Apart from the immense pain and lack of mobility, being stuck in bed after any major surgery can leave you bored to tears. I personally suffered from a spontaneous bilateral patellar tendon rupture due to Lupus, and the steroid therapy that I’m on. Being bed bound for an entire year meant that I not only had to endure the physical discomfort, but also the mental battles.
This post is part of a series on activities and things you can do post-surgery to keep boredom and restlessness at bay. This article in particular will focus on things to do on digital devices after knee surgery. (Check out the full series at the end of the post, for a wider selection of boredom busting activities!)
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Disclaimer: Knee injuries and surgeries, or any surgery for that matter, varies widely from person to person. Your age, lifestyle, weight, circumstances, medications, comorbidities, allergies and other issues can impact your recovery timeline, as well as the tools and methods required. They should be adapted for YOU.
This article, and the resources or suggestions provided within, are based on MY own personal experiences with a spontaneous bilateral patellar tendon rupture, as a person with many chronic illnesses. They are meant for educational purposes and not to be substituted for medical advice. Please consult your own medical provider before trying anything out.
This post also contains affiliate links. It will cost you nothing to click on them. I will get a small referral fee from purchases you make, which helps with the maintenance of this blog (approx. $100/month). Thank you!
Items with a star ⭐ next to them are resources I’ve personally tried and would recommend!
Table of Contents
1. My Doctor’s #1 Prescription: Films & TV Series
TV is probably the go-to distraction for many of us, whether we’re sick or healthy. It’s great for decompression from work, or if you need a bit of a break from the reality of life. Now is the time to immerse yourself nonstop in TV series and films. In fact, it was what my surgeon prescribed for things to do on digital devices after knee surgery!
My uncle kindly installed a big TV screen in front of my bed even before I was discharged from the hospital, which I appreciated so much. I don’t think I’ve watched so many TV series in my life in a go, but it did help with distraction. This was especially true in the beginning, when I was in immense pain and at my weakest. You can also watch films on your tablet, laptop or mobile phone, just as easily as on a TV screen. If you find a good series to watch, they can be one of the more fun things to do on digital devices after knee surgery!
Benefits of Watching Movies
Reminder: Not all TV programmes are mindless, although you’re allowed to watch as much reality TV as you like right now. Films can be transformative experiences (Mitchell, J. M., 2010), and teach you many things. You learn to appreciate cinematography, expand your imagination and perspectives, gain inspiration from narratives, acquire knowledge about history, explore the future, understand societal and world issues, and so much more.
Some Suggestions on What to Watch
Popular online subscriptions that you probably already know or have include: Netflix, HBO Go and Disney Plus. Your TV company will also have various subscription packs on offer. If you’re into sports, there are also many sports streaming services out there.
I’d recommend Mubi if you’re into art, foreign and/or award-winning films. Since the pandemic, some cinemas in your vicinity may have online subscriptions or pay-per-view as well. There’s also a wide array of stuff to watch on YouTube, from inspirational TED talks to makeup tutorials, science videos and hilarious compilations. Who doesn’t like to see a giant pimple popping? (Not for the faint of heart!)
2. Podcasts – If You Find TV Too Stimulating
If you find TV too stimulating, you can try listening to podcasts instead. They’re also great for when you’re in too much pain, and can only lie there and stare at the ceiling. There are many different genres that can serve to inspire, distract or learn new things from.
Podcasts and YouTube videos tend to be a better format than TV if you’d like to spend this time learning more about entrepreneurship, web design and development, blogging, making passive income, and topics such as these. There are also educational podcasts on health and wellness, nutrition, history, society, and many other interesting stories and facts.
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3. Listen to Audiobooks
Audiobooks are becoming more popular, as people like that they can ‘read’ a book as they go about their busy lives. It’s also great for those of us who are too fatigued, or in too much pain to hold a physical book. Ditch the idea that books must be read with only your eyes. It’s the content that matters, after all. So read with your ears, too! Audiobooks can be played from almost any digital device; all you need to do is download the app of whichever platform you sign up for.“#Audiobooks are great for those of us who are too fatigued, or in too much pain to hold a physical book. Ditch the idea that #books must be read with only your eyes. It’s the content that matters.” #PostSurgery #ChronicPain #spoonie Click To Tweet
Popular audiobook platforms:
- Amazon Audible. Amazon, as you know, sells millions of books online. Their audiobook selection is huge as well, and covers just about all genres. You can sign up for a 30-day free trial, and take your time to see if audiobooks are a good fit for you.
- Rakuten Kobo. There are also many categories of audiobooks available on Kobo. They too, have a 30-day free trial, and you get your first audiobook for free!
- Audiobooks.com. Their 30-day free trial includes three free audiobooks – so that’s a win! They have two paid models under their Audiobook Clubs. You can use your monthly credits to choose and purchase one of over 350,000 audiobooks. Or join one of their eight Audiobook clubs for 30 days of unlimited listening.
