The mental side of injury: how to cope and how to heal

July 25th, 2016
Other

There’s never a good time to pick up an injury, however minor it may be. The first thoughts that go from most of our heads when we feel a twinge, break, tear or sprain of how our bodies are going to fix themselves and get back to their best – and that’s before we even know what’s happened or how long it’s going to take.

While it’s important to think about physical recovery, getting back to full strength mentally is just as important. Post-injury thoughts tend to lead towards sadness, frustration and irritation as the stress of having to recuperate becomes apparent. Often the mental scars from an injury last a lot longer than the physical ones.

If you’re a particularly active person, it may be difficult to adjust to a period spent on the sidelines – especially if it means you can’t take part in your favourite sports or activities. Not being able to get to the gym can be a real worry. But it’s important to remain strong.

With that in mind, we’ve got a few pointers about how to keep your spirits up while you recover. Of course, LimbO products are here to take away some of the stress of needing to wear a cast or dressing, making it easy to shower or bathe – options which aren’t always easy without them.

 

Stay positive…

This might seem counter-intuitive if you’ve just got out of hospital, but it’s important not to let negative thoughts cloud your judgements. Try and find time to reflect on some of the good things in your life. Visualise some moments you want to aim for when you’re back to full fitness – a sport or an activity you like doing, for example – and use that as a reason to stay positive and responsible for your own recovery. It’s easy to fear the worst when you’re in the earliest stages of recovery, particularly if there’s no clear timetable or end-date, but keep seeing your doctor, remain focused on what you need to do, and don’t let thoughts of what you’re missing out on.

 

…but vent when you can

If you need to get some strong feelings out, do it. Obviously it’s not a good idea to remain angry or upset for a long time, as it negatively impacts not just you but those around you, particularly your family and close friends. But bottling up your emotions can cause problems over time, particularly if your recovery isn’t as quick as you initially expected or if there are any setbacks along the way. Writing a recovery journal can be beneficial to those who need to express their thoughts in writing, as it helps manage your emotions in a more private setting. It also serves as a useful way of measuring your progress back towards full fitness.

 

Surround yourself with friends

People react to adversity in many different ways – both physically and mentally – but having a strong support network is a major part of the recovery process. Reach out to your family and close friends to establish a strong sense of community and understanding, as these are the people who will play a big part in keeping you sane and giving you the support and advice to deal with your problems.

Seeing a psychologist may be necessary if you’re feeling particularly out of sorts, but your doctor may be able to take you through some of the stages of the recovery process themselves, and reassure you if any setbacks arise.

Set realistic goals

Naturally, you’ll want to be back to your normal self as soon as possible after an injury. Too many times, though, people have ended up back in hospital due to aggravating an injury by trying to rush things or ignoring the advice of their doctors.

Talk with medical professional and establish a series of smaller, more manageable goals that can easily be monitored. Allow yourself to be flexible with how and when you achieve them, as not every injury is the same – this allows you to remain focused and psychologically strong without going too quickly and suffering a relapse.

Adapt and overcome

If you’re somebody who absolutely must, MUST keep physically active to remain sane, it’s possible to change your routine to keep yourself active while your injury heals. There are plenty of workout plans online designed for people with all sorts of complaints that require leg or arm casts and dressings, so with a little bit of research you can easily find one that can get you back to fitness. Even if your injury prevents you from pretty much all physical activity, you can still get involved with sports through cheering on your kids, friends or relatives, or by helping out your team from behind the scenes.

Products such as our OUTCAST protectors and Sealskinz socks for children can help protect casts and minor limb injuries, meaning that, even with a cast or dressing, you have the confidence to exercise.

 

Try something new

Being injured doesn’t mean you’re restricted to Netflix sessions and duvet days for entertainment. More often than not it can present a great opportunity to broaden your horizons and discover new opportunities that you might not have thought of otherwise.

Even if you’re housebound for a while, there plenty of chances to try something that you’d wouldn’t normally have the time for - online learning classes are easy to sign up for, don’t cost a great deal, and can help keep you mentally active while teaching you some important (or at the very least, interesting) new skills.

LimbO products are there to help aid your injury recovery with our product range. So many medical professionals recommend them – talk to your doctor about how a LimbO could help you on your way to full fighting fitness.