Car accidents are, unfortunately, quite common. But if you have no experience being hurt in a serious car accident, you might not be sure of the best way to approach your recovery. In this article, we’ll cover some helpful tips you can use to reach a full recovery in less time.
How to Reach a Full Physical Recovery
First things first, you need to focus on reaching a full physical recovery so that you can return to a life of normalcy (or at least close to it). Here are several suggested steps for doing just that:
- Listen to your doctor. You might have an idea of how you want your recovery to go, but at the end of the day, you have to listen to the doctor’s orders. You may not like what they have to say; however, they’re the one with years of experience and specialized knowledge. If you pick and choose which parts of the treatment plan you apply, you could stunt your recovery and compromise the integrity of your accident claim.
- Don’t overdo it. There’s something to be said for pushing yourself in recovery, but you don’t want to overdo it. If the doctor clears you for 30 minutes of daily physical therapy, don’t try 60 or 90 minutes. Pushing too hard might feel heroic, but it’s actually dumb.
- Get plenty of sleep. Most people are already sleep-deprived to begin with. But when your body experiences an injury or trauma, it needs even more sleep to rest and recuperate. Listen to your body! In the days immediately following your car accident, you may need as much as 10 to 12 hours of sleep per night.
- Replace bad habits with good ones. When you’re stressed and in pain, the temptation is to lean on crutches like excessive medication, junk food, or drinking. However, each of these things zaps your body of the resources it needs to recover. Try replacing bad habits with good ones like a healthy, nutritious diet, proper hydration, and plenty of rest.
There’s one element in the recovery process that you have zero control over: time. You have a say in how hard you work, which good habits you start, and even which bad habits you eliminate, but you can’t do anything about time.
It takes some people days to recover, while it takes others weeks. And then there are some who will require months to recover from similar injuries. It all has to do with your strength, physical condition, and various underlying factors.
The key is to continue following these steps and to remain patient.
Tips for Mentally and Emotionally Recovering
While physical recovery is the first thing on everyone’s mind, you can’t ignore the mental and emotional side of things. In many cases, it’s this aspect of the recovery that takes the longest. Here are several tips to help:
- Hire an attorney. There are so many complex moving parts involved in a car accident. This includes complicated legal and financial issues. Rather than trying to deal with them on your own, which will increase your stress levels, hire a car accident attorney to oversee this part of your recovery.
- Write down what happened. You may find it helpful to take the time to write down exactly how the accident happened from start to finish. By creating a detailed, chronological narrative of the incident, many people are able to unpack the trauma and deal with their emotions.
- Open up to someone. Don’t keep the stress, anger, fear, and anxiety of your accident pent up inside of you. This is unhealthy and potentially dangerous. Find someone – whether a friend, partner, or therapist – to talk through the situation.
- Take a defensive driving course. A defensive driving course can equip you with some new skills for dealing with dangerous, otherwise-uncontrollable factors that you face on the road. Consider taking one before getting back behind the wheel.
It’s not about aggressively rushing back to get behind the wheel just so you can say you did it. Instead, you want to unpack the emotional trauma so that getting behind the wheel becomes the natural next step in the recovery process. Don’t force it – but do be intentional!
Return to Normalcy
A car accident can throw your entire world into disarray in a matter of seconds. However, if you’re able to prioritize your recovery on all ends of the spectrum, you’ll stand a much greater chance of returning to a life of normalcy in the weeks and months that follow.