How does physical health impact mental health?
Over the last few years, it is well publicised the positive effects that exercise can have on our mental health, but also the increase in mental health concerns when our physical health is not optimised. When we get an injury or have a long-term condition, we may be unable to exercise and this can lead to increased stress, anxiety and depression. Improving your mental health can support your sleep, productivity and general wellbeing and overall self-esteem.
Impact of performance failure on mental health
When you have been training so hard for an event or a personal goal, an injury is the last thing you want to happen. Adjusting your goals to allow for recovery can be demotivating, especially if you have to change your schedule or cancel the event completely. The impact can be exacerbated if you need support from others or if it is a repetitive injury that you had hoped will improved.
If you are part of a team, plan to meet regularly at a gym class or simply go for a run with a friend, not being able to can make you feel both guilty and isolated. It may not be possible to maintain your routine and reduced activity levels have a direct effect on an individual’s dopamine production, meaning your physical injury can decrease feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.
Mental recovery after a sports injury
- Spot an injury early on: We are all guilty of having a ‘niggle’ or a grumbling injury and putting off doing anything about it. What starts as a small injury can lead to something worse and more impactful. There is plenty of self-help support to manage acute injuries, such as taking anti-inflammatories, ice and rest and simple stretches (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sports-injuries/).
- Prioritise your mental health: If you feel that you are becoming a bit more down than normal, more irritable or not sleeping as well due to worrying thoughts, again we would recommend not ignoring this. The sooner you act the more likely you are to prevent worsening mental health. Simple breathing exercises, mindfulness and talking about your problems or worries can help (https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/self-help/tips-and-support/). However, if you feel you are struggling to get to a place of mental wellness then it is strongly recommended that you contact your GP.
- Seek professional support: We can work hard with all the self-help tools to recover from an injury, however there are times when you need to ask for support. Our team of highly experienced and knowledgeable specialist musculoskeletal clinicians provide expert care in occupational health and wellbeing management, sports injury rehabilitation, and specialist services, including paediatrics.
If you need further assistance with your recovery, enquire today using our online web form or contact the team on 020 7188 5197 or send us an email.