Sidelined but Staying Positive: How to Cope and Overcome Injury Depression

depressed woman in dark room

For a sportsman, physical injuries that get you off the playing field can take a toll on your mental health. 

Depending on the size or nature of your injury, you may experience lack of mobility, loss of independence, isolation, and boredom. Feeling that your body has let you down can take a toll on you, and cause you to suffer injury depression.

When mental health is compromised, all other aspects of your life suffer. It can be challenging to get past this difficult time. When you find yourself in this situation, it is important to take the necessary practical steps to regain a healthy quality of life and find the secret to happiness. 

How to Cope with and Overcome Injury Depression

Having sport-injury depression is a debilitating feeling for a person who is used to being active. It can cause you a lot of stress especially if you have to stay off the track or field.l

Here are 7 ways to overcome injury-related depression.

1. Accept Help When You Need It

The frustration of not being at your optimum health can cause you to be in denial. You might want to isolate yourself and stay away from your teammates or fellow athletes.

Along with this desire for solitude, may come an unwanted and uncomfortable feeling of envy for your teammates who are healthy. This envy could cause you to feel guilty and ashamed. This envy and guilt is part of the experience, especially if the injury is long term.

Ensure you rely on your friends, teammates, and medical professionals to support you both physically and emotionally. Talk to others who have dealt with an injury before, and learn how they coped with the situation.

Accept the help they are offering.

2. Learn About Your Injury

The more you learn what the cause, treatment, and recovery period. This will help you eliminate anxiety. An injured athlete can experience heightened anxiety levels, regarding their sense of identity along with the capacity for recovery and healing.

The fear of suffering re-injury causes them to behave in ways that hinder the recovery period such as overdoing the rehabilitation, excessive training causing strain on the injured parts of tour body.

Get the information on your diagnosis, the amount of time you should expect to spend in rehab. Understand the purpose of the treatment you’re receiving, and the safe alternatives to break the monotony. Ensure you ask about any warning signs to indicate that you are not on the path to recovery.

This information will reduce your anxiety levels and help you feel a sense of control over your recovery process.

3. Maintain a positive attitude

A positive attitude will play an important role in your recovery process. You need to have the commitment to overcome your injury. It will help you show up for your treatments, listen, and do that which your doctor says. Choose a doctor who has worked with skilled athletes.

It may seem easier said than done, but there is a link between your wellbeing and your thoughts. This does not mean that you should be oblivious of your symptoms. Rather, you should acknowledge the pain and injuries you have developed, with your head high.

Surround yourself with people and items you care about in your space. Encourage yourself using daily affirmations, and remember that you shall be okay.

4. Maintain Fitness

The combination of depression and a physical hindrance and tempt you to sit around all day without any form of fitness activity. You should work against this feeling as much as possible.

Inactivity will cause your rehabilitation process to lag behind and reduce your feel-good hormones. Your injury may require you to modify your exercise routines or to take them slowly.

However, you can talk about it with you’re a qualified and experienced doctor like Kris Chaffin to create a modified workout routine to help you retain your fitness, as you heal.

Work on flexibility and training. Ask for a modified strength program. Ensure you conduct a limited amount of exercise to retain fitness. It will also help you remember why you love the sporting activity and not give up hope on it.

5. Set Realistic Goals

During injury recovery, setting unreachable goals can lead to increased frustration. The ideal place to after learning about your injury is to set realistic goals. Consult your doctor and establish any limitations that could affect you during your healing process.

Set systematic objectives to keep on track of this process. The small achievable targets will help you stay motivated to keep on moving. Any achievement you meet will help you have an additional sense of accomplishment.

Monitoring your goals will help you identify improvements in your rehabilitation process. Ensure you work closely with your doctor. This will protect you from the need to jump full-force into your recovery by knowing your limits.

6. Social Support System

Whether you need physical assistance or emotional support, do not be afraid to get in touch with your friends or family to ask for help. A conversation with your friends and family can help you raise your spirits fast.

Knowing that you are not facing your injury by yourself can cause you to feel better and reduce your anxiety levels. Social support is an important step in the rehabilitation process. Social support can be extremely effective when dealing with stressful events and wellness.

Social support and community connections have immense benefits to both physical and social well-being.

7. See a Specialist

If you feel your mental health is going on a downward trajectory, you should feel no shame asking for outside help. Seek a medical professional’s help to treat your depression, anxiety or any other condition you may be facing.

Their advice and treatment methods have the potential to lift you up fro, the slump without much effort. It is also worth looking for some support groups to help you know that you are not fighting the condition alone.

Consider the services of a life coach to help you get back on track with your life and career, despite your injury.

Follow These Tips and Ask for Help Dealing with Injury Depression After a Sport-Related Injury 

In addition to the physical injury keeping you from resuming your normal routine, it is important to remember that you must maintain psychological and emotional health.

Ignoring injury depression can have serious physical and mental consequences.

Read more on our blog about how to take care of important aspects of your life including health, lifestyle, and diet.