Contributed by Haley Burress
Fortunately, when you get sick or have a newborn arrival, well-wishers are often in high supply. People want to stop over to cheer you up, snuggle the baby, or simply sit with you. Unfortunately, well-wishers don’t always know when to leave and let you rest. Whether you are welcoming a newborn into your home or are facing a serious illness, it is important for your own well-being to set up some realistic visiting hours. Once you put visiting hours in place and let folks know about the best times to visit, you will find that your stress goes down and you actually enjoy stopovers from your friends and family.
Not just for hospitals anymore
One of the best things about enduring a hospital stay is the strict visiting hours. Hospital personnel know the benefits of quiet time and rest time in regards to healing. They know that visitors at all hours are not going to get you better any quicker, so they ensure visitors only come between set hours of the day. Even better, if you are feeling not up to visitors during the normal visiting hours, the nurse will tell your visitors to go on home and come back at another time.
Why are we so shy to do this at our own home? It is true that rest and quiet time is beneficial for us all, whether we are returning from giving birth or going through the chemotherapy appointments or recovering from surgery. Visiting with friends and family is a great pick-me-up, but you can also find yourself picking up the house, serving food, or otherwise entertaining when you should be on the couch resting. You can also start to visit with friends and family and end up skipping a much needed nap or forgetting a scheduled medication.
Set your boundaries
When considering your home’s visiting hours, you must first figure out what is realistic for you and your recovery. If you find yourself tired and fatigued in the mornings and evenings, set your visiting hours from 11am to 3pm. If you find that you are best in the morning, set your hours for 8am-11am. Remember to keep yourself and your health as the number one priority, not your family’s work schedules or your friend’s preferences.
Choose a messenger
It isn’t your responsibility to let your friends and family know about your newly set visiting hours. Instead, choose a friend who can get the word out and then enforce your hours as well. Your messenger can get your preferred visiting hours out via Facebook, email, or their Lotsa Helping Hands Community. It is also helpful to hang a nice sign on the front door reminding friends and family of when is best to stop by.
Word it correctly
When sending out the message about your preferred visiting times, it doesn’t have to seem clinical and strict. Instead, let people know that you love visiting with them and that it helps you feel better and connected to the outside world. Then, let people know that you want to get better sooner than later and that rest will get you there quicker. Finally, encourage people to stop over between the hours that work best for your medication and recovery schedule. If you prefer to have people call before stopping by, be sure to note that as well.
Having preferred visit times is only going to work if you, and your messenger, are going to enforce it. Don’t answer the doorbell if it rings during your off-times and don’t feel obligated to pick up the phone either. Allow yourself to recuperate on the couch, quietly, binge watching your favorite television show without feeling like you need to let everyone into your home to wish you well.
Things can change
Remember, your preferred visiting hours are entirely set by you. This means that it can change based on how you are feeling that week or how quickly you are recovering. Just be sure that you keep your care community updated on your preferred hours and try to not switch the hours daily or too often, as this can get confusing and even frustrating for visitors who want to respect your wishes.
Limiting your visitors and visiting hours are sure fire ways to get your recovery headed in the right direction. Good luck!