Your mental health dictates how you feel, think, and interact with the world. In many respects, your ability to manage stress, overcome challenges, and build relationships are dependent on having positive mental health.
Furthermore, having a strong or positive mental health means possessing positive attributes as well as the ability to cope with change. But how does one cope after experiencing limb loss? Here are some tips to strengthen your mental health and well-being while living the amputee life.
1. Acknowledge your negative thoughts.
The reality is that negative thoughts will always be present post-amputation. You are dealing with the loss of a significant part of your identity.
The first step to coping with limb loss is accepting and acknowledging “negative” emotions, such as being angry, discouraged, or sad. Don’t succumb to the pressure to stay positive.
More often than not, getting in touch with these intense emotions by talking to a trusted friend or a therapist creates a strong foundation for your rehabilitation journey. You will find that you have more space for positivity once you’ve embraced, acknowledged, and dealt with your negative thoughts.
2. Listen to your body.
Your body is capable of warning you when something is off. Listening to your body is an important skill to learn, especially when you start wearing a prosthesis, and you’re asked to make dozens of decisions that will affect your body.
3. Drink water.
When your body is adequately hydrated, your brain is clearer, your body gets rid of waste effectively, and your digestion improves. Simply put, being hydrated reduces unnecessary strain on your system, which can improve your mood.
4. Eat a balanced diet.
Recent research shows that gut health plays a huge role in a person’s overall well-being. You can boost your mood, as well as your overall health, by eating high-nutrient foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seafood, and some lean meats. Avoid simple carbs and highly-processed foods. Soon you will feel your energy levels improving, which makes you feel better all around.
5. Move your body constantly.
Your body is built for movement. This is why a sedentary lifestyle creates a whole host of problems. Make sure to get at least 20-30 minutes of exercise every day. Exercise—or simply, moving your body throughout the day—can significantly improve your mood by increasing your energy, reducing pain, and helping you sleep better. It also improves balance and range of motion. Furthermore, your circulatory, respiratory, skeletal, and muscular systems will also improve.
Best of all, engaging in physical activities also does wonders for your sense of independence and self-confidence.
6. Surround yourself with supportive people.
Isolation breeds unhelpful repetitive thinking, which negatively affects your quality of life. Try to establish new connections and strengthen your ties with people who have your back. This can be your family, friends, or a support group.
If you’d like to join online support groups for amputees, check out Amputees Support Group, Amputee Help & Support Line, and Amputee Coalition.
7. Let go of habits that don't benefit you.
If you find yourself feeling stressed, take a closer look at your daily habits. Something is not making you feel your best, and you need to change that. Perhaps you check your work emails first thing in the morning? Or maybe you’re always criticizing yourself. Whatever it is, it’s best to change your routine and habits until you find something that helps you feel at your best.
However, changing a habit cannot be done overnight. On average, it takes 40 days to change a habit, so be patient with yourself.
If incorporating all seven habits in your routine feels overwhelming, don’t worry. You can start small. Doing at least one of these seven tips can result in long-term benefits. What’s important is that you permit yourself to feel good.Which of these seven habits has helped you cope with limb loss? Please share your experiences with us. We’d love to hear from you.