Injuring yourself can have serious consequences on both your mental and physical health and the road to recovery may not be as straightforward or easy as you think. In order to maximise your recovery and ensure you are back to your pre-injury state (or as best you can be) there are some simple steps, you can follow to make life easier on yourself. So whether you injured yourself on your regular run, following a pavement accident walking down the street or by falling down the stairs here are some ways you can help your recovery.
Seek medical advice
Although it might seem like the most obvious step it is one many people will put off or ignore altogether but if you have sustained an injury seeking medical advice is imperative. Get your injury checked over to ensure there is nothing going on behind the scenes that you don’t know about. Medical practitioners will also be able to prescribe any medication you may need and give you suitable advice to expedite and aid your recovery.
Develop a self-care plan
This should be done in conjunction with your healthcare advice to ensure you are looking after yourself as best you can following an injury. It may be that you need to undergo a course of physiotherapy coupled with at-home exercises. Your doctor may have prescribed ample rest, light exercise or a course of medication or treatment. Whatever course of action is best suited to aid your recovery should be reached with the input of all relevant professionals, but more importantly, it should be adhered to if you want to maximise your recovery.
Stay active and listen to your body
Of course, the level of physical activity you are able to manage will depend on the nature of the injury sustained. That said maintaining some form of physical activity is crucial. Look for ways you can adapt to the type of exercise or activity you do. If you need to avoid impact consider using a stationary bike or swimming. Swimming can be a great recovery exercise that does not take a physical toll on the body but can still get your heart rate up and provide you with all of the benefits that exercise typically gives.
If you feel you are able to do more than you are doing or that your healthcare professional advises don’t be tempted to overdo it. That is not to say you are not ready for more just don’t do it without first seeking advice. As tempting as it can be if your body is not physically ready you could cause more harm than good by pushing yourself.
Finally, don’t be afraid to listen to your body and deviate from a plan. No matter how carefully thought out your recovery plan is remember it is just that, a plan and not everything goes to plan. The best thing you can do is listen to your body. If you have niggles or aches and pains don’t ignore them. Your body is clever and is telling you something.
Look after your mental health
The effects of an injury extend past just the physical damage and pain experienced. An injury can take its toll on your mental health and prioritising your psychological recovery is just as important. Here are some ways you can help to look after your mental health if you have been injured.
- Set realistic goals. You may want to be back fighting fit yesterday but sometimes it is not possible. What is more, if you set yourself goals that are unachievable it will have a detrimental effect on your mental health and recovery. Conversely, realistic goals that you achieve will do wonders for improving your mental state, so be sure to set realistic goals.
- Focus on the present. Try to avoid getting caught up in what you could do and what you want to be able to do. Injuries take time to heal so focus on what you are able to do now and celebrate that.
- Accept help. It doesn’t matter who you are at some point you may need to accept help and support. There is nothing wrong with turning to others for a little help, chances are you have a strong support network who are more than ready to offer their support when you need it most.
- Accept how you feel. You will feel a variety of emotions following an injury and it is important that you accept and understand these feelings as legitimate. Pushing them away and ignoring them will only hinder your mental and physical recovery. It is ok to feel the way you are feeling and remember to seek support if you need help dealing with the feelings you are experiencing.
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