We all know how tough it is when you’re suddenly struck down with an injury. Daily routine and simple activities (once taken for granted) are now some of the most challenging movements to perform or leave you in constant excruciating pain - sound familiar?
A few buzzwords that come to mind when hearing the word ‘injury’ include multiple swear words as well as frustration, anger, sadness, anxiety and even depression.
For many of us, exercise is not only a physical outlet to help keep our bodies happy and healthy but is also a significant mental escape from the day-to-day stresses of life. Whether it be work, study, relationships, family and everything in between, exercise is crucial for resetting the mind with the sole focus of being in the moment of the workout- a form of meditation, if you will.
So when this freedom to move our bodies is stripped from us suddenly, and our beloved rigid routine feels like a chaotic nightmare, we can feel a loss of identity and completely unmotivated.
That’s why we’ve collated a few useful strategies for mentally coping with an injury that can help you strengthen that mind-muscle of yours (one of the hardest muscles to train but one of the strongest ones in the body).
0.1 Acceptance & Positive Self Talk
It’s essential to allow yourself to be upset during your road to recovery. It’s going to suck, and it’s not going to be easy - that’s okay! This grief is a crucial component to the process of it all; accepting and coming to terms with the position you are in means that you can focus on what it’s going to take to get you back to full health. So, cut yourself some slack for feeling a little sad and sorry for yourself, it’s normal, and it’s healthy. Utilising positive self-talk and affirmations has also been proven as a significant predictor throughout injury recovery. Although it can be challenging, try and find the positives in your day and be kind to yourself when those negative thoughts pop into your head.
02. Embracing The Power Of Rest
For many of us, feeling unproductive is sometimes more excruciating than the injury itself. And resting can feel like the ultimate level of counterproductivity. However, if you think of it in terms of recovery, resting is, in fact, the peak form of productivity. Allowing your body the time to heal uninterrupted is what your body is craving in time of injury. Muscle fibres, tendons, ligaments, whatever the damage, needs time to repair without stress. If you can keep your mind occupied and entertained, then you’re halfway there.
03. Start Small: Set Simple, Realistic Goals
Keep a journal or simply just a blank piece of paper, maybe even an online document, a place where you can jot down your feelings, thoughts and even track your progress. If you struggle to say it, then write it; getting it physically out is excellent for relieving built-up stress and frustration. Setting small goals each week can help you feel accomplished and proactive during this process. Whether it be exercise-related goals such as walking for a certain amount of time or starting to lift lighter weights again - any goal achieved will feel amazing. It is important to note that you should consult with your healthcare professional as you progress throughout your recovery - the last thing you want to do is push those boundaries a little too far and find yourself back to square one.
04. Recovery Is The New Training
Rehabilitation is now your new training, so focusing on a rehab routine can be a great way to ease yourself back into it all slowly. The more you commit yourself to your rehab (and those sometimes annoying stretches), the more likely you’re going to come back strong and hopefully before you know it. Concentrating on what you can control throughout your recovery will help you with your new reality. This includes managing your rehab, maintaining fuel for your body, making sure you’re still eating well and drinking plenty of water.
05. Meditation And Visualisation
Meditation isn’t for everyone; however, even just sitting still (or trying to) and focusing the mind on the breath is proven to calm the nervous system and reduce stress. Any reduction of stress can help alleviate some of the mental frustration associated with your injury. Meditation can also give you a greater sense of control which is a crucial factor that you will likely search for throughout your recovery. In addition, the use of healthy imagery and visualisation has also proven to help athletes during their rehabilitation process as it’s a distraction away from direct pain and induces generalised relaxation. Don’t know what visualisation is? All good, we have done the heavy lifting for you, so have a read here.
06. Try to Stay Social
Isolating yourself during this process won’t be beneficial for your mental health and well being. Telling your friends and family can help you to not only talk about what you’re personally going through, but it allows them the opportunity to track, make accountable and check-in with you along the way.
07. Be open to support
Reaching out for help is often one of the most challenging steps to self-improvement of any kind. If you’re struggling with the reality of dealing with your injury, then you should never be ashamed to reach out for some professional help. Below are some helpful online resources that are free and easy to access (Australia):
It’s important to note that while it may suck a lot in the interim, it’s also essential to keep in mind that injury is only temporary. So while it may be extremely challenging at the moment, it will improve with the correct amount of time and recovery recommended by a healthcare professional.
08. Be Comfortable
While you're chilling and letting yourself mend and recover, you’re going to want to be extra comfortable during this time. Here at Ryderwear, we have you covered in the comfort department. Check out our extensive off duty essentials and active loungewear pieces available for both men and women.