Keeping your spirits up when you’re injured is the toughest part of being an athlete.
A Sports Injury is an athlete’s worst nightmare. What could be worse than something that keeps you off your feet and away from your beloved training sessions? While the physical aspects of injury are rough, the mental aspects can be even harder to deal with. If you’ve ever had shin splints, plantar fasciitis, a stress fracture, or even a blister that kept you out of the game for just a day or two, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Fight the Injury Blues and Come Back Better than Ever
1. Don’t Place Blame
Blaming yourself or others for an injury only harbors negativity. Injuries happen to everyone, from Olympic athletes to couch potatoes. Changing the past is impossible, but changing the present to make a better future is totally in your hands. Get your mind out of what’s already happened and focus on what needs to happen right now for you to get back to 100% as soon as possible. The blame game is for preteens and… that’s it.
2. Stay Positive
Positivity is your most powerful tool for recovery. This is what will keep you going when it doesn’t seem like you’ll ever heal. You can start with small thoughts, even if you laugh at yourself in the beginning. By thinking “it’s good that I can’t run this morning because the new season of F1 just came out on Netflix!” you’ll get yourself though the next few hours, and eventually those thoughts will morph into “it’s good that I can’t run because I’ll really appreciate it when I get back into to it.” By thinking positively, you can start to distance yourself from your injury, put things into perspective and begin to relax into your downtime like you really should.
This is by far the most difficult part of being injured, and I hate to be the one to tell you this, but take it easy! In most cases, the first few days of an injury are the most important for recovery. Ensure that you can return to the sport you love by giving your body time to fix itself. Bones, muscle, tendons and tissue heal, but they need rest, nutrients, and time. That last one is super important: Time. Talk to a healthcare professional about your specific injury, and the amount of off time you’ll need to recover fully. Be sure to ask about specific exercises and movements, and if they have any other restrictions and advice for you.
Just because you’re injured doesn’t mean you’re sentenced to bedrest. Many healthcare professionals actually recommend movement as a way to increase blood flow to injured tissue and speed up healing.* Try things you may not usually do, maybe swimming (use a pull buoy for lower body injuries), gentle yoga, lifting weights and light resistance cycling to get you off the couch and keep you strong. Remember to listen to your body and your doctor, take it slow and easy.
Once you get through this (you will get through it I swear!) you’ll be back and better than ever, with an increased understanding of your personal weaknesses as well as your strengths.
*Always consult a preferred healthcare professional before beginning any exercise program, especially after sustaining an injury.