5 ways to look after your mental wellbeing while injured 

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When you’re injured, it’s not just the physical injury you need to look after, you need to look after your mental wellbeing too. Here’s how.

Getting injured can feel like the end of the world when you’re just getting back into sport or exercise. When you’re enjoying yourself on the pitch, sustaining an injury can put a sudden stop to your activity levels, and can make you feel really down. 

Remember that it’s temporary
The sense of frustration and feeling of being limited in what you can do can understandably make you feel like you’re losing the fitness progress you’ve made. In most cases, injuries will put you out of action short-term, and shouldn’t stop you from getting active in the long-term.  

Try and keep this in mind when you’re feeling low about being injured. Even if you do end up losing some fitness, you know you’ve got what it takes to build it back up again – you did it before when you were a beginner, and you can do it again.

Set some goals
It can feel good to have something to work towards. We’re not talking about anything extreme, like if you’ve got a leg injury you shouldn’t be aiming to run a marathon anytime soon, but achievable goals can be a great tool for boosting your wellbeing.

When you’re injured, you should try to rest, but it’s also important to use the injured area as normal to avoid muscle weakness, so small goals to move a little more each week are a good target to have.

You should consult your GP or physio for help on setting these goals to make sure they’re suitable for the type and severity of your injury.

Don’t compare yourself to others
A surefire way of making yourself feel even worse is to compare yourself to others, or to yourself pre-injury. Everyone’s different, and you can’t tell from a glance what’s going on with other people.

That person you see zooming around the footie pitch has probably been training – injury-free! – for months, if not years. Don’t compare yourself. Instead work on getting to know your body and what your limits are now.

Feel the feelings
Acknowledge how you’re feeling and the reasons behind wanting to push hard to get back to playing. If it’s a big part of your life, it’s understandable that you’ll be feeling lost without it. As such, you’ll be feeling that loss – even if it’s your teammates you miss more than the action on the pitch.

Letting yourself feel angry, sad or hopeless is the first step towards working through them. Talk to others about how you feel, or try cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for helpful strategies to deal with your feelings.  

As a MAN v FAT Football member, you get access to the digital mental wellbeing platform Silvercloud, which uses CBT to provide courses that deal with things like anxiety, depression and anger, so ask your coach for details if you’d like to give it a go.  

Take it easy
When you’re injured, the temptation to mope around feeling sorry for yourself is strong, and it’s completely natural. Injuries do need rest to heal, but it’s important to watch out for symptoms of depression – a continuous low mood, low self-esteem, no interest in hobbies or other interests, disturbed sleep – and seek help from your GP if these symptoms are impacting your daily life.

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