Stroke Recovery Tips, Tools and Tricks

6 May 2019

I've been very lucky to have not been as physically affected by my Stroke as some survivors but I've suffered nonetheless. Whilst there are some excellent resources out there from professional organisations to help survivors overcome and cope with the mountains of emotional and physical challenges that are all part and parcel or having a Stroke, finding advice from real life survivors and seeing how far they have come has been a massive help in my emotional and physical recovery so I've made a list of the resources, tips, tools and tricks that have helped me throughout my recovery.

Reaching out 

The Community Stroke team are probably one of the most responsive teams I've had the pleasure of experiencing from our NHS, they seemed to be at my door before I'd even chance to process the fact that I'd had a Stroke, I remember sitting with wonky face and waving my dead hand at two OH's two days after my Stroke and I'll always be grateful for their quick response and all the reassurance that medical professionals gave that I would recover, but it wasn't enough. Strokes take away every thing you know and you can't believe even the most qualified people telling you that you'll be fine because as far as you know, they haven't been through it. For me, I needed to find my people, fellow survivors who had well...survived, who had gone through a terrifying experienced and lived to tell the tale and live pretty much normal lives...and I did. Us Stroke Folk find our own and as soon as a new member to the club that no one wants to join pops up we grab them and give them all the advice, love and support that they need.

Paul found me on Twitter and he just instantly knew how I was feeling and how I was going to feel. Not only is he just a message away but he also has the most detailed account of a Stroke and Stroke Recovery that I've found, I'm still my working my way through it but finding that all my thoughts and feelings were normal convinced me that I was going to be ok one day and knowing that there's a whole community of people out there willing to welcome people in makes even the numbest part of my face tingle 

I found Gracie Morrell when watching Stroke Recovery videos on Youtube, watching her smile and laugh he way through her situation whilst being so candid about her experience was just what I needed, the seriousness of Strokes can be overwhelming and having someone normalise it made me feel more normal. 

The Three Stromies is an account that found me on Instagram and even featured me on their grid a couple of weeks ago. They're a wonderful community of survivors sharing stories, motivational quotes and people making the absolute most of life, I recommend following them if you want some positivity in your feed.

Stimulating facial nerves 

I'm still suffering some facial numbness and and that lower eyelid is still not arsed about being part of my face but I've found some every day beauty tools are helping to get those nerves back in order as well as help ease my face when it goes tight due to tiredness. I've been using my Magnitone Cleansing Brush and Silicone Cleanser are great for not only cleaning my face but also giving my face different sensations to feel and get re-used to. The Micro-sonic pulses help me ascertain where has little and most sensation and track my progress. I've also been using a Jade Roller to massage my various facial oils into my skin a few times a week, the rolling works to massage my face when it's particularly tight and tired as well as provide another sensation for my nerves to get used to; Jade also has some healing benefits that can only help with progress.

In addition to the above, I've been following the Speech Therapist's guidance with ticking my face with make-up brushes and inside my face with my toothbrush. From what I was told, retraining those nerves to feel again is all about stimulating them and most of us have a lot of every day items that we can use. 

Finding fun ways to do physio 

I was fortunate to not need intense physiotherapy, my hand was expected to make a full recovery thank thankfully it did but the advice that the Physio team gave to me was to crack on with life and try and do as much as possible on my own. The day after my Stroke the Phsyio and the Consultant watched me put my PJ bottoms on singlehandedly, literally and said that the sooner I get used to doing things unaided, the quicker I'd recover. I thought that they were tight at the time but they were right. If you still have some movement in your hand then there's some fun ways that you can try and do some physio:

  • Nail painting, both disastrous and hilarious 
  • Thumb wars 
  • Play dough and / or Slime 
  • Painting (like Gracie Morrell)
  • Singing nursery rhymes and doing the actions 
  • Computer games (handling a controller) 
  • Sorting sweets and chocolates into colour order before eating them 
I also found that doing my facial exercises in the most exaggerated and ridiculous ways possible helped me make light of the fact that I couldn't move half of my face and looked like a Picasso painting when I tried to smile.

