke side effects to go away to make these emotions go away.
There are actually practical things you can do right now to ease negative feelings, like practicing meditation, mindfulness, and acceptance.
Boost Recovery, End Impatience
Meditation is one of our top recommended habits during stroke recovery because it’s proven to:
- Reduce depression, tiredness, and fatigue
- Improve attention, emotion regulation, and mental flexibility
- Grow your brain and improve information processing
YUP, all those things can be achieved through a dedicated meditation practice – thanks to our good ol’ friend neuroplasticity.
Each time you sit down to meditate, you’re focusing on clearing your mind and living in the present moment. As you know from earlier lessons, neuroplasticity helps you become skillful at whatever you repeatedly focus on.
Therefore, the more you repeatedly focus on the present moment, the better your brain becomes at staying in the present moment, which helps you take effective action and cope with stress.
Are you sold? Then try starting your meditation habit now.
A Mindful, Happy Recovery
Meditation is your gateway into the present moment, which leads to more happiness. And that’s not just our opinion.
Science has shown that living in the present leads to more happiness.
It’s finally a fact.
So whatever you’re doing, be all there – especially when you don’t want to be.
When you’re doing your rehab exercises, think only about doing your rehab exercises. This will prevent your mind from wandering and allow you to focus all your mental energy on the task at hand.
And focusing 100% of your attention into rehab will lead to a better recovery.
That’s exactly what a stroke surviving yoga teacher knew in her heart – and she had a speedy recovery because of it.
The Art of Acceptance
Things like meditation and mindfulness can lead to a better recovery because they help you find acceptance – acceptance of yourself and your present situation.
This is important because stroke recovery is really tough, and if you have the ability to move through it with grace and calmness, then there’s nothing you can’t do. Seriously.
So if you find yourself stressed and struggling, start meditating. It may not feel like it’s helping, but you’re in this for the long haul. Try not to expect results for at least a couple weeks.
In time, as you begin to live more in the present moment, you’ll naturally start resisting less and accepting more. This will provide the necessary energy to take effective action – meaning you’ll recover faster.
Putting It All Together
Like we said at the beginning of this series, nutrition and mindfulness are the accessory work of recovery, meaning they’re a great compliment to the bread and butter of rehab, which you learned about in parts 1 and 2.
After reading through this whole guide – go you! – we’d like to offer our congratulations! You are now a bonafide stroke recovery expert who knows exactly how to take their recovery to the next level.
With your new understand of how rehab works and how to get the road blocks out of the way, we hope you feel empowered to ask better questions, explore your options, and expand your thinking.
What do you wish you knew more about? Drop us a line in the comments section – we’d love to hear from you!