“Self-care is how you take your power back.”
As I improved and returned to driving, my psychotherapist introduced me to the importance of self-care. It involves a multitude of suggestions, as you’ll see below.
Below, I will explain the benefits of my self-care suggestions, as well as recommendations of a small selection of practitioners I use regularly. You will notice a pattern with all of the practitioners - they’re all dear friends because they’re kind, caring and perfectly suited to their professions!
I am so fortunate and grateful to have these people in my life! They’ve made my recovery as pleasant as it could possibly be!
If you decide to utilize any of these practitioners, please tell her/him I recommended her/him.
1. MASSAGE THERAPY
Weekly massages are a must for me for a number of reasons.
Recovering from a stroke is a lifelong process of working hard every week in intense and exhaustive therapy. Massaging those weary muscles, as well as your mind, helps me recoup for the following week’s workout! Stroke therapy creates stress in your body and mind. Massages help reduce that stress.
My affected shoulder is tight and has an impingement issue. Loosening the shoulder and relaxing those tight muscles and providing better range of motion is another benefit, because it accelerates my recovery during in-clinic therapy, therapy, as well as in-home therapy. The list goes on and on…
2313 E. Sells Drive
Phoenix, AZ 85016-5533
Lorilee is a wonderful person who provides Ayurvedic counseling and a large variety of amazing treatments. Please visit her website here for more information! She’s the best as a person and an Ayurvedic practitioner! You can’t go wrong with Lorilee! She will definitely change your life, especially with her Ayurvedic practices!
Christy Dater | 480-375-1430
4685 Ash I Avenue
Tempe, AZ 85282
Timber Harkins (Flagstaff) | Living Well Massage
519 N. Leroux Street
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
I’m fortunate enough to have found Timber, whom I enjoy massages from on a weekly basis, during the time we reside in Munds Park (just south of Flagstaff) during the summer months! Another jewel of a person! His deep tissue massages are beyond amazing and so integral to my recovery! If you’re ever in the area, give Timber a call!
2. HAIR SALON
Ladies, I don’t know about you, but I have had “bad hair days” ever since my stroke! since I was unable to style my hair until Jane found this hair dryer holder:
I still continue my monthly visits to the hair salon, however!
Rochelle Quema | Rochelle’s Salon & Spa | 602-276-8182
4806 N. 16th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85016
The best colorist, stylist, all-around marvelous person, kind, and a dear friend!. To give you an idea of her kindness, Rochelle not only visited me at St. Luke’s, but she washed my hair - a MUCH-NEEDED self-care!
This is another self-care task I’m currently unable to perform. Until my stroke, I really hadn’t realized how important manicures/pedicures were, or maintaining the health of my skin. My psychotherapist was the one who reminded me how necessary self-care was to my self-esteem and overall well-being. She explained that I no longer had the same physical appearance, which naturally affected my self-esteem which, if not addressed in a healthy/practical way, could have long-term psychological effects.
The practitioners I’ve listed below are phenomenal people, as well as practitioners. Both care deeply about their clients. Nancy is a gifted facialist. Patty is too! She does an excellent job on my hands and my feet. Patty is as kind as they come, as is Nancy. An added bonus is - she’s an expert at managing my left hand and foot , both of which can be extremely uncooperative during the process! :-)
1245 W. Baseline, #108
Mesa, AZ 85202
This is not only a self-care task I’m unable to perform yet! It’s a task I’ve never been able to perform! So I leave this up to Nancy, an expert facialist, and a stroke survivor herself.
1859 W. Guadalupe Road
Mesa, AZ 85202
FEES: Facials: $65 | Facial Packages: $235 for 4 | Peels, microdermabrasions & dermaplaning: $100 | Pkg of 4: $350
No practitioner needed!
Quiet time and solitude are a must for me. I crave them! I’m more of an introvert than an extrovert, which means I “recharge my batteries” by creating solitude and introspection for myself.
Some of the methods I prefer are:
Listening to music
Watching 1930’s black & white movies, TV series, sports, or Agatha Christie mysteries.
I literally cannot keep up with my therapy schedule or everyday life unless I attend to these vital needs! It rejuvenates me and helps me refocus on the important things in life! We all have our preferred methods of “recharging.” Some of us are introverts and others are extroverts. We all “charge our batteries” in different ways.
Additional ways I recharge are:
Small gatherings with dear friends
Attending movies and operas
Traveling in our RV to new and interesting and beautiful vistas with a group of friends, or alone with my partner - to areas of our lovely country
These are all ways I like to socialize and recharge my batteries.
If you’re barricading yourself in your house, acquiescing to your fears or fretting about your plight, consider taking one small step at a time. For instance, ask your caregiver to drive you around for an hour, just to get a different perspective. Then, perhaps you could see a movie next time, and move on from there.
If we don’t challenge ourselves, we’ll never improve.
Interacting with others is an important component to my recovery as well. Being in the company of supportive, caring friends and family has been an integral part of my trying to maintain a positive attitude during my recovery.
That being said...
Do I feel weird or different at times? YES!
Do I get tired of talking & listening due to the damage to my brain? YES!
Do I feel different than them due to my obvious disability and the lack of theirs? YES!
Am I concerned that I may trip and fall during a social engagement? YES!
Am I able to move about freely? NO! Am I agile? NO! Do I like that? NO!!!
Those feelings are completely natural! Some represent the physical side effects of our strokes and some are our emotional side effects. All are perfectly natural. Not to worry – we all experience these but it’s okay! At least we’re getting out there! And, it’s something we must do in order to stay mentally healthy!
could see a movie next time, and move on from there. If we don’t challenge ourselves, we’ll never improve.
If you have any energy left after your week-long therapy, you might want to consider taking a leisurely walk, do yoga, or whatever low-impact movement is of interest to you. This may be your choice of self-care as well.
I hope this list helped you with a few ideas of how to care for yourself post-stroke. I have found by keeping consistent with not only my exercises and therapy - but my self-care and socializing too, that I can find more of a happy balance!
Next week we cover a hot topic in stroke recovery: Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation with an expert, Bonnie Pond!
What’s are some of your self-care habits?
I would love to hear, comment below!