Imagine you break your finger playing sports. While this might be a small injury you think will just make a funny story in no time, once you come home with a cast, you’ll see how tricky it really is. You won’t be able to put on your clothes properly, showering is harder, washing dishes almost impossible! All of that will leave you feeling practically helpless and affect your mental health in many ways. So, here’s what to expect so you never get caught off guard.
Stress is the biggest obstacle
Injury causes a lot of stress, both physical and mental. How will you get to and from work, who will help you climb the stairs, how will you prepare food or will you ever be able to go back to your workout routine are just some of the questions that might cloud your mind. One way to battle stress of injury is to concentrate on small milestones and focus on things you can still do. When you set smaller goals, it’s much easier to see progress and feel better about your health. You can also find a group of people who understand your condition. Forums and support groups can do wonders for your mental health!
Your injury can change your identity
What you do during the day and what physical activity you take is a huge part of your identity. So, staying away from your schedule or your daily workouts can really pull the rug out under you. And even when you get back on your feet, you might be frustrated because your body doesn’t feel the same anymore. When you add constant pain to the mix, you can get a very volatile cocktail that can be horrible for one’s mental health. However, it’s crucial to find the right doctor who will not only help with recovery but also offer comfort.
Today, you can even book a home doctor visit so you can always stay on top of your recovery and get the best care there is. No matter how complicated your injury is and how far away from the hospital you live, there are always ways to get help! If you follow your doctor’s advice, you will most likely be able to reclaim your identity and go back to your daily life.
It can worsen your existing mental health problems
Many people who suffer from depression and anxiety choose to use exercise as a way to relieve stress and encourage the body to produce the happy hormones. Plus, just getting out of the house helps immensely when you’re having a depressive episode. However, if you get injured, your new and beneficial lifestyle can be put on hold. Going back inside, being unable to get your daily dose of exercise and just feeling stuck and isolated can seriously affect your mental health and even trigger some people’s depression and anxiety. It’s very important to keep a positive attitude and know that your injury is usually just a temporary setback (especially if you’re an amateur). Depending on your injury, you can often still get some exercise. If you hurt your foot, you can concentrate on your upper body and vice versa. Even if you have to take it easy for the next few months, you’ll still get plenty of mental health benefits from your lighter workouts.
How can you protect your mental health while injured?
The best thing you can do for your mental health is getting a good and clear diagnosis for your injury. Being in the dark, not knowing what to expect while enduring pain can be really detrimental to your sanity and wellbeing. You should also stick to your recovery and rehabilitation process and stay patient. If you re-injure yourself, it can keep you away from your daily routines for longer. With that in mind, try to follow your normal daily routine—you can still be involved in a majority of things and even stay a part of your sports team (they can be a wonderful support network during your difficult time)! Make sure to set short-term goals that are easy to achieve in order to keep your spirits up.
Going through injury is very hard, both physically and mentally, so it’s understandable if you don’t feel your cheery self all the time. But, if you stay true to your rehab and rely on your friends and family, you’ll get back on the field or the gym in no time!