We opened our Wellness Wednesday series last week with an overview of the Six Dimensions of Wellness, and how that model can be applied to injury recovery. We received some feedback that a deeper dive into each category – physical, emotional, occupational, social, intellectual, and spiritual – would be valuable.
So, today we look at Emotional Wellness, and how to stay emotionally well during injury recovery / while you are managing pain.
What is Emotional Wellness
Being emotionally well, according Hettler’s model, means that you can recognize and accept whatever feelings you are having at a given time or on a given day. It does not mean you must be happy all the time. Instead, being emotionally well means that you can recognize when you are maybe depressed, lonely, or energetic and manage those emotions in a positive way.
Being emotionally well means you recognize emotions and manage them in a positive way.
How does the concept of emotional wellness apply to injury recovery and pain management?
Knowing from my own experiences, being injured and in pain often triggers a mix of emotions – sadness, despair, motivation, excitement – many times all within the same day or same hour. This mix and constant change of emotion makes it hard to consistently manage each emotion and respond effectively.
What are some ways to help you deal with this challenge? Here are some tips and tricks that I learned along the way as I was recovering from injuries.
Keep Track of Your Emotions. Whether through a care journal, a diary, or a mobile app, keep track of how you are feeling day-to-day. Naming emotions helps to acknowledge how you are feeling, allows you to look back at your progress, and ultimately has a motivational effect as well.
Share How You are Feeling with Others. Do you have a friend you can discuss your recovery with or a supportive community? Or maybe finding a mental health professional to speak with would be helpful. I always found that finding some way to share what I was feeling or what I was going through helped me better understand those feelings and figure out a way to move forward. You may not always have the answers, but speaking your emotions out loud does help
Think Optimistically. Even on the worst days try to find something to be optimistic about, even if is is just one or two moments everyday. Try to find a moment or a time where you can say to yourself, “I am happy” or “I am content” and celebrate that moment. Maybe it is a small win for your recovery, like bending your knee or walking to the kitchen, or maybe your dog or child did something funny, or even something on TV that made you laugh.
Let us know if these ideas work for you and if you have something that has worked that isn’t listed here please share it!
Wishing you a pain-free and fast recovery!