A helpful guide for maintaining mental sanity when dealing with an injury or physical setback. Tips and tricks for remaining calm, positive, and on the path to healing.
[Note: this post is from a few years back…but a few people have been asking me about how I’ve stayed positive thru major injuries over the past few years. I thought this would be the perfect post to update and re-share since the tips here still hold true!]
As of Sunday, I am officially one week into my fracture recovery. Yay? It pretty much feels the same, but I am hoping lots of healing is going on behind the scenes (under the skin?).
I was wondering if you all would be interested in hearing about what I’m doing in terms of fitness and nutrition during this injury…leave a comment if you are!
Today I have some awesome tips to share with you about injuries….whether you have one yourself or just want to save them for the future!
Whether it’s your arm, your leg, heck…even your foot! injuries suck. Anything that restricts in ways that you normally wouldn’t be and keeps you from doing things that you love is not fun. But they don’t have to be as bad as they could be. It’s all about your attitude surrounding them and trying to stay positive in spite of a setback.
They say that those that keep a positive mental attitude heal faster anyways! So why not use that as incentive to look on the bright side of an unfortunate situation.
With that said, it can be tough. Somedays you’re going to want to pull your hair out. But don’t. I’ve got some great tips to keep you from going crazy while injured.
[Disclaimer: These are just suggestions based on what seems to be working for me. I believe that you should embrace this time of rest in your life, but just because you’re injured doesn’t mean you should totally baby yourself! The body is capable of amazing things and if fitness if a big part of your life, don’t totally give up on it just because one part of you is incapacitated!]
Accept this time of rest
It can be hard to think about ‘getting out of shape’ or ‘losing your fitness’ but to a certain extent, you have to accept this. The good thing is, it can all come back. The human body is an amazing machine….think about how it’s going to heal itself during your injury! So it can certainly bounce back with some work and dedication after you’re healed. And try to look at your regaining of strength as a ‘comeback’. It might even be sort of fun to build yourself up again because things that once felt easy will now be a challenge. You’ll have a whole bunch of options to work out now and you’ll really feel like you’re working hard!
Work what you can
It’s not ideal (especially will a lower body injury like mine), but there ARE other things you can! Work the body parts that you still have full use of. If nothing else, getting to the gym gets you out of the house and gives you a change of scenery. Plus, you’re bound to get at least a small benefit from the endorphins that exercise gives you. You may not be able to sweat off your stress, but you can certainly give your all for what you are capable of.
Put things perspective
This is temporary. Sure, it might slightly derail your goals or plans, but it’s only a short detour on the road of life. Most injuries last a few weeks to a few months depending on how serious they are. It may seem unending in the moment, but when you look at the span of a lifetime, a little bit of time away from your normal routine can be a good thing. And you can certainly handle it! Just take things day by day.
Focus on other passions
Okay, so even though you can’t take part in your regular, active hobbies, this is the perfect chance to foster other interests, explore hidden talents, and try new things. You have time to focus on things that you normally put on the back burner and can get excited about tackling new projects. Read a book, take up a new craft, or reserve time to just reflect and meditate…..we all know we don’t do enough self care when were at full speed. Injuries make you slower physically, so take that as a cue to slow down mentally as well. In addition, try to remove yourself from things that just make you jealous or angry…maybe step back from fitness social media accounts or take a break from blogs that regularly talk about working out.
I’ve also rounded up a host of great advice from the fitness community to share with you all! Thanks to everyone who contributed…
Lora: You need to find something else to focus on, otherwise you will be miserable during your injury! Join a book club, start a new hobby, try cooking new recipes… make it what you focus on so you can rest and recover without driving yourself crazy
Erika: Find exercises that you CAN do. Focus on getting in some sort of workout, even if it’s not your preferred choice.
Janelle: Welp, I got runner crazy and got hit with the dreadful IT Band Syndrome to a point where it hurt to even walk. I made a daily schedule for my stretching and rolling and got into some yoga. It was SOMETHING to do…. because I was almost going crazy not running. Best advice is make sure that injury is fully healed before you get back into it…. or you’ll be hurting walking like I was
Heidi: Eat ice cream. No, seriously, that’s what I did when I was sidelined from running — every day of the 14 day “absolutely no running/hiking/walking across the parking lot” stint I had I ate ice cream from a different ice cream shop. It was a fun challenge and still gave me an excuse to be social when running with friends wasn’t an option. Friends got on board and I had multiple ice cream dates, it was kind of awesome! It doesn’t exactly sound healthy but if you stick to moderation you’re golden.
Kelli: Pick a goal that doesn’t hurt your injury and track your progress over 30 days. When I got injured I worked on upper body strength and was rewarded by more visible definition in my arms and back!
Dixya: Yoga classes and swimming helps me recover.
Clare: Fill the time that you used to work out with something else that fills you up, such as a devotional, volunteer activity, or phone calls to friends!
Lauren: Rest from exercise and allow yourself to explore other hobbies and interests that you haven’t had time for!
Jillian: Find ways to keep moving that don’t bother the injury. Walk, yoga, ride a bike, etc. I dislocated my patella but was encouraged to try to do full rotations on a stationary bike and walk (even though it was more of a hobble) as much as possible. Helped with recovery. Every bit helps keeping you sane and moving when things get frustrating.
Pam: Find other activities that you enjoy to get through the injury period.
Amanda: Focus on progress. Each day and little milestone toward health helps reinforce that you’ll be back out there soon.
Diatta: I had an injury last year and I concentrated on training the opposite body part so I would stay active.
Lauren: Make a non-running fitness goal and focus your attention on that! When I had a stress fracture in my hip and couldn’t run for 3 months I made the goal of being able to do a pull-up (something I had never been able to do) and by the end of my injury I could do 5 PULL-UPS in a row!!!
Marc: Tighten your nutrition, figure what you’re able to do fitness wise and maximize your efforts and make a plan for recovery to get your injury back to full strength. Educate yourself to be better at fitness and nutrition.
Amanda:Use it as a learning experience. Work around the injury and completely switch up your routine.
Heather: Cross training and Yoga! When I injured my glute/hip earlier this year it helped because it kept me moving (low impact) and I knew that all they stretching and strengthening were speeding up the healing process
Rebecca: I bought an aquajogger belt for cheap on amazon and pool ran and then did core work and other cross training.
Maria: When I was recovering from foot surgery I turned to swimming and alternate workouts like the elliptical. I also made use of that time to catch up on my “To Be Read” stack of books and to improve my blog.
Erica: Cross training other parts of your body. Instead of seeing it as a limitation, reframe it to where now you get the opportunity to really challenge other areas of your body. I have a heel injury right now, so no running (boo!). Guess who has taken up boxing and beasting out on the stair mill. I’m LOVING the cardio from the boxing and daaaaaaang dat booty!
Emily: When I hurt my foot earlier this year and took time off from running, I fell in love with yoga and started cooking, writing and spending more time with friends. I realized how many other things I loved besides running and definitely came back mentally stronger (and physically from yoga).
Linda: Taking it one day at a time and refocusing on something else that you’ve been meaning to get done but haven’t because you were preoccupied with something else(blogging, yoga, upper body cardio, getting ahead on studies, etc). You’ll be proud of how much you’ve accomplished by the time you’re back on your feet!
Thank you everyone! I will be referring back to this post often to get some inspiration and lessen my anxiety about this injury.
Have you ever had a major injury?
What’s one thing you’d focus on if you had a lot of downtime in your near future?
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