As much as on the surface level it absolutely sucks balls, being injured is likely to be an opportunity for you to grow. Injuries create limitations on our beings that allow us to be more creative within those confines. For me it’s been a whiplash that has lasted coming up 9 months, this meant that I could not get overly excited without hurting my neck. If I got angry I had to breathe through it, and wait it out, if I got sad I had to breathe and relax into it without curling up, it has meant that I have had to cultivate an inner strength that I did not know I had.
Any athlete that has been injured knows that it is a psychological game as much as a physical one. Letting go of those previous PR’s in order to recover is tough, having to rest completely – even tougher. It is the game of wanting so badly to get out in that game, but knowing that if you do, then it will only get worse.
Here are some tools that have helped me so far along my recovery journey:
- Meditation – How you feel isn’t a reliable indicator of your health. Behaviour and expression are much more reliable benchmarks to work from. If you can relax and observe these, then not only will you be able calm the body by calming the mind (decreasing your likely-hood of re-injury, and increasing your recovery speed), but you will be able to get an idea as to the sensible and mindful limits that your body is comfortable operating in at that moment in time, regardless of how you are ‘feeling.’
- Sleep – This is when you are truly recovering, rebuilding those damaged tissues. Sleep regular hours. I try to sleep 10:30 – 7.30. But truly in your heart of hearts, you know how much sleep you perform best on.
- Hydration – Most people are dehydrated, and hydrating yourself adequately is going to do more for your healing, psychological and physical health than you know. Soothe yourself with a glass of water or a cup of fruit tea, not coffee.
- Do things that keep your spirits high. (but not those that overexert you or overexcite you. If you’re hoping to heal quickly without re-injuring yourself, then mindfulness is your friend here.)
- Move – Mindful movement, and low intensity movement are going to stretch and challenge those damaged tissues. They will regenerate with time if you treat them well. Again, you know how much exercise you are best on in that moment. Treat yourself carefully, I’d recommend exercising on regular hours if possible to help psychologically. (best to see a specific sports therapist of your choosing for this one depending on your injury for the specific movements).
An injury is a portal for you to discover new strength in other areas of your life. Your inner strength might have needed an upgrade or a path correction. Treat your injuries like reminders to stay conscious.
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