If you’ve suffered a devastating injury, it affects much more than your physical health and abilities.
With severe injuries, depression is a common result. And that’s not all. If you went through a traumatic experience, you might also develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
This is why it’s crucial to take care of your mental health after a devastating injury.
Here are 5 tips to help you along the way.
1. Listen to You Medical Team
Be sure to take the advice of your medical team. They are trained in your specific injury and know what’s best. So if they advise you to get outside and go for a walk each day, do it. If they prescribe a specific set of stretches, do that too.
In addition to physical therapies, your medical team should advise you on the steps necessary to achieve good mental health. Take their advice and avoid skipping any appointments. It might be tempting to retreat home and isolate yourself in the early stages of recovery, but this will undoubtedly make things worse.
2. Get Enough Sleep
As your body is physically changing and recovering, it’s crucial that you’re sleeping well. The body does its best recovery work while you’re asleep, so if you aren’t sleeping through the night, you’re not going to be feeling your best.
Sleep is also associated with positive mental health, so this can help improve your overall outlook too.
Here are some tips for getting better rest at night.
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress. Now more than ever, your mattress requires your attention. If you’ve been putting off getting a new one, you can’t really avoid it any longer. When you’re dealing with a physical injury, not only is it more important to get a good night’s rest, but you’ll also find it more challenging. So if you’ve got springs poking into your sides, it’s time to replace your mattress.
- Avoid alcohol. You may think of alcohol as a sleep aid, but it can actually have the opposite effect. Studies have shown that drinking alcohol before bedtime can reduce your likelihood of experiencing REM sleep. This is the deep, restorative sleep that we all need.
- Try herbal tea. Teas like chamomile and valerian root are well-known for their relaxation benefits, and they are always a better option than alcohol.
3. Eat a Balanced Diet
While you’re recovering, you’re relying on your body to do a lot of restoration work. And it’s truly amazing what the body can do. But in order for the body to achieve its full potential, it needs basic nutrients.
Without the right blend of nutrients, your body can’t form basic biological and repair functions. So it’s crucial that you eat well during recovery.
4. Consider Meditation
You might be taking measures to strengthen your body during this time. And if so, that’s a great thing. But we’ve already addressed how depression is common after a devastating injury, so it’s equally important to strengthen the mind.
A great way to do this is with a daily meditation practice.
Not only will you become more mindful and aware in the present moment, but meditation has also been shown to have a positive impact on symptoms of depression and anxiety.
5. Accept Your New Normal
This one is much easier said than done, but after a traumatic injury, you may have trouble coming to grips with your new life. For example, the cost of a brain injury may include loss of motor function and cognitive function. A spinal cord injury may result in loss of feeling and function in your limbs.
With injuries such as these, it’s important to acknowledge where you are and what is now normal. Maybe your body does not function as it once did, but you must find a way to come to peace with your abilities as they are today.
This is a process that can take time. And if you’ve experienced a significant loss in function, be sure to meet with a therapist regularly to help you accept and learn to love your new life.
Taking care of your mental health after an injury is a multi-faceted process that involves taking better care of yourself than ever before.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Trevor McDonald is a freelance content writer who has a passion for writing since he was a young adult. He has written a variety of education, health, self- development and lifestyle articles. In his free time, you can find him playing with his dog, writing stories at his favorite coffee shop, or laying out on the beautiful beaches of San Diego. You can find more about Trevor on his LinkedIn.