- Google Play & Apple Stores. Whether you’re more of a Google or Apple person, they too sell audiobooks which you can purchase, download and listen to.
- Libro.fm. Another audiobook platform with over 275,000 audiobooks. They also support local bookstores, where they split the profits with them.
Free Audiobook Resources:
- Libby by Overdrive. If you have a library membership, you can do a search to see if it’s registered with Overdrive. If so, then you can borrow audiobooks, e-books and digital magazines for free! Libby is the newer library reading app by Overdrive, and can be downloaded on your digital devices or Kindle.
- Open Culture also has a compiled an excellent list of 1,000 free audiobooks here.
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4. Read with a Digital Device
Reading is one of the best things to do on digital devices after knee surgery; an immersive storyline can distract you from the pain and boredom momentarily. It might even inspire or bring a smile to your face, despite feeling trapped by circumstances.“#Reading is one of the best things to do on digital devices after #KneeSurgery; an immersive storyline can distract you from the pain and boredom momentarily.” #ChronicPain #ChronicIllness #surgery Click To Tweet
Why I Love My Kindle
I rotate from my Kindle to magazines to paperbacks. I love my Kindle as it takes pressure and weight off my hands and fingers, especially when they’re aching. And when a book is a thousand pages long, that means a lot. I managed to finish reading “Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman”, thanks to my Kindle!
I also like my Kindle as it’s built for the sole purpose of reading. Whilst you can read on your phone or tablet, the blue light isn’t so good for your eyes (Wahl, S., 2019), especially if you’re trying to sleep at night. The built-in backlight of the Kindle is suitable for reading in the dark without further stimulation. The e-ink is glare-free as well.
There is also a ‘Kindle Unlimited’ subscription, with over 3 million e-books and digital magazines to choose from and read. You don’t need a Kindle to access this. All you need is to download their app onto your existing phone, tablet or desktop. You can try out their 30-day free trial here first.
Other Reading Devices
If you don’t like Kindles, some alternatives are Kobo, or Nook by Barnes and Noble. You can borrow books from your local library via Kobo, and it has OneDrive and other integrations as well. Nook has a GlowLight illumination for evenly dispersed lighting.
5. Music – Explore the New & Enjoy the Good Old
I needed to keep my legs straight for 6 weeks whilst recovering from knee surgery. That’s a lot of downtime, and also when you start to overthink, or become increasingly frustrated. But trust in the healing process, and do stuff to beat boredom in the meantime. That includes closing your eyes, resting, and listening to music.
Music has been a comforting companion, and helped me to cope with the emotional aspect of things. Angry music represented and highlighted how I felt on the inside. Soothing music helped to calm me down or go to sleep. Melancholic music felt relatable and human. Music is powerful; it tugs at your heartstrings, and can pound an inspirational rhythm into your head. You can simply listen to soothing sounds of nature as well.
I like Spotify‘s song recommendations, and have discovered a ton of new songs with ‘Enhance’ mode turned on. It also resurfaced some old songs that I like, which was nice.“I needed to keep my legs straight for 6 weeks whilst #recovering from #KneeSurgery. That’s a lot of downtime, and also when you start to #overthink, or become increasingly frustrated. But trust in the #HealingProcess. #spoonie” Click To Tweet
Tidy Your Endless Playlists
If you’re like me, you add a new playlist for every new artist you like, ‘just in case you forget who they are’. I also add songs to my current playlist via Shazam, which I discover on the go. My current list becomes… not very current. I don’t even recognise half of the artists in them anymore. My archived playlist is even worse.
If you want something productive to do, now’s the time to clean up your playlists, so you don’t need to keep hitting ‘skip’. When you’re up and about again, you can switch between playlists for better listening pleasure as well.
6. Online Window Shopping (Or Just Browsing!)
I’ve been doing a little too much online window shopping, but nevermind. Whatever consumes time, basically. I even count scrolling through grocery products as online window shopping. I know I have a browser folder full of links called ‘Gifts/Shopping’ now…
The anticipation of a parcel arrival gives you something to look forward to. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s still one of the more fun things to do on digital devices after knee surgery. Go ahead and check out all the weird or fancy stuff they have on sale online. You can also browse for the best accessibility products and mobility aids that would suit you most at a later point along your recovery journey.
Early Christmas Shopping – You’ll Have the Best Gifts at the Best Prices
Remember that online shopping isn’t all about you! You can save up a list of gifts, then purchase them slowly over the year when there are discounts. You can also treat it as browsing for early Christmas gifts – who cares if it’s months away. Come the festive season, you’ll be well prepared. You’ll have the best gifts at the best prices, and with less burnout!
