One of the worst things a spinal cord injury can do is make you feel like you are no longer in control of your life. When you are suddenly robbed of your physical abilities, it can feel like a punch in the gut. For many people, being injured can lead to feelings of depression. However, one of the best ways to free yourself of these feelings is to feel empowered.
Empowering yourself after a spinal cord injury takes some self-improvement, as well as purposeful decision-making. Read on to find out the best ways to feel empowered after a spinal cord injury so you can live your life to the fullest and banish any negative feelings you may have towards your injury.
Workout Regularly (Any Way You Can)
Exercise may be one of the best things you can do to clear your mind, and this is especially true after a spinal cord injury. The process of working out—no matter your level of injury—can help you feel strong, which helps immensely with alleviating depression. For women in particular, becoming stronger can help your self-confidence in a big way.
Advocate For Yourself
After an SCI, advocacy is an important skill to learn. Advocating for yourself when dealing with doctors, nurses, and PCAs is critical. The same goes for any discrimination or ableism you may encounter: it can be difficult to speak up for yourself sometimes, but you will have to find your confidence so you can regularly advocate for your needs.
Keep the Same Dating Standards
Do not think you are “less than” just because you are paralyzed. Keep your same dating standards and make sure you date people who you truly believe will help you feel empowered. People often lower their dating standards after an injury, thinking they are no longer as valuable of a partner. This, however, is ableist thinking. Many people with spinal cord injuries find loving partners that treat them with utmost respect, and you can as well.
Get Rid of Negative People
If you have any negative friends or even negative family members in your life, it would be a great benefit for you to stay away from them. Having negative people in your life when you are learning to live with a spinal cord injury will make you feel the opposite of empowered. In your journey towards empowerment, try to spend your time around people who make you feel positive and strong.
Set Goals for Yourself (and Actually Work Towards Them!)
Having goals for yourself, especially when you have spinal cord injury, is a must. Whether the goal is getting an education, finding employment, traveling more, or creating art, having goals that you actively work towards can help restore a sense of empowerment. So often, people put their lives and goals on hold after an injury, but this is the opposite of what you should do after a SCI.
Take the Same Care of Yourself
Maintain the same grooming and fashion standards you had before your injury. This may be more difficult and you may need assistance, but there is nothing that makes someone feel more ready to take on the world than a fresh haircut and an outfit they like. Do not forget the power of looking good: looking good can help you feel good.
Stop Negative Inward Name-Calling
Develop a daily positive mantra that you tell yourself, and work towards stopping any negative name-calling that you may have began since your injury. You are just as worthy as you were before you were paralyzed. If you find yourself calling yourself anything negative, stop yourself immediately and remind yourself of your worth.
Feeling empowered is a feeling that should not be dismissed—the power it can have on someone with paralysis is life-changing.