Serious injuries can affect livelihoods, taking a toll on our mental health while our physical health is still in recovery. Here are a few common triggers to be mindful of, and 3 habits you can try introducing to help you stay mentally strong.
Common triggers for feeling blue during an injury
A serious injury can abruptly end comfortable routines and test our resolve. While there are more, here are three possible triggers for feeling injury blues.
1. Financial strain
Whether you were injured during your Mt Hotham ski holiday, a car accident or a workplace incident, any time off work could mean a potential loss of income.
A 2019 national survey of more than 800 construction tradespeople showed that, of the tradies who have been injured on the job, 57% reported they took time off due to the injury, which resulted in financial strain (42%) and strain on work relationships and commitments (39%). Further, almost a quarter said that as a result of their injury, they experienced mental health issues such as depression or anxiety.
2. Loss of interaction
When you’re no longer able to get out and do the things you’d normally do, you may feel disconnected from your teammates, colleagues, and family.
3. Loss of physical exercise
Gym / adrenaline junkies who’re deprived of their usual high-intensity fix may struggle with the dip in endorphins and potential weight gain as several weeks ‘couch time’ takes its toll.
3 Habits to help boost your mental wellbeing and stave off the injury blues
An injury and its recovery can feel frustrating, bringing up a lot of negative thoughts and emotions that can push us into a funk. While being able to experience a full range of emotions is healthy and normal, falling too far into the funk and staying there can impede recovery.
Try these three things to help you keep perspective:
1. Keep a journal
Track your emotions day-to-day, note what you’re grateful for, and generally build your awareness of self and mood. When you can track how you’re feeling and why you’re feeling that way, you’re better able to identify any emerging sense of hopelessness and reach out to a professional.
2. Focus on a time-off-with-injury goal
Like we all said we’d do during iso.
Where could you be redirecting your energies? That could be learning a new skill, enrolling in that online training course you’ve been eyeing off, or getting on top of that personal project you’ve been putting off for the last year (like that clump of wool that was meant to be last winter’s scarf).
3. Amplify your breathwork
How often do you breathe open and full belly breaths? Given our rushing, high stress world, we can fall into the habit of shallow breathing, meaning our lungs absorb less oxygen which can alter our energy and the clarity of our thoughts. Meditation and mindful breathing help you clear out murky thoughts and connect with your inner self.
Injuries and the recovery can be painful, however managing your experience and emotions day-to-day can help you stay mentally strong while you heal.