7. Digital Decluttering – Maximise Your Productivity for Later
A clutter-free space is always a pleasant experience, isn’t it? Whilst that’s not possible to do physically right now, we also leave crumbs of digital clutter everywhere. You know those 50 photos you took of your cat in the same position? Well, they’re taking up space on your phone and/or computer. Not only may that cost you money via storage space, but it also makes finding other photos difficult.
Now’s the time to do some simple digital decluttering. These little tasks are actually highly productive. They’ll increase your efficiency when you’re back in swing. I use Gemini by MacPaw, which is able to scan through your folders quickly. They show you which are duplicates, blurry, are screenshots or auto downloads, etc. I like the swipe left/right function for the ‘Other’ photos (yes, like Tinder), so it can be pretty mindless yet fun and productive.
Other things that are on my digital declutter todo list: browser bookmarks (you know those window shopping links?), email folders, apps and subscriptions.
Guilty as Charged:
Updates & Backups
Other things to do on digital devices after knee surgery are to update all your passwords, plus backup your computer systems. It’s less necessary to change your passwords every 3 months these days if they are strong ones, and have not been compromised. But if you think you need to clean house or add a layer of 2FA (two-factor authorisation), now’s a great time to do so.
Many people tell me they don’t remember their passwords, so they don’t change them. I’d recommend that you hit ‘Forgot Password’ to reset it. Then use a secure password organiser like LastPass to remember and auto-fill them in for you each time. It’s a pretty mindless, repetitive task and you get ‘into the zone’ after a while.
You can also do one of those pesky backups via Time Machine (for Mac), Backup (for Windows), or via a hard disk. I know they’re boring to do, but if/when your system breaks down, you’ll be very glad you did. The benefit of Time Machine/Backup is that you can restore your entire workspace as it was previously. The benefit of a hard disk is that you can separate folders, say, your movie folder, and free up desktop space from them.
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8. Start an Art or Pet Instagram / Tiktok Account
It can also be fun to roleplay your pet on social media, like I do with my dog, Talisker, on Instagram. You can get to know other pet parents and have friendly banters, which can cheer you up. Talisker does that with Claire’s cat, Sammy, with Shruti’s toy poodle, Toby, as a sidekick. Sadly, both of them have crossed over the rainbow bridge due to an accident and illness. R.I.P. beautiful ones 😢
It’s also a photo diary of sorts. I have photos of Talisker from as a pup there, and the captions bring back fond memories, and shows me how he’s grown and changed.
If you’re into artistic endeavours, social media is also a great place to display your creations, and to meet more people who share your passion. Check out my friend, Carrie’s, gorgeous Ikebana creations on Instagram. Don’t underestimate what your art or pet photos can do. Just browsing through Carrie’s flower feed brings me joy, and I get a good chuckle from some of the animal ones. Check out the #SpoonieArt and #ChronicillnessArt hashtags on Instagram for some inspiration or smiles.
9. Collect & Curate Inspirational Ideas for Things You Love Online
I admit to being a bit obsessive when it comes to collecting and curating things. It’s a personality thing. I remember when my co-workers and I were all into analog photography at one point in time, and someone commented that I seemed to be ‘documenting everything’.
It’s the same with interesting websites and online resources. Now I have folders bursting with information. Yes, I need to do a lot of digital decluttering… That’s probably why I love Twitter best out of all the social media platforms as well. It’s where I find and curate blog posts from various chronic illness bloggers with the most ease!
Hashtags such as #ChronicIllness, #ChronicPain and #spoonie help me to find the best and latest content written by real people in seconds. Whereas on Google search it’s mostly dry, medical sites due to competitive SEO factors, and the need to write ‘helpful content’. Who’s to say a patient’s perspective or poem isn’t just as helpful?
Get Ready for the Better Days to Come
Even if you can’t get up and cook or redecorate your house now, collecting ideas is always a good idea! You can even level up and do a spreadsheet on Google Sheets, Trello or Airtable. Things to include: Photo inspiration, places you can buy items from, costs, ingredient lists, links, etc.. Whilst these can be tedious things to do on digital devices after knee surgery, they’ll give you some fun activities to do right away when you’re up and about again!
You can check out my social media feeds to see the stuff I curate, organise and post, if you need some ideas:
Conclusion on Things to Do on Digital Devices After Knee Surgery
I hope that these post on things to do on digital devices after knee surgery has given you some inspiration or ideas. If digital devices are not your favourite mode of entertainment or you wish to avoid them for whatever reason, then check out the rest of the series below. I also share ideas for hobbies, crafts, education and other tips. Wishing you all the very best in your own personal recovery journey!
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- Mitchell, J. M. (2010). Transformative film experiences: An intuitive inquiry into the power of movies to change lives. Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.
- Wahl, S., Engelhardt, M., Schaupp, P., Lappe, C., & Ivanov, I. V. (2019). The inner clock—Blue light sets the human rhythm. Journal of biophotonics, 12(12), e201900102.