Having an injury and being out of the game is a trying time for an athlete. There are many emotions that you may go through – and reasonably so. What are some healthy ways of managing the frustrations of being injured?
I have had a series of minor leg injuries for the past two years. Anytime I start to get in good shape and get faster, I get hurt. So, I have been so careful. I cross-train and only run on soft surfaces. I don’t push my mileage and speed. Nevertheless, I pulled my hamstring, badly, about a month ago. It was very painful to walk or do anything. Consistently, I wake up at night in so much pain that I felt nauseous.
First, I was angry. I have been going so easy on my body. I didn’t push it, so why am I so injured?!
Then, I was sad. “Maybe this is the end of running for me,” I thought, and think still. Plus, I depend on running for my mental health. What can I do to replace it?
I take my own medicine as a certified mental performance consultant. I work with one of my own, and I try all the techniques I prescribe. I thought about my past injuries and of my clients who have come to me to help manage injuries, and here is what works.
Understand Your Injury
I was angry because I didn’t understand what was happening with my body. I knew what I was unable to do, but I didn’t know what exactly had happened, how long it would take to heal, what I should be doing to help it, etc.
Get a professional opinion. When I was able to get in with a good doctor, then I was able to focus on recovery. I found out that because one leg is slightly shorter than the other, the misalignment has causes these series of injuries. If it weren’t for this one, I would not have seen a doctor and addressed this bigger problem. So, my anger turned to gratitude. I am not severely injured, I will get better, and this injury led me to help.
Focus on What You Can Do
When you understand your injury, you can take a more positive mindset by focusing on what you can do. Your rehabilitation is your new gym time. This may be the time to try something new.
Though I cannot run or walk quickly, I can do yoga. I can run in the pool and swim in the ocean. There are many things I can do that I don’t usually do because of running. Now is a good time to do those things.
There is Support
I work with a certified mental performance consultant and that has helped me to be happy in my sports, especially during this time. Summit Performance Consulting, LLC works with athletes of all levels and ages. Contact us for more information.
There are support groups for injured athletes. Find more resources here.