Mental Health
Jul 28, 2022

5 Mental Health Tips After an Injury

Injuries can happen to us at any time- while playing a sport, as a result of motor vehicle accidents, at work, or while we are just going about our daily life. More often than not, they occur unexpectedly and suddenly; we do not plan for them.  

Physical injuries are not just physical problems, they often have a detrimental impact on our mental health. Some injuries are more physically debilitating than others, significantly affecting our day-to-day life, thus having a more profound impact on our mental health. Regardless of how severe the injury is, recovering from it is both a physical and mental journey.  

If you are currently recovering from an injury, here are some mental health tips that you might find helpful:

1. Acknowledge your feelings  

It is normal to feel disappointed by your inability to participate in your usual activities. You may have to miss out on sporting activities and social hangouts particularly in the initial stages of recovery, which means missing out on activities which can potentially give you a sense of fun and/or accomplishment. It is important to recognise that this is a loss and as such you may experience different stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) around this.  

Recognising and acknowledging these feelings is important and is often the first step to being kinder to yourself.

2. Be open to exploring other interests  

More often than not, your injury will prevent you, to a certain extent, from doing the usual things make life enjoyable for you. It is normal to feel upset about not participating in your usual hobbies. You may also think that other activities will be less enjoyable and feel apprehensive about trying something new. However, it can be helpful to remain open and allow yourself to explore new activities with a curious approach; you never know what may come out of it. If you have no idea where to begin, googling “things to do when I’m injured” might be a good first step for you!  

3. Take control – of things that you have control over

Recovering from an injury brings many uncertainties and can therefore make you feel powerless. While you do not have direct control over how your tendon/bone/muscle etc heals, it is important to recognise that you have control over other things that are important to the recovery process. You can make conscious choices in areas such as fuelling your body with nutritious foods, resting when appropriate, sticking to your physical rehabilitation plan, pushing yourself when it feels right, etc. By owning your situation, you ensure that your injury does not have power over you.

4. Focus on the little things in the present

When you are faced with a big setback such as an injury, it is natural for your mind to become clouded with negative thoughts. It may be helpful to focus on the things that you can do rather than the things that you cannot do. Beginning your day with exercises like gratitude practice (e.g., naming 3 things you are grateful for) can also help you to become more present. An injury requires time and patience to heal – it will happen eventually, one step at a time. By being intentionally present, you might find that you are more aware of, and acknowledge little progresses that you are making, which can help you to feel more hopeful.  

5. Accept help and support

It is important to have help and support when you are injured to get you through the difficult time.  

Practical support from friends/family can help to make your day-to-day life easier, and emotional support can help you to feel understood, included, and accepted. You may have worries about being a burden and imposing on others, but it is important to remember that people around you are great and willing sources of support if you let them (and I’m sure you would do the same for them if they needed support!).  

Professional support can be really helpful in directing you towards an appropriate treatment plan to help you reach your goals. This can not only keep you motivated but can also help you to keep track of your progress.

You cannot foresee when you might sustain an injury; it can be shocking and overwhelming when it happens to you. When you are recovering from a physical injury, caring for your mental health is just as important as healing your injury, and having a plan to deal with this setback makes the process less daunting. If you’re struggling with an injury now, our experienced and lovely psychologists are more than happy to support you through this difficult time.

Continue reading

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form
By subscribing up you agree to the Terms & Conditions