Injuries are hugely disruptive. When you’re working hard to get fit and you suffer a setback due to an injury, it can be grueling to get yourself back into the groove. If you’re injured in an accident or on the job, there are financial and employment factors to contend with. No matter how your injury occurred, the recovery process will involve change, and change is often painful. Remember that there is an emotional component to your recovery.
Talk to your doctor about exercises you can do as you recover. Understand that you will need to rest and ice and that you may only be able to do half a workout. If you’ve sprained your wrist, try to get released to walk on the track. If you’ve sprained your ankle, try to get released to use the upper body equipment. Do something to keep your body moving and to maintain your workout schedule. Exercise helps combat anxiety and depression that someone might experience after an injury, improving one’s overall mental health. Of course, if it hurts, stop and figure out another way to remain active.
Spend Time with Others
If part of your identity is as a runner or a bodybuilder and you have to break away from this activity, you may feel isolated and start to suffer emotionally. For those who love to work out, struggling with a sports injury can lead to depression. Do what you can to build up your social calendar with other connections. Take an art class or try some gentle yoga. Even if you can’t exercise, socialize.
Seek Professional Help
If your injury was serious enough to require hospitalization or an extended time away from work, you may feel so isolated and disconnected that you need to talk to a professional. Employment provides us with so much more than an income. Often, work is where we socialize and where we get positive feedback for our efforts. Being isolated from this environment can cause people to feel lonely and depressed. Talking with friends is good, but talking with a professional who is trained to help people with depression is best. A professional can identify the underlying causes of depression and recommend certain things that will help you recover in the long term.
If You Suffer a Life-altering Injury
There are injuries that you can never fully recover from. You may suffer a head injury that impacts your sight or your memory. You may struggle with chronic pain from nerve damage. You may need to use an assistive device for the rest of your life. When facing this type of damage, understand that your view of yourself may change. If you’ve always been the person to help everyone else, you may need to learn how to accept help from others. Your place in your social structure may shift, and some friends may drift away. To reduce your risk of isolation, seek out support groups and work with your therapy team to make connections with others who are facing this type of change.
Serious injuries can happen in the blink of an eye. A simple car wreck or a tumble on the stairs can lead to months of hard work in recovery. Don’t try to do this alone. Work with your physician, occupational therapists, and physical therapists to remain as active as possible, and stay connected with your community.
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