Suffering an injury is never a fun experience. Injuries can be derailing experiences, taking us off-course and into a new stage of life where many things are put on hold. This can be debilitating in more ways than one – and illustrates well the way that physical and mental health interweave. The secret to recovery is often not in the body but rather the mind; how can you look after your mental health on the road to physical recovery?
Physical Injury and Mental Health
Our physical health is innately tied to our mental health, in obvious and not-so-obvious ways. The impact of an injury, particularly a disabling one, can be profound on the mind. A sudden inability to do certain activities, or to remain self-sufficient – even if just for the duration of your recovery – can introduce negative mental health symptoms.
Not only this, but mental health issues arising from physical injury can effectively block your road to recovery. The more you suffer from poor mental health, the less likely you are to act in accordance with positive healing and recovery. As such, managing your mental health is necessarily a major part of any rehabilitation.
Charting a Path to Recovery
Before you start your recovery journey proper, you need to ensure that you are in the best possible position to focus on your health – both mental and physical. This means gathering any and all information about your condition from your doctors and setting the groundwork for eliminating distractions.
Recovery can be time-consuming and also resource-intensive, particularly if you are unable to work in the short term. If another person or business was liable for your injury or injuries, then personal injury claims may be an appropriate route to seeking compensation; it would also be wise to start these proceedings early if only to put additional stresses in the capable hands of others and allowing you to focus fully on your recovery.
Ways of Addressing Mental Health
But what exactly does managing your mental health look like while engaging in physical rehabilitation? There are a few key things to consider, and some useful steps you might take to keep a clear and level head while embarking on your journey.
Feel Your Feelings
Firstly, it is important to acknowledge how you are feeling – about the injury, about your recovery process, and about whatever your new normal might be. Managing your mental health is not ignoring it; indeed, it is quite the opposite. In reconciling your feelings with your new reality, you can find a strong footing in which to reject unhelpful thinking and allow feelings to pass on by.
Secondly, setting clear and achievable goals enables you to track your recovery process, and celebrate the wins as they come. Ticking milestones off as you recover can be a cathartic exercise. However, it is also important to acknowledge that recovery is not a linear process. There will be stalls and even some regressions on your journey, but rolling with these will enable you to better intuit your complex recovery journey.
Build a Network
Finally, building a support network is an indispensable thing you can do to maintain your focus and health. Your friends and family will have your back, whether helping with certain tasks or lending you an ear to vent your frustrations. Taking the honest approach can ensure you talk issues out with your loved ones before they exacerbate themselves, and become impediments to progress.