Some accidents can cause personal injuries that last for years. They necessitate things like surgery, therapy, medical equipment, and more. Although it may seem perfectly natural, considering all the things that you’re going through, to give up and believe your life has lost meaning and purpose; this is a mistake. When you sink into depression, you only make a bad situation worse, ruining your own life and making everyone close to you miserable, too.
Here are five practical tips you can use to deal with your new situation without letting it get you down:
- Make sure your basic needs are met.
Before contemplating what coping strategies you should adopt, sort out your basic needs. Do you have enough money to cover your basic cost of living? If not, then research what resources are available for financial assistance or at-home employment. Do you have easy access to all the medical supplies you need when you need them? If not, then use an online medical supplies service like USAMedicalSurgical.com to place an order when your supplies run low. Do you have enough emotional support to cope with your situation? If you don’t have any close family or friends, then consider joining a support group in your city to be able to share your feelings with others. And if you do have family and friends nearby, be willing to accept their help.
- Avoid making yourself miserable.
The way people make themselves miserable is through negative self-talk and overidentification with all the ills and misfortunes reported in the news, on social media, and other media. Learn to catch your mind-wandering and steer it away from self-pity, reflecting on everything that’s not working, and feeling critical of people and events. Instead, steer your mind to what is working for you. Give yourself the gift of self-compassion.
There are three exercises that you can use to steer your mind in a more positive direction:
- List a few things you are grateful for when you wake up, even if it’s something as simple as feeling grateful that you have a bed to sleep in and will soon have breakfast.
- Scribble a letter to yourself every day for a week speaking words of empathy, hope, and faith. This daily dose of self-encouragement will coax your mind to think in a more productive way.
- Read biographies of people who overcome great odds in life, making impossible things possible.
Although these three exercises may seem contrived, they will work if you stick with them long enough. Eventually, you’ll start to think in a more positive way, which will not only help you but those around you.
- Notice when you’re winning.
Every time you do something that you couldn’t do before, you’re winning in life. Depending on your condition, small victories might be learning to walk a few steps more than you did a week ago or to do something else that shows that you’re making progress toward recovery.
- Focus on what you can do.
Although you may feel that you can’t do much physically, there is plenty that you can do mentally. You can read a book, learn how to play chess (or learn how to play better chess), or study some skill, like math or art. Appreciate the simple fact that your mind can learn from documentaries, books, online courses, and discussions. Set some intellectual or artistic goals for yourself.
- Get better at managing your stress.
The more stressed we are about something, the worse things appear to get, which, of course, stresses us out even more. The way to step out of fear, worry, anxiety, and other stressful emotions is to adopt practices like mindfulness, meditation, and contemplation. By calming your agitated nervous system, your body will have less cortisol running through your bloodstream. By focusing on the physiological aspects of stress reduction, like tensing and relaxing your muscles or breathing more deeply, your turbulent emotions will settle down. Stress can also extend to those around you, including your own children, so learning to manage your own will help them as well.
While these five practices are neither intuitive nor easy, you will get better over time at taking care of your basic needs, thinking more optimistically, noticing your small victories, focusing on what you can do, and getting better at managing your stress. You will begin to feel increasingly better about your life as these gain momentum.