The last thing you might expect when you start your day is a workplace injury. No one rolls out of bed thinking, “I’m going to get hurt today.” It does more than cause physical harm — your mental health is also at risk. Unfortunately, these incidents are more common than they seem.
Around 2.7 million workplace injuries were reported in 2020. Mental health is a part of the recovery that tends to get overlooked after getting hurt on the job, but it shouldn’t be. Here is how to support your well-being after a workplace injury and focus on feeling like yourself again.
Emotional Impacts of a Workplace Injury
Physical damage is often the only thing that gets treatment when a workplace injury occurs. The bodily harm is perceived as more urgent than the psychological effects. No matter how minor, it is still a trauma in your life. The most common are muscle strains such as back pain or falls and trips. Some issues can be more serious and even require surgery, making the mental effects even harder to process.
A workplace injury can cause feelings of a loss of security, certainty and sense of self. Work is not just a job to many people but a part of their self-identity and purpose. It is easy to feel lost or guilty for not being able to fulfill your duties as you could before.
You may also feel a loss of community when experiencing an injury. Your daily interactions with co-workers help fulfill connections in your place of work. You can feel lonely and isolated when deprived of these interactions. Feeling alone and insecure during your injury may cause spirals in your mental health, so it is essential to ensure it is being cared for just as much as your physical injury.
Ways to Support Your Mental Health
There are little things you can do to make your recovery a little less daunting. Focusing on getting better will rebuild your mental well-being and restore a fulfilled life.
Talk to Loved Ones
Workplace friendships may have more value and impact on your mental health than you expect. A severe injury may force you to stay home for an extensive period. Talking away the social interactions you have on a daily basis may prove harmful.
This is the perfect time to confide in your loved ones. Reaching out to family members and friends can help you feel less socially isolated. Living alone or being away from anyone to talk to for an extensive amount of time can cause negative feelings and loneliness.
Journal or Meditate
Journaling while you have an injury can help you regulate your feelings. There may be a lot going through your mind after a workplace injury. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you remember positive aspects of life when stressed.
Meditation is a great tool that you can use anywhere. Practicing can help you sort through negative feelings and clear your mind. It encourages a deep state of relaxation and refocuses you on the present. It can be worth trying to ensure you are taking care of your mental health.
Get Regular Checkups
Going to the doctor and regulating your injury can help your mental health dramatically. Staying on top of how you are doing can give you peace of mind during the healing process. Getting good news about your progress will provide you with hope and excitement for the future.
If there is a chance you will get unpleasant news about your injury, it is still important to know. After your doctor provides updates, you can take action to figure out what you can do to heal quicker and process what is going on.
Find a Hobby
If your injury has you stuck at home, you may feel like you have lost some of your identity. Finding something to pass the time while you rest and heal is vital. Discover a hobby you really enjoy and make goals to fulfill the sense of accomplishment you got from your job.
You can think of this time as being able to do things you couldn’t before. Trying new things can boost your dopamine levels, which create pathways to improve brain health. You can try several activities while resting, such as reading, playing games or knitting. No matter what you’re interested in, make sure it is something you truly enjoy.
Focus on the Whole You
A work injury can be challenging to manage, and your mental health is just as important to care for. The healing process will go much more smoothly when your mind is in the right place, too. Getting better can take time, and it’s vital to focus on your overall well-being as you heal. That way, you’ll be ready to return to your job with confidence.