If you’ve been in a car accident, you know how frustrating it can be to get back to normal. There are a lot of details to keep track of and bills can pile up quickly. You may also be dealing with pain and stiffness, making it difficult to focus on anything other than your accident.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way. During recovery, you’ll want to care equally for your physical and mental health. No matter what role you played in the accident, your journey to healing and peace will take time, so keep at it. Following these five steps can help you regain your life after an accident.
1. Get Medical Attention
At this point, an emergency room doctor or your general physician has likely seen you, but depending on the severity of your car accident, you may need further care. You may need multiple checkups to make sure you don’t show signs of any new symptoms. Something like internal bleeding can affect you quickly or may take a while to show.
Taking care of your health should be your number one priority. Even if you feel fine after your accident, you still need to seek out medical attention immediately. If you want to make a claim on your insurance, you’ll need to have your injuries documented with a doctor.
Also, you may not notice some injuries at first. Concussions and back injuries may take a few hours or a full day to show symptoms. The rush of adrenaline from the accident could also keep you from noticing severe injuries.
2. Seek Legal Help
Car accidents take a severe toll on everyone involved. You’re likely facing hefty medical expenses and emotional trauma. You should obtain legal advice from a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. These specialized personal injury attorneys can help you negotiate with insurance companies to get you the money you deserve. They can also represent you if you must take your case to court.
You’ll need to gather all the relevant information for them, including copies of your medical records from the incident and the police report. When selecting your lawyer, you should ensure they’ve had plenty of court experience. If your case goes far, you want to know your attorney can handle it beyond settling.
3. Talk to a Therapist
Everyone responds to trauma differently. If you’re having difficulty sleeping, eating or returning to your usual routine, you may want to talk to a therapist. They can help you recover mentally from a car accident. Experiencing PTSD, anxiety and depression are common after being in a car crash, but working with a licensed professional can help you on the road to recovery.
You’ll undergo an evaluation to determine the best course of treatment. After that, your therapist will give you exercises designed to help you confront your feelings and push through your mental barriers. Group therapy is an excellent supplemental option when you want some extra help outside of your scheduled appointments. Check around to find a corresponding support network in your area.
4. Prioritize Self-Care
You’ll have a whole team of people getting you the care you need to recover, but you are the most essential in the group. You need to make sure you’re in a place where you’re ready to heal. Create a self-care routine that addresses your physical and mental well-being to regain your life after an accident.
Starting a meditation habit will teach you to control your thoughts and breathing. It helps fight depression, PTSD and anxiety symptoms by boosting your mood. It can also lower stress levels, increase mindfulness, and reframe negative thoughts. You might find mindfulness or mantra meditation to be particularly helpful.
Getting recommended amounts of activity and rest will also help you recover faster mentally. If a doctor approves you for a normal range of movement, taking a daily walk will help your body and mind recover. When you can, walk outside and add the wonderful benefits of vitamin D to your self-care plan. Also, try to get a full eight hours of sleep each night. Talk to your doctor if you’re struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep.
5. Use Your Support System
You may feel like isolating yourself during this time, but your loved ones are now more important than ever. It’s important to tell them what you need because they might not know how to help you.
Be clear if you’d like to discuss your accident or not. Your friends and family can be great people to talk to about your feelings, but it’s also okay if you’d rather have them help you feel normal. There’s more to you than your traumatic experience and involving yourself actively with people close to you can help return you to a sense of normalcy.
If you were physically injured in the accident and are in the process of healing from those injuries, ask friends and family to help you with tasks that are too difficult for you. You might need help getting to appointments, running errands, cooking, cleaning, getting around or showering.
Return to Your Normal Routine
Possibly the best way to heal is to get back to your routine as quickly as possible. Once you’re physically and mentally prepared, driving yourself around again is a significant step. Discuss things with your therapist or loved ones if you’re struggling to get behind the wheel again.
It’s also essential that you keep active and focused on moving forward. Getting stuck in the moment of your accident can be far too easy. Hang out with friends, chat with coworkers, take your dog for walks and work on your hobbies. Returning to your old lifestyle and following these steps to dealing with a car accident and the aftermath will help you move past the trauma and regain your life and peace of mind.