No one wants to think about getting into an accident. But there are about 6 million auto accidents in the U.S. each year. Even if you’re a great driver, a car accident doesn’t have to be your fault for you to get injured.
It’s not just car accidents that cause issues, though. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are over 300 million work-related accidents each year that can cause injury or health concerns. People can also get into accidents while playing sports, exercising, or even working around the home.
Obviously, some accidents create a bigger impact than others. If you’re in a serious car accident, for example, after things start to calm down there are a few basics to cover, including:
- Making sure everyone involved is okay
- Reporting the accident
- Taking pictures of the scene
- Talking with police
- Working out insurance information
Afterward, you might start thinking about how lucky you are to be alive. An accident can sometimes be a big wake up call for people, changing their priorities and making them realize things they may have been ignoring before.
So, how do your priorities really change after an accident?
Creating a Care Plan
Unfortunately, accidents and injuries often get people thinking about their mortality. It’s not exactly a “happy” subject, but one to seriously consider if you don’t have any end of life plan or care plan in place for yourself. If you have grown children or a spouse, you may want to execute a power of attorney — someone you can trust to make end-of-life decisions for you if you are incapacitated.
It’s also important to make sure your finances are in order at any given time, and if anything happens to you, there needs to be legal documentation regarding what should happen to your money. It can feel a little harrowing to create a last will and testament, but it can save your loved ones a lot of stress if you pass. There aren’t any concrete rules as to what a will should/shouldn’t include. But some of the common property items include:
- Money in checking/savings accounts
- Physical properties
- Stocks, bonds, intellectual property
- Cars, artwork, jewelry
Maybe you were able to walk away from an accident with minimal injuries, but it can make you realize how easy it would be to get seriously hurt and not be able to work. Unfortunately, about 70% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. Creating a “nest egg” for yourself now can be helpful in the future if you aren’t able to work, or even as a jumpstart to your retirement fund.
Taking care of these administrative things now can give you peace of mind if anything were to happen to you. Getting into an accident can help you to realize just how important it is for your end-of-life wishes to be met, and to have a plan in place for your family and friends.
Recognizing the Importance of Physical/Mental Health
One of the best things you can do after any type of accident is to rest and recover. Many people deal with chronic pain after an accident and have to take active steps to manage it. Some of the most effective pain management techniques include:
- Physical therapy
- Low-impact exercising
- Alternating cold and heat
- Natural products like CBD oil
You might also realize the importance of keeping your body strong and healthy by regularly working out. No one can prevent accidents from happening, but there are things you can do to lower your risks of getting injured (especially when it comes to an athletic injury), including regular conditioning, proper supervision when exercising, and using the right techniques to stay fit. While it can sometimes be easier to focus on your physical health, that doesn’t mean you should ignore your mental wellbeing after an accident. In some ways, it can be even more important to your long-term health.
Mental health is not only a key component to your recovery, but maintaining a positive outlook and taking care of your mental health can help you to realize all life has to offer. It’s easy to grieve anything you may have lost in an accident, especially if you have a serious injury. But, you can mentally recover by focusing on joy over pain and by thinking about moving forward instead of re-living the past.
Being mindful can also be a helpful part of your recovery and a way to focus on the present. Practicing mindfulness every day gives you the opportunity to be in the moment. You can focus on your breathing, the sounds around you, how your body is feeling, all while letting thoughts freely come and go. It’s a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, and actually help you to feel more grateful.
An accident can help you to realize how important it is to take care of yourself, inside and out. It sparks changes in many people, so don’t be afraid to make your mental and physical health a priority from this point forward.
Making Time for Relationships
If someone were to ask you about the most important thing in your life, what would you say? For most people, health tops the list. After that, family, friends, and loved ones are soon to follow. People are social creatures and it’s the relationships we have that make life meaningful.
On paper, Americans aren’t that busy. In fact, the average American spends over nine hours each day on personal care and sleep. But in this fast-paced world, it’s easy to tell ourselves (and others) that we’re too busy to make time for the important relationships in our lives.
Getting into an accident can shift your way of thinking on that subject. As you start to see, once again, how important those relationships are, you’re more likely to make time for the people you love and to strengthen connections.
Being involved in any type of accident can be scary. But the silver lining is how it can change your perspective on life, and shift your priorities for the better.