When you get injured, there are two parts of recovering- physical, and mental. A lot of times, people forget they need to recover mentally from the ways their injury affected their mental state– and that healing goes far beyond just physical.
Why is it important to mentally recover from an injury?
Failing to properly recover mentally from your physical injury can have lasting effects. When you are physically recovered you may be afraid of re-injury, or may have post-traumatic stress when exercising from when you were initially injured. A few other effects it may have is insomnia, anger, and changes in appetite. When you exercise, endorphins get released in your brain and it gives you a bit of a high. If you are injured and aren’t getting the same amount of exercise, you can easily become irritable, depressed, and have changes in appetite where you either stop eating, or eat very unhealthy foods, oftentimes leading to unexpected weight gain, and in extreme cases, eating disorders.
How can you mentally recover from injury?
Once you suffer an injury, you are normally limited in what types of activities you can do. There are a number of ways to stay positive, and mentally recover from your injury while you are physically healing.
1. Practice gratitude. While coping with an injury is hard, it gives you some time to think about what has it allowed you to do you weren’t able to do before? Such as get a break from work, read a good book, catch up on a show, or watch movies you have been meaning to watch.
2. Change your perspective. Put the time and energy that you would normally use to workout to recover, and remember that just because you are resting does not mean you are not being productive. Resting allows you to heal, which is productive.
3. Keep a journal. If you find yourself worried about injury or re-injury when you get aches and pains, keep a diary of them, and then log the result of how they turned out. Did it go away? How long did it take? What did you do to get it to heal? This strategy can work to give you more confidence in your body that you are unlikely to have a serious injury from exercising.
4. Start goal-setting. Set new, smaller goals for yourself. If you set yourself smaller goals when it comes to your recovery you will be happy when you put the work in and begin meeting your goals.
5. Focus on the things you can control. Control your diet. Drink more water and eat healthier foods to help compensate for not exercising as much. Depending on the injury you can find alternatives ways to exercise as well. If you have an arm injury, try and do more leg work such as body weight squats.If you injure your leg, try and work your arms. Doing these couple things still allows you to get some sort of exercise or to not lose all of the work you did by gaining weight, and that keeps your mentality positive.
6. Find a hobby. Redirect your energy into something else you enjoy such as cooking, work, or anything that you enjoy that can keep you occupied.
7. Meditate. If you find yourself stressing about not being able to recover as fast as you want, take the time to meditate. Sitting still and concentrating on breathing calms the nervous system and reduces stress.
8. Stick to the rehab program. Doing more rehab than recommended does not make you heal faster, and doing less than recommended slows your recovery, or you do not fully recover.
9. Do not isolate yourself. Try and stick to your normal social routine as much as possible. If you are still regularly communicating and socializing with family and friends you will not feel as down about being injured.
10. Stay positive. Remember that you will get better and not continue to be injured. If you do the recommended recovery and do not rush yourself to heal, eventually you will no longer be injured and can go back to all your normal activities.