At some point in your cancer journey, a long hospital stay may be inevitable. Some days, sleep may be your go-to pastime to combat nausea, pain or side effects from treatment. Although rest and relaxation are keys to recuperation, after a while, hospitals can feel like a whole lot of waiting around.
The good news is, if you are feeling bored; you’re most likely feeling better! A secret to beating monotonous days is mimicking your normal routines. Many of the hobbies you enjoy outside of the hospital can take place while you’re here - exercise, movie nights, arts and crafts, reading. And don’t be afraid to venture into some unfamiliar territory - now is a great time to adopt a new diversion.
Here are a few ways to beat your clock-watching urges.
- Stay connected through technology: RPCI offers free wifi access and complimentary laptop rentals from Cancer Resource Center for Patients and Families so you can continue your social media pursuits or stay connected to friends through email, Skype, gchat or Facebook. With access to websites like Netflix or Hulu, you can pick a new TV series and start at season one.
- Movie night: The Cancer Resource Center has a great selection of movies you can borrow and watch in your room. They also have CDs, audiobooks and a library of various publications.
- Invite visitors: Let friends and family visit often. They can cheer you up, make you laugh and bring you stuff from home that you normally enjoy such as magazines, board games, cards or video games.
- Learn a new trade: Knitting, painting, arts and crafts, music therapy and meditation techniques are all available at RPCI. Learn to paint or make beaded jewelry and key chains with supplies from the craft cart. Or ask your nurse or an RPCI volunteer about the Artist-in-Residence Program.
- Socialize with other patients: Ask your nurse if he or she can set up an activity for you with other patients of the same age or diagnosis. If you are feeling well enough, you can also talk to other families and patients in common areas.
- Make a canine companion: Almost every day, there is a pet therapy dog wandering around RPCI. Check out the patient calendar to learn more about the different breeds and their visiting hours. Visit them in the lobby or have one stop by your room for a little puppy love.
- Join a support group or class: Various support groups and programs are offered throughout the month. The Look Good Feel Better program is just one of many programs hosted at RPCI, and provides complimentary beauty sessions to cancer patients. Check out the patient calendar for the full list.
- Exercise: If your health permits, set aside an hour a day for a walk around RPCI.