Workplace accidents will often result in temporary or permanent disabilities. Whether your disability will only last a few months or if it is indefinite, a sudden disability is life altering. Taking a trip to the grocery store or making a meal might now become an overwhelming task. You will probably feel shock, fear, and anger at having this sudden life change. It's important to know that it is normal to feel this way and there are steps you can take to cope with these new changes.
1. Get help around the house
If you are trying to adjust to a broken leg or partial loss of sight then doing what used to be simple tasks around the house could suddenly become difficult. You might not want to ask for help but it is important to accept help while you heal from your injury. It can lift a lot of stress out of your life if you ask for help from a friend or family member. They can help with things like:
- Preparing meals
If you cannot ask someone you know for assistance then there are government programs for those with disabilities. It is possible to hire someone to stop by your home to help out. If your disability is long-term then you could transfer into an assisted living facility where staff can help you with daily activities. There are several levels of assistance ranging from mostly independent living to staffed housing. It doesn't have to just be one or the other.
2. Reduce extra stress in your life
Coping with a new disability will be stressful enough. Try to cut out extra stressors and healing will become much easier. Some possible ideas are:
- Try to get as much sleep as possible. A lack of sleep can increase pain sensors, rise blood pressure, and increase chances of depression
- Try trained breathing exercises which can be found online
- Exercise once you have healed. Exercise can benefit you in so many ways. It reduces stress levels, reduces pain, increases endorphin production, and builds a healthy body. It might be difficult to want to exercise at first, but once you have healed then try to exercise in accordance with doctor's permission.
- File a claim for workers' compensation to ensure that you will have income while staying home to heal from your injury
3. Give your mind time to heal too
Coming to terms with a new illness or disability will be hard. It can disrupt your job, living situation, friends, family, and daily life. Believe it or not coping with a new disability can feel like you are grieving. It might feel like you need to let go of an old way of life. It's normal to feel like this and know that the pain and frustration will get better. Face these new feelings and consider the following:
- Take time for yourself. Let yourself heal physically and mentally
- Talk about how you feel with family, friends, and a professional if you can
- Consider new options that can be fulfilling such as a new hobby, work position, or a new home
Know that you are not alone in your new disability. There are numerous sources online to support individuals with disabilities. Your employer can supply workers' compensation, there are government run disability programs, and support groups available.