Mental & physical wellness while recovering from an injury.
We often hear about mental well-being as a reason for, or at least a by-product of, an exercise program. When you cannot workout for a prolonged period of time (like following an injury), you may find yourself feeling “down” or even depressed. Following a recent injury, Cat herself was feeling bummed to be short-term sidelined, and she has known friends to experience depression following a doctor’s instruction to pause all exercise. So she invited Margarita, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, to join her to tackle this important topic.
Why does a physical injury impact our mood?
- Our “activities of daily living” may be affected.
- There can be a feeling of helplessness.
- Acceptance of the injury may be difficult, especially when it may signal a long-term reduction in a favorite activity.
If you’ve gotten a doctor’s orders to take a full break from exercise, how can you beat the blues?
1. Clarify your restrictions. Ask your doctor what is going on with your body. Work together on options for what you can and cannot do. Some questions Cat asks are, “Why can’t I workout? What are the risks?” and also, “Are there other ways I can get some activity safely?” For example, you may have an ankle injury, and find that it’s safe to do some seated upper body workouts. If you’ve injured your shoulder, there could be a short time when it is too painful to even go for a brisk walk, but once pain is reduced, you may even be able to ride an indoor bike safely. Remember to always listen to your body.
2. Develop a plan and tools:
- Goal setting (example: set nutrition goals)
- Charitable activities
- Learn a new skill
- Relaxation is also helpful both mentally and physically
3. Seek support! Therapy or even reaching out to friends and family is important.
4. Be patient. When your body is injured or ill, remember that rest is an important part of healing, so give yourself permission to do just that.
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