Sometimes, life jerks your head, hard. It may come in the form of a death or illness in the family, losing your job, a poor investment, infidelity or an unexpected divorce. We’ve all encountered these types of mental and emotional earthquakes.
I’ve suffered from countless whiplash moments in my life. Possibly more than most of my peers. I don’t want to launch into a tirade about all the awful things I’ve had to endure to get to where I am today. Just trust that I’ve had a significant amount of experience.
Today, I’d like to talk about how to treat whiplash.
Those are used to treat a neck injury. You need to use the same philosophy to treat a whiplash event in your life.
- Ice reduces pain and swelling. You need to ice the injury constantly over a period of time.
Your ice isn’t the same as my ice. Find an activity that soothes your emotional aches and pains. Then keep doing it. For me, that means: jogging, hiking, writing, meditation, yoga and binge-watching Netflix. Solo activities. These help me clear my head and reorganize my thoughts without distractions. Do things that get your endorphins going. Mental stress always manifests in physical symptoms, so even if you think you’re all better, let your body be the guide.
- Take painkillers.
Sometimes, this literally means popping an Advil or Tylenol. Rubbing some Voltaren on those tense muscles. Giving yourself a foot rub or scalp massage. It can also mean treating your physical pain with a massage, some acupuncture, a reflexology session or venting to a therapist. Painkillers tackle the physical manifestations of mental pain.
- Use a collar for support.
A collar surrounds and supports. It prevents further injury. It allows your body to safely heal itself. It might not look glamorous, but it will make you better. No one will judge you for needing a collar after an injury. When dealing with a whiplash event, your collar consists of your closest family and friends. It’s so hard to speak up and ask for help, but trust that they will support you during recovery. Don’t go through the fight alone.
- Apply heat.
After icing your injury, and reducing the swelling, apply heat. Heat promotes blood flow. When you feel ready to face the world again, as a stronger person, give yourself a little heat. Not too strong at first, just something to get you going. This means setting realistic, manageable goals or small challenges for yourself. You can tell your collar about these plans and involve them, too.
Once you’re all better, actively maintaining these positive habits will make you stronger and more prepared for when the next storm hits.
It’s a no-brainer to see a doctor after you’ve broken your leg, but don’t forget it’s also perfectly okay to see a doctor after you’ve broken your mind.
March 6, 2020