The after effects of physical injuries don’t always stop at the body and can dig their claws into an individual’s mental health too. Contributing factors may include a lack of mobility, a loss of independence, or even the boredom and social isolation of sitting around the house all day. Regardless, these bodily damages and depressive thoughts often conspire together to weigh down every aspect of a person’s daily existence, which makes a difficult time even harder to deal with. During these troubling periods, it’s important to take action and use practical steps in order to regain an acceptable quality of life. Here are 10 ways to get you started:

1. Set Realistic Goals

An ideal place to start your journey is to learn about your injury, talk with your doctor, and establish any limitations you have while researching which healing methods worked best for others. And then, step by step, set objectives to gain control over this process. These targets will provide you with the motivation to keep on moving, and with each achievement will come an additional sense of accomplishment.

2. Maintain Your Fitness

When depression and physical hindrances combine, it can be tempting to surrender to the couch all day. Unfortunately, this inactivity will only slow down your rehabilitation and reduce your feel-good hormones (endorphins) dramatically. Depending on your injury, you may have to modify certain exercise routines, but if you take it slow and speak to your doctor, there are many routes you can explore. Classes like yoga or tai chi provide ideal exercises for pulled calf muscles or spinal alignment, while casual walks or swimming are perfect low-impact cardio alternatives.

3. Watch Your Diet

Much like exercise, it’s in your best interest to eat foods famous for mood-boosting and physical recovery properties. Vitamin A (carrots, spinach, kale) and Vitamin C (oranges, peppers, broccoli) assist white blood cells to fight off infections. Calcium strengthens the bones (eggs, milk, yogurt), and zinc repairs damaged tissue (fortified cereals). While you’re at it, avoid junk/processed foods too, and cut down on the meat.

4. Get Outside

If you are able to, spend some time in nature. The fresh air will clear your mind and the peaceful environment will provide your thoughts with the space they need, no longer trapped within those same four walls. Appreciate the beauty of the world, and the rest should follow.

5. Spend Time with Loved Ones

Whether you need emotional support or assistance with a physical task, do not be afraid to pick up the phone and ask for help. A conversation with friends or family is one the fastest ways to lift up your spirits. Try to organize a social plan in the near future too, as this will give you something exciting to look towards.

6. Explore Meditation

The therapeutic benefits of meditation have long been supported as a practice which encourages better breathing techniques while quieting the chaotic buzz within your brain. This will allow you to find some well-deserved peace in a calmer headspace and feel more attentive and alert. There are many variations of meditation to experiment with, which is why it’s worth researching this concept further until you find one that works for you.

7. Volunteer Your Time

No matter what limitations you are currently facing, your mental health will reap great rewards from helping others. Inquire about interesting ways in which you can get involved with your community, perhaps looking at disadvantaged animals, the environment, or homeless shelters. Thanks to the power of the internet, you may even find some admin work which you could complete at home.

8. Laugh!

It’s almost impossible to feel miserable while laughing! Avoid distressing movies or bad news articles, and rather watch funny films or listen to hilarious podcasts. If your body allows, convince a friend to attend a stand-up comedy show with you or simply click on a cat video every now and then.

9. Stay Positive

It may seem easier said than done, but there is a definite link between your thoughts and your wellbeing. This doesn’t mean that you should ignore your symptoms, but rather acknowledge the pain with your head held up high. Try to surround yourself with items you love while repeating encouraging daily affirmations. And remember: things will eventually get better.

10. Speak to an Expert

If you feel that your depression may be getting the best of you, there is no shame in seeking outside help. Many medical professionals have studied these exact symptoms before and have helped various cases to overcome them, meaning that their advice could very well lift you out of this slump with minimal effort. It’s also worth looking around at any local support groups where you can trade stories and realize that you’re not fighting alone.