What to Do on Bed Rest: Tips and Activities for Staying Active and Entertained

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If you’re on bed rest, you know how isolating, scary, and boring it can be. Spending endless hours in one room can be mentally and physically challenging. But, fear not, there are things you can do to make your bedridden time a little more bearable. In this article, we’ll share tips and things to do while on bed rest from someone who has spent over 15 months on bed rest during their pregnancies.

The author of this article suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum during her pregnancies, a disabling condition that causes severe nausea and vomiting. She was too sick to leave bed and spent nearly 8 months on bed rest with her first pregnancy. She knows how jarring it is to suddenly be on bed rest and how the social isolation and bed rest boredom can be so real. But, she also found some peace with the experience and has some ideas for what to do on bed rest that may help you find a little enjoyment as you sit with the idleness and disquiet of bed rest.

Key Takeaways

  • Bed rest can be isolating, scary, and boring, but there are things you can do to make it more bearable.
  • The author of this article spent over 15 months on bed rest during her pregnancies and has tips and things to do while on bed rest.
  • The article includes advice for finding some peace with the experience, activities for bed rest boredom, and tips for reentry into the world after bed rest.

Table of Contents

Here are some ideas for things to do while on bed rest or activity restriction. Being on bed rest can be challenging, so it’s important to find ways to stay productive and keep your spirits up. Here are some top things to do on bed rest:

  1. Focus on the greater purpose: Use this time to reflect on your goals and aspirations. Think about what you want to achieve in life and how you can work towards those goals.

  2. Don’t hang out where you sleep: It’s important to create a separation between your bed and your leisure time. Try to find other places to relax and unwind.

  3. Get dressed every day: Even if you’re not leaving the house, getting dressed can help you feel more motivated and productive.

  4. Connect with friends virtually: Stay in touch with loved ones using video chat or social media.

  5. Find online communities: Join online groups of people who are going through similar experiences. This can be a great way to find support and advice.

  6. Work on your baby registry: If you’re pregnant, use this time to research and create a baby registry.

  7. Read a book or listen to audio books: Reading or listening to books can be a great way to pass the time and learn new things.

  8. Lean into comforts: Take advantage of this time to indulge in your favorite hobbies, TV shows, or movies.

In addition to these top things to do on bed rest, there are also many other activities you can do to stay busy and productive. Try some of these fun and productive activities:

  • Crafts to do on bed rest
  • Self-care bedrest activities
  • Baby things to do while on pregnancy bed rest
  • Baby-themed books to read on pregnancy bed rest

When your bed rest is over, it’s important to take things slow and ease back into your normal routine. Give yourself time to recover and don’t push yourself too hard.

What is Bed Rest or Activity Restriction?

Bed rest or activity restriction is a medical intervention where a doctor recommends that you limit your physical activity or stay in bed for a certain period of time. The level of activity restriction and length of bed rest varies by patient and condition. The general idea of bed rest is that it reduces bodily stress and reduces the pressure put on the cervix. This is done in response to pregnancy complications like preeclampsia or to reduce the risk of pre-term labor.

Challenges of Bed Rest

Although bed rest is a common recommendation for pregnant women with complications, it has come under criticism in recent years since the results of numerous research studies have not found it to improve outcomes. In fact, some argue that without good evidence, there is not enough justification given the possible negative impacts of bed rest.

Medical Complications

One of the biggest challenges of bed rest is the risk of medical complications. Prolonged inactivity can increase the risk of blood clots, which can be life-threatening if they travel to the lungs or brain. Additionally, staying in bed for long periods of time can lead to muscle waste, bed sores, and other physical health issues.

Economic Challenges

Another challenge of bed rest is the economic impact it can have on families. If work is impacted, it can be difficult to manage household expenses and medical bills. This can be especially challenging if there are other children in the home who require care.

Family Challenges

Bed rest can also be emotionally challenging, particularly if it leads to isolation, fear, and boredom. This can be especially difficult if you have other children in the home who require care. It’s important to have a support system in place to help manage these challenges.

Despite these challenges, many women still have bed rest recommended to them. In some cases, bed rest is the best option for reducing the risk of complications and ensuring a healthy pregnancy. However, it’s important to discuss the risks and benefits with your care provider and make an informed decision based on your individual needs and medical advice.

Top 8 things to do on bedrest

If you’re on bedrest, you might feel like you’re stuck in a rut. However, there are plenty of activities you can do to keep yourself occupied and entertained. Here are the top 8 things to do on bedrest.

1. Focus on the greater purpose

Remember that you’re on bedrest for a reason, and that reason is to keep yourself and your baby safe. Every hour you spend resting is a productive act for your baby. So, take advantage of this time to relax and enjoy some guilt-free downtime. Browse the internet, watch movies, or do whatever you need to do to stay relaxed and comfortable.

2. Don’t hang out where you sleep

It’s important to create a separation between your sleeping area and your daytime activities. Spending time in bed during the day can make it harder to sleep at night and can blur the line between day and night. Instead, try to spend your waking hours on the couch or in a comfortable chair. This will help you maintain a sense of routine and structure.

