Self-care has gained a reputation for being all about treating yourself to an indulgent meal or popping on a face mask every Sunday night, but the practice of true self-care goes far deeper than that and is usually broken down into three core categories: mental, physical and emotional.
Caring for one’s mental, physical and emotional wellbeing is important at the best of times, but when a person has suffered a life-changing injury one or more of these categories may be affected, which means caring for yourself is even more crucial.
Practising self-care can be a vital part of the healing process after sustaining a life-changing injury because it can mean regaining any control and self-identity that may have been lost due to the injury and it also allows the individual to centre themselves and focus on an activity that is solely for and about them.
Here are some ways you can incorporate self-care into the healing process.
Stress will only exacerbate your condition, so it is important to practice mental self-care during your healing journey.
To ensure it doesn’t take its toll, think about the ways you used to relieve stress prior to your injury and adapt them to suit your circumstances or, better yet, try to compile a list of all the stress-relieving activities you have previously denied yourself or haven’t been able to make time for and let yourself indulge! This may include taking up painting or another hobby, spoiling yourself with a massage or any other activity that might help to take your mind off the stressors in your life.
If your injury has affected your ability to work, you may be entitled to compensation. Becoming financially independent again can be a huge stress relief and can do wonders for your mental state.
Depending on your injury, you may find that you have to alter the way you exercise, sleep or take part in other physical activities. It is important that you are still able to do some form of exercise, whether that means swapping out running or jogging for light walks, swimming or yoga. Gaining a decent night’s sleep is also crucial to the healing process, so practising physical self-care should include introducing new habits to help you sleep through the night. This may mean drinking less coffee, meditating in the evening or decreasing your screen time.
Nourishing your body is just as important – if not more important - to your physicality as exercise, so if you are unable to be as physically active as you once were, speak to your doctor or a nutritionist about how you can change your diet to suit your new physical needs.
Emotional self-care differs from mental self-care because it centres around new or heightened feelings you may be experiencing, rather than stresses that may be burdening your wellbeing.
A life-changing injury can have a deep impact on your emotional state. It is important that you allow yourself to process the feelings you are having around the changes either by speaking to a professional, like your GP or a psychologist or counsellor, confiding in close friends or family or by writing down your thoughts and feelings in a journal.
Setting yourself achievable goals or milestones will also help you to stay focussed and look forward to small wins and will also contribute to gaining your sense of self back.
If you have suffered a life-changing injury you may be entitled to compensation. If you would like to speak to someone about your circumstances or you are seeking advice on how to make a personal injury or workers compensation claim, our injury lawyers in Cairns can assist.