Over the past month, we’ve started getting used to staying at home. But for those who’ve been injured, recovering from their injury during lockdown can be a real challenge.
Whatever your injury, there are plenty of ways to aid your recovery while observing social distancing and keeping safe. Here are my suggestions for staying on the road to recovery.
Take your daily opportunity to exercise – however much or little you can manage
Getting out of the house, breathing the fresh air and enjoying a change of scenery are all good for your physical and mental health. So, if you’re at a stage of recovery where you feel able to leave the house, take advantage of the opportunity to do your daily exercise.
The amount of exercise which you can manage will depend on how far you are along the journey to recovery, so listen to your body and do whatever you can comfortably do.
Don’t be a stranger – keep in touch with family and friends
One of the hardest parts of recovery from injury can be the mental health impacts, such as feeling cut off from others, while you’re at home recovering. Research by National Accident Helpline has shown that seven out of 10 people who had an accident said that they suffered from a mental health issue as a direct result of it.
Usually, GPs would advise bursts of manageable social contact, like meeting a friend for a coffee, to help to ease this feeling. With the whole country currently housebound, physical contact isn’t possible – but as a nation, we’ve embraced virtual socialising in a big way.
Make the most of this to boost your mental health during recovery in lockdown. Arrange a catch up with family and friends via WhatsApp, Facetime, Skype or Zoom – seeing friendly faces and feeling connected will lift your spirits. Being able to talk about your recovery and share how you’re feeling will also lighten the mental load.
Even virtually, human contact can be tiring, so be mindful of your need to rest and recover. Schedule one chat per day and don’t be afraid to call time on it if you’re starting to feel tired.
Don’t overdo it
During your recovery, small tasks like doing odd jobs around the house or even getting out of bed can be challenging, if not impossible. Remember not to push yourself too hard and don’t be afraid to ask for help from others in your household if you need it.
You might not have tried mindfulness techniques before, but now is a great time to give it a go. Mindfulness helps to encourage a positive frame of mind – which is a challenge for many in these difficult times.
Try journaling – putting pen to paper and writing down what you’re thinking and feeling. Write freely – this is for your eyes only, so there is nothing to fear – and keep journaling regularly. It will make you feel lighter.
To take mindfulness further, try yoga and meditation videos on YouTube, or keep it simple by committing time to reading.
Dr Hilary Jones is a GP and medical broadcaster who has been giving advice on all areas of general health on television for 30 years.