Returning to work after an injury can be a challenging experience, and it’s something that many people struggle with. As a company who works in the return to work space, we’ve seen firsthand how difficult it can be for people to adjust to the demands of their job after an injury.
Whether you’ve been out of work for a few weeks or several months, approaching your return with care and caution is key. To help out – we’ve compiled our top five tips for a successful return to work post-injury.
1. Communicate with Your Employer
One of the most important things you can do when returning to work after an injury is to communicate with your employer. This will help ensure that you have the support you need to make a smooth transition back to work. We understand that these conversations can be difficult to have, which is why it’s important to have a supportive and communicative rehab team (we can put you in touch with some great Occupational and Vocational Rehabilitation Providers) by your side. They can help facilitate discussions and provide guidance, ensuring that your needs are effectively communicated and met.
2. Keep Focusing on Your Physical Health
Just because you’re back at work doesn’t mean that your rehabilitation stops here. You should continue to prioritise your physical health and function, taking steps to promote healing and prevent further injury. This might include things like good sleep, regular exercise, stretching, and proper nutrition – all of which your exercise physiologist would have given you the confidence to partake in independently!
3. Take a Gradual Approach
When returning to work, it’s important to take a gradual approach and give your body time to adjust. This often means starting with lighter duties or shorter workdays and gradually increasing your workload over time. This can help prevent re-injury and allow you to build strength and stamina at a manageable pace. It’s important to listen to your body, as well as the recommendations from your rehab team, and increase your tolerance gradually. Again, a great Occupational Rehabilitation provider can be invaluable here!
4. Reflect and Learn from Your Experience
If possible, take the opportunity to learn from your injury. This doesn’t mean beating yourself up or dwelling on what happened, but rather reflecting on what you can do differently in the future to prevent similar injuries. If you are/have been working with an EP, a big part of what we focus on is this. This might involve adjusting your work practices, lifting techniques or seeking out additional training or support to improve your skills and knowledge.
5. Don’t Forget About Your Mental Health
Returning to work after an injury can be emotionally taxing, and it’s easy to overlook the importance of your mental health. Remember to be kind and patient with yourself during this transition, and don’t hesitate to seek support if needed, either through your rehab team or your employer. We want to see you succeed, and supporting your mental health is a top priority.
At the end of the day, returning to work after an injury is not an easy feat, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Many people have gone through the same experience and understand how challenging it can be.
By following the tips we’ve provided, you can help make your customers, or your employees transition back to work as smooth and successful as possible. Remember to take things one step at a time, prioritise physical and mental health, and be kind and patient. If you know of someone who might benefit from exercise physiology to assist in this journey – don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!
Author: Tessa Nielsen Clinical Exercise Physiologist and Content Creator at Specialised Health
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