Getting injured at work can be an upsetting and stressful experience for yourself, your family and your colleagues. It can often mean extended periods of leave, time at home, and a potential loss of income or mobility. After an injury, your primary focus should be on recovery and ensuring you allow enough time to return to your best self. However, when you’re feeling well enough, it can be a great time to think about how you’ll remain job-ready and what you want from your career in the future.
What to do with your time off?
Your time off is for you to rest and recover. However, being at home more than usual and with less work to keep you active, it’s important to maintain physical and mental health.
Some things you could try are:
- Engage in a hobby (whether an existing one or new) such as reading, sewing, cooking, photography, etc.
- Study something new. Why not learn more about something you’ve always been interested in, either work-related or interest-based. Borrow books from a local library, watch a documentary series, or do research online. You’ll be an expert on your chosen topic in no time.
- Spend time with friends and family. Now is a great time to see more of the people you love and a good way to reconnect with those who are usually on different work schedules than yours. Spending time with children or the elderly in your life is a great place to start.
- Upskill with an online course. Remaining job ready while injured should be a priority during your recovery. If you’re wanting to move up in your organisation or potentially change careers, upskilling with a relevant diploma is a great way to achieve this result. An online course gives you the flexibility to study when you want, where you want. You can easily fit in study time between appointments or time with family. Online study is perfect if you are injured, as it will mean you don’t have to travel long distances to study and can take regular rest breaks.
Make good mental health a priority
When recovering from an injury, it is common for your mental health to take a hit. Having a sense of purpose and connecting with others is vital for positive mental health. Without going to work each day, you may find yourself feeling down or isolated. Make sure to discuss this with your doctor and care team, and keep an eye on any symptoms as they arise.
Great ways to maintain good mental health while injured are:
- Stay social. Make sure to keep in touch with friends, family, and colleagues during your time off. It could even be a great time to meet new people through a shared hobby or interest.
- Plan for your future. Stay positive about the road ahead by planning for your future. Is there a holiday you’ve always wanted to take? A hobby you’ve been itching to try? Revisit the goals that are important to you and put a plan in place to achieve them.
- Stay connected to your job. If you plan on returning to your workplace, keep in touch with the people there and stay abreast of any changes happening so you won’t be in for a shock when you return. Maybe you could visit your colleagues once a week during lunch or attend a team meeting. Or keep in touch by following the company on social media.
- Get out of the house. With more time off than usual, it can be a great idea to look for activities which you wouldn’t be able to join in on during work hours. Your local library or community centre is a great place to start as they often host activities during weekdays. Depending on how you’re feeling and the restrictions of your injury, you could consider volunteering at a local aged care facility, neighbourhood house or animal shelter.
Maintaining good mental health will positively impact your physical health, helping you to recover sooner.
How to remain job-ready
Your recovery is paramount during your time away from work, but staying on top of future job prospects will ensure that your return to work is as smooth as it can be.
If you’re looking at returning to the same workplace, consider what you could do during your recovery to make you more skilled at your current job, or help you earn a promotion.
An obvious way you can do this is by staying up to date with trends and changes in the industry or by studying a relevant course. Earning a new diploma could help move you into a senior position at your company. Perhaps you’re a dental nurse but would love to move into Practice Management? A diploma in Practice Management could help you return to work with new, relevant skills that will help you move up in your workplace and receive a nice pay rise too.
Upskilling in your current industry may assist you in returning to work on a part-time basis, as the new skills will allow you to receive better pay than in your original role.
If you’re looking at changing jobs entirely, the good news is that you probably already have a lot of transferable skills, which will help you to excel in other career paths. For example, a builder who wants to move into a Project Management or Construction Supervisor role will need a relevant diploma qualification but may receive credits that make the course shorter.
Getting injured at work is not something you anticipate or want to happen. If it does, there are plenty of opportunities to take this unexpected event and turn it into a positive one. Take this time to not only focus on your physical recovery but to consider what more you want out of your life and career.