Being injured is hard. It’s frustrating, and hard to handle when fitness is an important part of your life and identity.
I’ve wanted to write a post with tips for coping with an injury ever since I had my surgery, but truth be told, it’s been really tough for me. Pre-surgery I was told I could be back to playing football after a couple of months – but I can’t even run now. My injury is more serious than expected, and it’s tough to stay positive when you’re not even sure there’s a light by the end of the tunnel.
My surgery was in June 2015 – and I had been injured long before that. It has varied how much it has left me unable to do day to day activities. Yet I’ve rarely had a day 100% pain free.
However, there are still things I’ve been doing, and that you can do too (although I hope you superstars will never get injured!). They will not make injuries fun, but it can be a little less 💩.
Coping with a serious injury
Get a hobby
“Go get a life.”
Redefine yourself: If working out is an important part of your self-image, and it’s suddenly taken away from you, it can take a big toll on your self worth (just look at me). If it’s the only part where you feel confident, it will be even worse.
Therefore it’s important to find meaning in multiple areas of your life. I’m not just the fit girl – I’m also a good friend, dedicated student, loving sister, hard working employee, loyal netflix customer, creative blogger and so on. Especially blogging has been my saviour when it comes to redefining myself.
So when one area of your life starts to fall apart, keep yourself together by finding joy or success elsewhere.
Don’t sit still
Being completely inactive is one the worst things to do to your body. Of course you can’t just pick up where you left before the injury, but everything goes downhill so fast if you spend weeks on the couch.
Whether it’s a 10 minute walk, slowing your running pace, or strength training depends on how severe it is. You just need to do as much as you can without making the injury worse – it will help you recover so much faster.
But of course you still need to:
Listen to your Doctor / PT
Mindblowing advice, I know.
But I also know that physiotherapist often struggle with patients not following the program they’re handed as part of rehabilitation.
Yes, it’s boring. It’s not fun to sit and wiggle your toes when you’re used to running fast and squatting your own body weight. But it’s necessary to start out slow.
Go to gym classes
When I get too bored doing the recovery exercises, I book a gym class instead. It’s easier to stay motivated throughout the workout when you’re part of a class, and helps with accountability too: When there’s a specific time I need to be at the gym, I don’t procrastinate going (and then forget).
Now, the problem with being injured is you can’t just go to any class. I’d love to go to the crossfit classes, but right now I’m doing yoga inspired training along with the program from my PT – and it works really well for me.
If you’re not sure if your body can handle a class, try talking to the instructor beforehand, and quickly explain your situation – just so they know why you stop if you need to. Maybe they can even help you modify the exercises so you can complete the class too!
Practice Self love
Please, don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t step up on the scale, it will do you no good:
- If the number is up, it’s because you’ve gained fat,
- If it’s down it’s because you’ve lost muscle
- If it hasn’t changed, it’s because you’ve gained fat and lost muscle
- or that’s what you think, but change doesn’t happen that fast. Nor is it the end of the world to gain a bit of weight. Please, don’t even give the scale a change to get you down.
Remember, sometimes taking care of your body means exercising – and sometimes it’s resting. Listen to what you’re body is telling you, so you don’t make the injury worse.
It’s fun when everything is going great, but you can learn a lot from the tough times.
Have you ever been injured? What helped you cope? Let me know in the comments!
Stay safe, and take care!