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So you’ve been injured at work… yikes!
Maybe it was a minor injury that damaged your pride more than your body, or perhaps it was a serious injury that may have some lasting impacts. Either way, it is an experience you would like to recover from and forget about as quickly as possible.
After a work-related injury, you may be feeling discouraged. Even more troublesome, you might be feeling embarrassed or depressed, especially if the injury is long-lasting or the memory of it is not quick to fade from the minds of your coworkers. The idea of going back to work may make your palms sweat and fill you with a bit of anxiety.
Fortunately, it is possible to get past these negative feelings. Work-related injuries happen, and it is completely possible to bounce back both emotionally and physically. Taking steps to regain confidence in yourself is the key to remaining an inspiring leader after a serious injury in the workplace.
Acknowledge that it happens
The first step to working through negative feelings regarding your work-related injury is to accept that every now and then these types of things happen. It doesn’t necessarily make you an irresponsible employee or a pathetic person. Work-related injuries are actually relatively common. In the U.S. approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries were reported in 2017 alone.
Some of the most common workplace injuries include things such as repetitive motion injuries, slipping or tripping, strains, and cuts or wounds. Often times these types of injuries are not serious, but they can be if not taken seriously when they occur. There is nothing to be ashamed of in getting an apparently minor injury checked out.
The majority of injuries are accidents that were not planned and are unwelcome to everyone involved. Although nobody wants to see a fellow employee injured, when it happens, fellow employees will come together to make sure you are taken care of. They are more interested in your well-being than judging you for what happened.
Take care of yourself
With all the concern from your fellow employees (among many other reasons), it is now your job to do your part to take care of yourself so you can get back to work as quickly as possible. This involves doing everything your doctor recommends including taking medications, attending appointments, and doing physical therapy.
Furthermore, make sure to complete the necessary paperwork to file for workers compensation.
Workers compensation insurance is designed to help cover the expenses of an injury or illness that occurs for work-related reasons. Many employers have it to cover accidents that any of their employees may have, thereby avoiding legal claims associated with damages and losses. Without workers compensation, employees may be fully responsible for picking up the bill on an injury that happens during work.
It is important to talk with your employer about workers compensation coverage as soon as possible following a work-related injury. Typically, the insurance will cover all or a significant portion of any required medical care, which can make it easier to attend all of your necessary appointments. Being sure to take advantage of treatments and physical therapy can make sure you get back to work sooner with fewer long-term repercussions.
Jump back in
Although you may have a few remaining physical or mental limitations, when it does come time to head back to work, don’t be afraid to jump back in as much as possible. Go back with a can-do attitude that communicates to fellow employees that you are not dwelling on the injury nor letting it slow you down much. They will take their cues off of you; if you don’t dwell then they won’t either.
As you ease yourself back into work, it is important to keeps tabs on your mental health. Rates of depression can be higher in employees who have missed work for a work-related injury, so it is important to recognize if you are experiencing signs of depression and get help. Some, but not all, indications include severe anxiety at work, inability to return to normal social habits, and extreme periods of dwelling following your accident.
Returning to work when you’re physically and mentally ready can actually be a huge benefit to you. Work provides more physical activity that can aid recovery and start building back strength in the body. Furthermore, work is a social outlet and support network that can distract you from your injury and keep your mind busy.
Ultimately, taking deliberate steps to move on from a work-related injury is the most important aspect of recovery. Accept that these things happen and try not to dwell on it too much. Take steps to make sure you get the help you need to recover successfully. And when you are ready to head back to work, don’t be afraid to jump back in according to your abilities.