Although most of us do our best to be mindful of our surroundings as we go about our daily lives, accidents can still occur. Slipping on a patch of ice or taking an unexpected tumble on the stairs are common accidents that can happen even to the healthiest people. When a serious injury, like a sprain, broken bone or worse, occurs, people not only experience physical pain and, often, a lack of mobility, they can also suffer from psychological issues like depression and anxiety. If you or someone you care about has recently suffered from a serious injury or are recovering from surgery or illness, here are four tips that can help make the recovery process easier.
Surround Yourself With People Who Can Help
Whether you’ve got a broken ankle or a serious burn injury, it’s important to surround yourself with friends and family who can help you accomplish everyday tasks such as cleaning, cooking and running errands. Knowing that your household is being run as it normally would be can help you mentally cope with being injured. Having people around can also make being unable to accomplish some of the tasks you normally would more bearable, especially if you are someone who is usually active. Having someone cook, shop and do laundry for you also insures that your basic needs will be met while you recover.
Having people around to talk to or watch television with can also help keep an injured person from feeling lonely or isolated, especially when it’s difficult for them to leave the house.
Make Sure You Are Eating a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet is always important but never more so than when your body is recovering from an injury. The proper nutrition can help your body heal broken bones and injured tissue faster. Eating well can also help keep your mood elevated. Go for a variety of different fruits and vegetables, including dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, peppers, apples and squash. In small amounts, foods like dark chocolate, garlic and coffee have been shown to help alleviate pain and elevate mood.
Avoid drinking alcohol and eating sugary foods, or foods that are high in simple carbohydrates, like pastries and other baked goods. These foods can have a negative effect on your blood sugar and cause you to gain weight, especially if you are unable to get around. In large amounts, these foods can also prolong the healing process and make you more susceptible to depression. Drinking alcoholic beverages can also interfere with any medications you may be taking.
Find Things to Do That You Enjoy
If you’re like many people, you might wish you had more time to catch up on your reading, watch a few episodes of your favorite drama or work on a craft project. The time you spend at home recovering from an injury can, and should, be used to do some of these things you enjoy.
Even if you are unable to get out of the house, on-demand streaming services like Netflix and Hulu make it possible for you to watch hundreds of great movies and television shows. Electronic reading devices like the Amazon Kindle or Barnes and Noble Nook can allow you to instantly download just about any book you want to read. Electronic books are even available to download for free from many public libraries.
Consider Adopting a Pet
If your recovery period is expected to be several months or more, you might consider adopting a pet. Thousands of cats, dogs and other animals are in shelters around the country waiting for loving families to bring them home. Having a pet at home can also have a variety of health benefits. Studies have shown that people who have strong bonds with their pets are less lonely, have lower blood pressure, have a lowered risk of having a stroke or a heart attack, and experience lower levels of stress and anxiety. Feeding and caring for a pet can also help shift your focus away from yourself and your injury.
Developing a rewarding relationship with an animal companion can also help people who are recovering from an injury experience lower levels of physical pain. Pets can help elevate mood, too. Knowing you’ve been able to give a former shelter animal a happy, loving home can create feelings of happiness and wellbeing. And once you have recovered from your injury or illness, your pet will still be there with you to share the good times.