Injuries are a part of life. Some injuries are minor and don’t interrupt your life. On the other hand, some injuries can be serious, disrupting everything that was once considered normal. And though it takes time to get back on track, returning to work should be one of your priorities.
Reasons to Return to Work
While your injury may require you to spend time away from work, you should make it a priority to return as soon as possible. Here’s why:
- Aids in recovery. Rest plays an important role in recovery from an injury, but too much sedentary behavior can inhibit proper healing. A return to work gives you a boost in physical activity, which promotes circulation, improves strength, and helps you recover some of your lost stamina.
- Channels your energy. Work gives you purpose. It provides a channel for your energy, which can easily become destructive when left unbridled. This is necessary for your mental and emotional well-being.
- Improves outlook. Most people find that their outlook on life improves when they have a purpose. And since work provides purpose, it’s safe to assume that you’ll feel happier and more optimistic about your situation after a return to your job.
- Provides social opportunities. Recovering from an injury can be isolating. After the first few days, you’re often left alone for long periods of time. This can contribute to loneliness and depression. When you return to work, you get the benefit of social engagement and other interactions.
3 Tips for Returning to Work
Every situation is unique, and you’ll have to determine what’s best for your physical and emotional needs, but a quick return to work has numerous benefits. You do, however, have to be strategic with the process. Here are a few tips to consider:
1. Get Advice From an Attorney
If you were injured as the result of a work-related accident, it’s important that you speak with an attorney to figure out the best approach for returning to work. You never want to do anything that could hurt your case. You’ll also need to pay attention to workers’ compensation benefits if they’re involved.
“Workers’ compensation benefits can play an important role in your recovery from a slip and fall,” Virginia-based Marks & Harrison explains. “They can cover all of your accident-related medical expenses. They can also provide disability benefits on a temporary or permanent basis if your injuries prevent you from working or limit you to a lighter-duty, lesser-paying job. However, these wage-loss benefits are limited.”
Because of the limited nature of wage-loss benefits, returning to work may be necessary to supply enough income to pay your bills. An attorney can help you figure out the best way to approach this issue.
2. Listen to the Doctor’s Orders
In addition to speaking with an attorney, you also have to listen to your doctor’s orders and follow them as closely as possible.
Carefully read any paperwork or documentation you’re given after a medical visit. Returning before your doctor permits it could hurt any case or claim you may have. (Not to mention increase your risk of reinjuring yourself.)
3. Ease Into Things
If you’ve been away from work for a period of time, be wary of suddenly starting back with a full schedule. This can be psychologically intimidating and physically draining.
“Often an employee will feel more comfortable by easing back into work by working the mornings only,” therapist Anya Stephens writes. “Being able to build up their hours to eventually a full day is less daunting than being away from home for 10 hours on the first day.”
It’s also important to ease into job duties. Speak with your boss and see if there’s an opportunity for you to handle some less strenuous tasks over the first few days or weeks back. Being able to return to your former responsibilities gradually will help your recovery.
Put Your Health and Safety First
Nothing matters more than your health and safety. As you prepare to return to work, think about all of the different ways in which it’ll impact you – physically, emotionally, and psychologically – and do what’s best for you.