How to Stay Positive and Grow Your Career Despite an Injury
An injury can be as emotionally devastating as it is physically. But before you can begin the healing process, it’s important to come to terms with the injury itself. This may be a multi-stage process, similar to that faced during the loss of a loved one. After all, you are coping with losing of a part of you — from your daily routine to your temporary or long term independence — or even something more serious.
It’s important to let yourself work through each stage, to ultimately accept the injury and turn your focus to the process of healing. This is where the emotional aspect can be of the upmost importance. Acknowledging your emotions, a positive attitude, realistic goals and support are all important elements that will determine the outcome of your rehabilitation.
Looking to the Future
The severity of your injury, your age, and your current career path or occupation are all considerations that will ultimately govern your plan of action during recovery. Some questions you may want to consider are:
- Will I be able to return to work?
- If I can return to work, can I resume my current job or do I need to re-think my career goals?
- How likely is it that I’ll find another job if my current one is not an option?
The answers to these questions will help define what is referred to as your worklife expectancy, and they will be determining factors if you decide to pursue legal action in response to your injury.
Dealing with the Present
After you assess your situation and have an idea of your future career prospects, you can begin to establish a plan of action. If your injury is serious, you’re probably looking at some down time. How you spend that time can be an important part of your recovery.
Here are 10 tips that will not only help you stay positive, but might give you a career boost in the process:
- Pamper Yourself
Dealing with an injury is stressful. Make a date with yourself once a week or so, and then pamper yourself. If you can afford it (and your physician approves), have a massage or other spa treatment. If your injury has left your budget a bit tight, treat yourself to a relaxing bath with your favorite tunes, scented candles and a glass of wine. Being good to yourself doesn’t have to cost a fortune — it only needs to make you feel good about yourself.
It may not seem so at first, but your physical therapist is one of your best friends. They are there to guide you back into using your injured body part and can offer suggestions on what activities will be helpful once you have completed your therapy.
It’s important that you don’t use your injury as an excuse to stop being active. Your self-esteem and general well-being are important parts of your emotional recovery. Of course, make sure your physician approves your activities and don’t risk re-injury by overdoing it.
- Update Your LinkedIn Profile
During your initial recovery you probably won’t be running any marathons doing backflips. In fact, you will probably be lucky to get out of bed. Why not use this time to update your LinkedIn profile? An updated, professional profile is always a plus, regardless of whether or not you’ll be pursuing a new career.
- Brush up on Industry News
If you’re going to be off work for a while, it’s important not to fall behind on what’s happening with your industry. This is a great time to brush up on current events, peruse future projections and maybe even branch out into a related field.
- Teach Yourself a New Skill
Boredom can lead to depression after an injury. Challenge yourself and learn a new skill. There are a lot sedentary activities you can pursue during recovery. You can opt for an occupation-related skill, such as learning a new software program, or develop a useful proficiency like micro-expression reading.
- Make Some Extra Money
There are actually some legitimate ways to make a few extra bucks while you recover. Now might be the perfect time to hire yourself out as a freelancer and test the waters of entrepreneurship. Put the word out to your contacts and see if you can pick up a few side jobs.
If you aren’t quite ready to step out that far, try some online surveys. There are quite a few companies out there that reward you for answering questions, purchasing items through their website and clicking through emails. These rewards will vary and can be in the form of points, cash or gift cards. Don’t pay any fees or memberships because most legitimate sites don’t charge you. You won’t get rich doing this, but it will help pass the time while putting a little extra in your pocket.
- Pursue That Hobby You Never Had Time For
Have you ever wanted to learn to cook gourmet meals, make your own clothes, write a book, or craft custom jewelry — but never had the time? Well, now is your chance. Use your extra time to pursue that hobby you always wanted to explore but never could.
- Learn to Relax
It seems that life is always about accomplishments. This keeps us constantly busy, constantly on the go and constantly on call. Take this time to learn how to relax. Study the art of meditation, listen to soft music or read a book for fun. Relaxing provides many health-related benefits including a boost to your immune system, improved cognitive and decision-making skills, and enhanced mood. It also helps reduce stress — an important benefit to take with you when you return to the corporate world.
- Take a Class
Eventually you’ll want to get out and about again. Taking a class at a local college is a great way to meet new people and increase your skillsets. Many colleges offer non-degree related classes at reduced costs. Take a class to enhance your current skills or think outside of the box and learn something completely new.
Nothing takes you outside of yourself more than volunteering. In addition to providing a day away from the house, volunteer work gives you the sense that you make a difference. This can be important while recovering from an injury if find yourself questioning your capabilities and relevance.
Whether you plan to return to your previous job or not, an injury can provide you with the opportunity to engage in personal as well as professional development. Keeping a positive attitude allows you to use this downtime for growth and, as a bonus, it significantly speeds up your recovery time.