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5 Engaging Activities That Helped My Stroke Recovery

5 Engaging Activities That Helped My Stroke Recovery

5 Engaging activities that helped my stroke recovery [all of which I still do today]

  • Reading
  • Picking up the guitar
  • Photo editing [Fuji X specific]
  • Writing & Blogging
  • Meditation

Since having a stroke in 2022 I have since chosen a few things to keep me busy while at the same time keeping my brain busy which, for me is a crucial part of the recovery process no matter how small the steps are. Recovery is the most significant during the first six months, after that noticable differences become less obvious but that does not mean that improvements can’t still be made.

There is also what is going in the old grey matter like the fact that this line on this paragraph so far has taken 6 attempts to get right as sometimes my typing comes out backwards and don’t event mention the typos! Brain training, if that is what we can call it has helped me in my recovery and continues to do so. With short term memory being an issue learning things like guitar and photo editing helps keep me busy and active.

1. Reading

I never was a big reader, somehow I just couldn’t get away with books, I prefered being out and about or using my hands to make something or create. That was however when I was younger, even after the stroke it took a while to pick up a book until one day I was watching ‘The Pacific’ [Spielberg/Hanks] and in the end credits were a couple of veterans of the war who had written accounts of their experiences.

One book was ‘With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa’ by Eugene Sledge, if you like accounts of the war then I would highly recommend this very frank and honest memoir by E.B.Sledge which spurred me on to dive into WW2 memoirs.

With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa
With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa

Reading is something I do every day, even in bed before I go to sleep. I can only manage a few pages at a time [10-12 on a good day] but I find it helps move my mind away from the day’s events and help me rest. I am sure that reading has a million benefits none of which I will even look up nor detail here but for me, as a traditional ‘non reader’ it continues to help in my recovery.

2. Learning guitar

Learning guitar is one of those activities that helped my stroke recovery because it’s damn difficult! I wanted something non physical where I could sit in the house and do something that would offer brain training, memory practice and using my left hand, expecially the middle two fingers.

Playing the guitar or even just strumming a couple of chords is all about using your head and your hands at the same time making it, for me at least, a perfect hobby to take up with no plans on being the next Nuno Bettencourt either.

With no pressure and plenty of online resources as well as tutorials and books I can pick up the guitar as and when and just practice. It doesn’t matter how bad it sounds as that is not the main purpose of the exercise.

3. Photo editing

Photo editng is a memory thing for me, remembering all of the presets I make in Fuji X Raw Studio is a task on it’s own and editing has endless possibilities and results. It keeps me busy. I ditched Lightroom when I switched over to Fuji from Pentax, simplifying everything and using Fuji’s own editing software. I’m in no rush, these days I shoot for fun and a couple of websites and that’s it, nothing more so there is no pressure.

5 Engaging activities that helped my stroke recovery
Photo editing, a million possibilities

Organising photography at the back end helps keeps the old grey matter thinking what with files to organise, backup, rename, edit, resize etc etc and this is all after the edit itself which can take some time and is actually something I have begun to enjoy again given the fuji recipes you can manipulate and make your own as well as creating from scratch. Sometimes it takes forever, this does not bother me.

4. Writing

Writing is something that I’ve aways enjoyed ever since I built my first blog back in 2004 and realised I could publish to the world. Writing has brought a certain element of accomplishment when I hit the publish button and see it out there. Since 2022 I have steadily written articles for this site and others including product reviews, overlanding stuff, my sobriety as well as a recent collection on mental health and the ‘broken ankle diaries‘.

Since the loss of my son to suicide in 2023 I have found writing and publishing has helped immensely, it acts as kind of a release where I can get things out there without the whole group therapy thing which is deffo not for me. As a result the reasons for my writing have changed slightly from what they were but it still plays a crucial part in keeping my brain active.

Activities That Helped My Stroke Recovery
Writing and this website has helped my stroke recovery and keeps me busy

It takes what seems like a year and a day to finish writing a post like this and to some extent it does, I used to be a 50 words per minute guy but that has now been halved at least. There is however one way to improve and that is practice right? I make no apologies for typos, there will be many I am sure.

5. Meditation

Gayle meditates all the time, she has done for a few years now and it’s something that I could never get away with in Spain, perhaps because I was wound up like a top I simply couldn’t get into it. Being back in the UK I’m more chilled out and find morning meditations very easy and a actually a good start to the day. If it helps keep the blood pressure down then that works for me. You can check out some of Gayle’s meditations here.

Resources

1000 667 Mac

Mac

K90overland is Mac and Gayle, they lived in Andalucia for 19 years before moving back to the UK. Overlanding since 2019 the pair have built up a 'budget rig' and now enjoy a relaxed approach to discovering Scotland and the north of England.

Mac

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