If you’ve been injured and have a temporary disability, it can be hard to adjust your mental state to match the changes in your life. That’s why it’s important to take time to focus on your mental health no matter what kind of disability you’re dealing with. You’re definitely not alone; in countries where life expectancy is 70 or more years, most people spend approximately 11.5% of their lives living with a disability. If you’re struggling with your mental health, you should consider getting help from a mental health professional first. However, these tips can help alongside professional help.
Get Good Rest
The most important part of healing is letting yourself rest. Although you may want to be back to full speed as quickly as possible, the only way to return to full speed is to get enough rest. This means getting enough sleep, not over-exerting yourself, and overall making sure that you are staying within a normal amount of activity and movement based on your doctor’s recommendation. You will probably be spending much more time resting than you normally would, and for some people that can be difficult.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try to establish a sleeping routine that signals to your body that it’s time to go to sleep. You can also talk with your doctor if the pain from your injury is causing you to stay awake. Our bodies heal and repair at the fastest rate when we are asleep, which is why sleep is so important during recovery.
Focus On What You Can Do
No matter if you were one of the 8.4 million people working in the construction industry in the U.S. or you were working in another less physical job, you were probably used to doing more than you can now. However, although it can be easy to focus on all the things that you can usually do that you can’t do right now, you should try to focus on the things that you can do. Focusing on what’s in your control can be a very helpful shift for your mental health. As you heal, you’ll be able to do more and more, and being able to focus on those new small wins can really help your recovery process.
Take Time to Recharge
Recharging your mental health doesn’t look exactly the same for any two people. There are different things that make us feel happy and refreshed, and you should try to find what that is for you. Whether that’s spending time alone reading or watching TV, doing a hobby, or being around friends or family, you should make sure that you set aside time to do the things that make you feel recharged. If you don’t know what makes you feel that way, this is a good opportunity to try out different activities and find what works for you.
Focus on the Positives
Although there may be things you struggle with due to your temporary disability, it’s better to focus on the positive things instead of the negatives. Every day you should try to figure out a few things that you’re grateful for or that made you happy. If you begin to practice writing down three things every day, you’ll eventually get into the habit of naturally looking for those positive things that make your day better. A large part of improving your mental health is to shift your mindset and start following better thought patterns, and this is a great way to start shifting your mindset. Looking at the world from a more positive and happy perspective can really help your mental health.
Get Support From Others
The people in your life who care about you will probably be extra willing to be at your side during your healing process. Although you may not want to bother people with your problems, the odds are the people who care about you want to be “bothered” by you. Spending time around the people that you love can really help you pull your mind out of a spiral when your mental health is bad. Other people may also help you see that certain thought patterns may not be entirely rooted in reality — for example, if you have anxiety about a specific issue, talking about it with a friend could help reassure you that the issue is not a huge deal even though it feels huge to you. This reassurance can be very helpful in letting go of the anxiety related to that issue.
Eat Regularly and Healthy
Another great way to help along the healing process is to make sure you’re eating healthy and nutrient-rich foods. There are foods that have been tied to different types of healing, so depending on what your temporary disability is, you can do some research to find out what foods may help with healing. As a whole, though, you should try to eat a well-balanced diet and avoid over or undereating. It’s important to keep your diet consistent, especially since a change in appetite can be a symptom of both depression and anxiety. If you are struggling with maintaining a normal diet, make sure to speak with your doctor about it.
Remember You’re Not Alone and You’ll Get Through This
In 2015 in the state of California there were more than 20,000 reported workplace injuries that were only related to slipping and falling. This means there were even more than were reported, even more, related to other hazards, and even more in other states and countries. You are far from the only one that has dealt with the mental health problems that can accompany a temporary disability, and others have gotten through this. If you’re really struggling, you should make sure to reach out to a mental health professional or others who have been in a similar position to you.
Although your disability may be limiting you right now, soon enough you’ll be back to the activities that you used to do in your day to day life. The mental health impacts of a disability can be extreme, but if you get the help you need and focus on shifting your mindset to be more positive, you can help your mental health and move on to live a better life.