3. Get dressed every day

Even if you’re not going anywhere or seeing anyone, it’s important to get dressed every day. Changing out of your sleep clothes and into something fresh can help you feel more human and less like a patient. So, put on a new shirt, brush your hair, and pretend you’re a real person for a little while.

4. Connect with friends virtually

Being on bedrest can be isolating, but it doesn’t have to be. Use your phone or computer to stay connected with friends and family. You can text, call, or video chat to catch up and stay in touch. You can even organize virtual happy hours or game nights to keep things interesting.

5. Find online communities

In addition to staying connected with friends, it’s also helpful to find online communities of people who are going through similar experiences. You can find groups on social media, forums, or other online platforms. These groups can provide support, advice, and a sense of community when you need it most.

6. Work on your baby registry

If you’re pregnant, now is a great time to start working on your baby registry. Researching baby gear can be fun and productive, and it can help you feel more prepared for the arrival of your little one. You can set up a registry on Amazon to take advantage of completion discounts and a welcome box of baby swag.

7. Read a book or listen to audio books

Bedrest is the perfect time to catch up on your reading. Whether you prefer physical books or audio books, there are plenty of options to choose from. Reading can be a great way to escape into another world and take your mind off your current situation.

8. Lean into comforts

Finally, don’t be afraid to lean into your favorite comforts. Whether it’s watching your favorite TV show, playing phone games, or reading blogs, find something that helps you relax and enjoy your downtime. It’s okay to take some time for yourself and indulge in some mindless distractions when you need it most.

Overall, being on bedrest can be challenging, but there are plenty of things you can do to make the most of your time. By focusing on the greater purpose, staying connected with others, and indulging in your favorite comforts, you can make the most of your bedrest experience.

Activities to do while on bed rest

Fun things to do on bed rest

  • Learn a new skill: Utilize your time to learn a new skill or hobby online, such as creating a video game using ChatGPT.
  • Plan a future vacation: Research and plan your dream vacation for after your bed rest period.
  • Get into a video game: Explore the world of video games as a relaxing and enjoyable bed rest activity.
  • Make a food bucket list: Compile a list of restaurants to visit and recipes to try post-bed rest.

Productive activities to do on bed rest

  • Work on a budget: Use this time to update your family budget and prepare for the changes that come with a new baby.
  • Do an online course: Engage in online learning through platforms like edX or Coursera to acquire new knowledge and skills.
  • Tackle a project: Organize your photos, make a scrapbook, or start a baby book to stay productive during bed rest.
  • Write to your local politicians: Engage in advocacy by writing to your representatives about the issues that matter to you.

Ways to make money while on bed rest

  • Participate in research studies: Look for opportunities to participate in research studies or online surveys for compensation.
  • Start a blog: Consider creating a blog to share your experiences and interests, potentially earning income through display ads and affiliate marketing.
  • Sell on Etsy: Explore creative avenues such as creating digital products or handmade items to sell on Etsy while on bed rest.

Crafts to do on bed rest

  • Knit or crochet: Learn to knit or crochet and create items for your baby or nursery.
  • Cross-stitch: Engage in cross-stitching to create unique pieces for your nursery decor.
  • Scrapbook: Capture and share family memories through the art of scrapbooking during your bed rest period.

Self-care bedrest activities

  • Join an online perinatal support group: Seek support and connection through online prenatal and postpartum support groups.
  • Meditate: Practice meditation to promote relaxation and mental well-being during bed rest.
  • Accept help: Be open to accepting help from friends and loved ones to ease the burden of bed rest.

Baby things to do while on pregnancy bed rest

  • Get on daycare waitlists: Take proactive steps by getting on daycare waitlists early to secure childcare options.
  • Research 529 accounts: Explore and set up 529 accounts to financially prepare for your baby’s future education.

Conclusion: What to Do at the End of Bed Rest

Reemerging into the world after bed rest can be both wonderful and complicated. While you may have spent your time envisioning all the things you would do once you were free, the reality of coming off bed rest can be challenging. You may feel like you are straddling two contradictory worlds: one where you were captive and one where you are freed from your daily expectations.

It’s important to remember that you don’t know how you’ll feel or what you’ll see when you cross the finish line. As with any pregnancy, we have no frame of reference for how our lives are possibly changing until after birth. So, look towards the future with fondness but also with an eye to the fact that you may need time to adjust.

During bed rest, it can be helpful to start seeing a therapist earlier rather than later. It’s easy to get caught up in the survival mode of pregnancy and not recognize the trauma of medical complications and the bed rest experience. It’s only after bed rest ends that the emotions may start bubbling up.

When you do finally re-emerge into the world after bed rest, take it slow and be kind to yourself. You may need time to find your “regular person” identity again after months of being a “sick person.” Physical therapy may be necessary to help you regain your strength and mobility.

Living through a period of home confinement can grow your appreciation for simple acts of living. You may find new joy in moving through the world without complication. A haircut or a walk around the block can feel like a triumph.

In conclusion, while the days may feel long, the time will pass faster than it feels. Take a moment to focus on the coziness of making your world small and finding simplicity in your life. Enjoy the simple things and know that you will adjust to your new normal in due time.

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