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Anyone who plays a sport is well-aware of the risks to their body and physical health. What is not discussed often enough, though, is the effect that injury can have on an individual’s mental health.
Regardless of the type of sport you play or the gravity of your injury, know that your injury has the potential to completely impact your psychological health. What you might need is a confidence boost.
Here are five different things you should consider to help you stay positive during a period of recovery from injury.
Assess psychological impact
There are a number of negative feelings that you may feel after sustaining an injury. These include:
These feelings often pass after the initial shock and disappointment of injury, but they may persist.
For this reason, it’s important to address your mental well-being during injury recovery. You should not be afraid to ask for help if your injury is wearing you down mentally. Assessing the psychological effects that your injury has had on you can help you feel more in control and better set to deal with it.
You may find it useful to talk to a therapist or counsellor, who will be able to help you work through this difficult stage.
Seek appropriate treatment
It is incredibly important to seek appropriate treatment for your injury, particularly if it is serious. You will not only be receiving expert treatment and advice, but will also feel more positive about the recovery timeline.
Serious injuries, such as concussion and broken bones, require monitoring and expert medical attention. After initial treatment, search for additional therapy and rehabilitation services to keep your recovery on track.
Recovering from serious sports injuries such as concussion should not be rushed. Many people find that using a physiotherapist specialising in concussions, for example, can help them set a realistic recovery time and rehabilitation programme.
Isolation is one of the biggest risks to mental well-being after sustaining an injury. Without regular practice, matches or sports events, you can feel isolated from your community.
This is why it’s important to have a support network in place, so keep in touch with your team or the people that you train with.
You should make sure you have people outside of your sport who will bring you up, not put you down. This could be family, friends, counsellors, health professionals, anyone that makes you feel good.
Focus on the future
People recovering from sports injuries often suffer from a fear of re-injury. To overcome this, you should try to focus on your desired outcomes, rather than your fears.
Setting small goals is a great way to do this, and can also prepare you for restarting your sport. Remember that you will soon recover and be back to your old ways, so focus on this ultimate outcome for a more positive outlook.
Allow recovery time
Some injuries will take longer to recover from than others. Furthermore, different people may take different amounts of time to recover from exactly the same injury. This may be upsetting for you if you’re taking longer to recover than expected, but you should always allow your body the time and rest that it needs.
Rushing back can result in exacerbating the existing injury and put you out of the game for even longer. Always stick to your rehabilitation plan and have faith in the fact that you will recover and be able to return to your sport.
Please note that for all sports injuries, appropriate medical care should be sought. Do not self-medicate for your injury, and do not attempt to return to sports after an injury without seeking the advice of a professional.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg. He is also the editor-in-chief of Psychreg Journal Psychology, and writes a weekly column for Free Malaysia Today.
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