Staying positive when dealing with an injury is a topic that has been milling around in my head for the last little while now, as I’m sure you guessed. Even though I’m up and moving after my car accident, things are not even close to being back to normal. I’m still dealing with the never ending headache and a ton of aches and pains I never had before. Needless to say, things around here have changed a little lately.
I’m used to being able to do what I want, when I want (insert two year old temper tantrum here). Forced change isn’t something I do well. I like to be in control and being injured took the control completely out of my hands… well sort of. I mean sure, there are things I can’t do right now like jogging on the spin bike, running, lifting weights and comfortably lying flat on the floor to name a few, but with every change, you’re faced with a choice. You can choose to fight the change and spend all your time boo-hooing, or embrace the change, which puts the ball back in your court and allows you to deal with things on your terms.
Now we’ve already established that I like to do things on my own terms, so I’m sure you figured out I decided to embrace the change. Now I know what you might be thinking, how do you “embrace the change” when dealing with an injury? Well kick off your shoes, grab a cup of tea and get cozy because that’s what we’re here to talk about today.
Before my accident I was doing spin 3x a week, yoga 1x a week and some form of cross training 2(ish)x a week. Now my schedule looks a little more like this: physical therapy 3x a week, spin 1-2x a week at half the effort as before and yoga 2-3x a week. That’s a big difference.
Normally, this would drive me absolutely insane, but I had to come to grips with the fact that I can’t currently do what I was doing before and just let it go. Sounds easy enough right? Actually it was. I didn’t really have a choice those first couple of weeks because I could barely move enough to wash my hair in the shower, so I didn’t even have the desire to get back on the spin bike (until I put on real pants for the first time and realized all my chocolate peppermint bark binge eating while watching Vanderpump Rules and Naked and Afraid was starting to catch up to me).
I know you already know what I’m about to say, but this is probably one of the hardest parts of recovering from an injury. You have to let go and understand that it’s okay to take a break. I know it’s not ground breaking news, but it needed to be said. Relax, catch up on some TV shows and take a few naps to let your body start to heal. You can get back to your sweat sessions when your body is ready (and when you have doctors’ permission, in some cases).
On the road to recovery, you will inevitably learn many lessons. The most important one is to respect that your body needs time to heal properly before you can get back to doing what you want, without restrictions. As much as I wish it was, recovery isn’t something you can rush. Trying to speed up your recovery will cause you more problems than it’s worth and you may end up worse off than you were before so LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. This is a good time for you to really become in tune with your body and what it is trying to tell you.
If your body is telling you it doesn’t want to go as deep into a back bend in yoga class as you usually do or ride with as much tension on the spin bike as you did the day before, listen. We tend to get wrapped up in what we think we should be doing, rather than what our body is telling us to do, which causes problems. If this sounds like you, don’t be discouraged, because you’re not alone. I still find myself struggling with this but have become more in tune with what my body wants/doesn’t want to do on a given day and am learning to just being okay with it. Learning to just let go, instead of getting down on yourself and starting in with the negative self talk, is an especially important lesson to learn in an injury situation, but something everyone can benefit from, too. We’re all naturally competitive beings so I get it, but the sooner you can stop comparing yourself to someone else or even what you did the day before, the better off you will be.
Now when it comes to an injury, you can either look at it is a “set back” OR as a chance to shake things up a little. I suggest the second option, because it’s a much more fun and productive route to choose. If you choose to look at an injury as an obstacle in your way, it will make you crazy, so just don’t do it. If you choose to let go of what was and embrace what is, it can be a chance to try something new that you might not have made time for before. During the process of your recovery you will no doubt try new exercises, classes and treatment remedies that you haven’t tried before, so get excited about them! Trying something new is always fun and who knows, you might just fall in love with something you’ve never tried before.
Sometimes it can be hard to do, but the most important thing you can do when recovering from an injury is to be kind to yourself. Forget about what was and focus on being present in the moment, which includes listening to your body and what it’s telling you to do! Embrace the journey and don’t look at it as a set back or rush getting back to where you once were. Give yourself permission to be okay with where you currently are.
Questions of the Day:
Have you ever had to rehab from an injury?
What was your favorite exercise to do when rehabing from an injury?