Turning it into something positive 

I started fundraising for The Stroke Association and took part in a 5k run, doing this with my family helped me make the most of what had been the worst experience of my life. I was able to raise money for charity as well as achieve something for the first time in weeks and it felt good, really good. Owning your Stroke puts you on the right track for recovery; it's a big, shit and scary thing that's happened to but it's part of you and taking ownership of it almost like taking back control of your life.

Allow yourself to grieve 

I read somewhere that survivors don't get their life back, they start a new one, and it's so true. My life will never be the same, my outlook on life will never be the same and there was a time when this devastated me. I didn't know what my future held or even if I had one and I missed my old, uncomplicated life. It's normal to miss this, it's normal to go through the stages of grief to help process what has happened and it's important to allow yourself to go through it. It's also ok to have down days and ones where you feel really sorry for yourself. No one is expected to be happy all the time and when you've gone through a trauma, emotions are all over the place and you need time to feel better. 

Believe in your recovery 

Sounds cheesy AF but whatever stage of recovery you're at now, believe that you can get even 1% better. The brain can do wonderful things...including recovering from brain damage. 


  1. I wish you'd never experienced a stroke, but I'm so so thankful that the experience has encouraged you to share your story. Not only will it help people to see that young people can still have strokes, but it's a massive help to other survivors, both directly and indirectly. I start my job as a therapy assistant on a stroke ward this week and your words are growing my knowledge and understanding so I can deliver a better service to my patients. Thankyou.

    1. Thank you, I'm glad my posts are helping people! I'm sure you'll be fabulous on the stroke ward xx

  2. What a brilliant post! You are amazing, Issy. Even tips like the Magnitone brush is so useful xx


  3. Another fab post Issy - i'm sure these tips will help others in their road to recovery
    Em x

  4. so proud of you and I know this post will help so many people! you're a star x

  5. You’re such an inspiration Issy, I’m so proud of you not only in your recovery but how much you’re doing to help others!
    Fran - x

  6. You’re doing incredible and I’m so proud of you, not to mention inspired. The community stroke team have been amazing from what you’ve told us.

  7. Great post and so interesting about the different physio things you can do. I love the little cards your mum made you too! x

  8. I feel your posts are going to be so helpful for people who are going through a smilier experience. They are so open and honest and informative. Makes a refreshing change. xxx

  9. What a incredibly helpful post. Thanks for sharing. x

  10. I love how you’re so open with your stroke! Thank you for keeping us updated x

  11. This is such a great and helpful post for those who've been through something similar. You're doing such a great job x

  12. Thank you so much for the inspiration I recently had my 2nd stroke within less than a 6 month period but this 2nd one was more severe that left me with speech problem, left side hand weak, and using a walker to get around. Thank you for sharing your story and being an inspiration to me and others.

  13. I accidentally came to your post/blog(some times I cannot figure out what term I need to use). This is pure beauty that i have found this site(was "site" the term I needed in the first sentence LOL!)
    I was 43 when I had to get a pacemaker. A few months back is when i found out that I had a stroke,(don't know when it occurred) at the lovely age of 51. My mother and I knew that there was something wrong with me,but not having insurance getting the right medical advise was hard.
    I am an artist that have been published 4 times in "ARTDOLL QUARTERLY" for 5 dolls that i have made.
    During this time I didn't know that i had a stroke . I have numbness on my left side of my body.I have noticed this during the the time I have back issues. The numbness was blamed on my back..
    It was duri g my last disability determination is when i found out that i have had a stroke. The docter had me pull up my mask(due to COVID)to check my face. I never noticed any difference but she did. And after all the other tests she had me do. It was determined on that day that i actually had something wrong with me after all...It was a weird moment to be excited but, I knew that there was something wrong with me..Now that I am finally getting some assistance with SSI i can find out more about myself...THANK YOU


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