How To Cope With An Injury
Tomorrow will be 5 weeks that I’ve been sidelined from a stress fracture in my foot.
I have a follow up appointment tomorrow and will find out what the next few weeks hold in terms of wearing a boot, healing, and exercise. I’ve been in this injury situation before and although I don’t like it, I know it’s important for me to slow down and let my body heal so that I can get back to doing what I love.
In reflecting over the past month, I wanted to share some of the things that have helped me. I’d like to add “go on a week long writing retreat” (recap coming Wednesday), but that may not be for everyone, so I’ll just leave it with these. If you’ve ever struggled with an injury, let me know some of your coping strategies in the comments!
This is a big one for me. When I’m injury free and working out 5 days a week, I can be more lenient in what I eat (hello donuts!). Now that it’s been about 5 weeks that I’ve been in my boot, I’m starting to realize that dropping down to exercising 2 days a week means that the donuts might need to be more of a weekly thing instead of an “every few days” thing.
Being unable to perform at the same activity level means that you need to pay attention to your meals throughout the day. You may need to eat less or change the types of food you’re eating. Because I believe in balance and I’ve had issues with eating and exercise in the past, I’m always very pro-foods that I want to eat, e.g., donuts, ice cream, etc. While I still believe you shouldn’t deny yourself these things, it really is about moderation and right now I need to be moderating just a bit more. 🙂
Do something different (if you can)
With this foot injury, there’s still plenty of different exercise options that I can do. There’s low-impact exercise like swimming, yoga, and Pilates, but honestly I don’t really love any of those. Because of that, I have only been doing what I can at Crossfit, but there’s still the possibility of other ways to move should I elect to do them.
When I hurt my back, however, there was very little I could do because virtually everything aggravated the injury. Similarly, people who have undergone surgery may be more limited in what options they have. If your injury allows you to adapt and exercise in a different way, try branching out. You never know what you may enjoy that you may not have tried if it weren’t for injury.
Think of the positives
I was seriously bummed out when I was told I needed to wear a boot for over a month. Whenever I’m faced with situations like this, rather than sit and wallow in them, I try and find something positive to take away. In this situation, here’s what I came up with:
- I can work on my upper body strength, which has never been a favorite of mine. I’m now able to string together more pull ups than I could previously.
- I can give my body (not just my foot) a chance to rest so that when I come back, it is ready and repaired.
- I can sleep in on more days and spend time with Donut.
Find a new interest
This isn’t saying that you’ll never go back to exercising, but having some more free time allows you the ability to look for a new hobby or something that may interest you. I know for me, I’ve been able to sleep longer in the morning, which means I can stay up a little later at night and read — something that I LOVE but don’t always have the time for.
Try to stay away from things associated with the exercise you can no longer do. For example, if you love running and are unable to do it, reading or watching documentaries about running will only remind you of what you can’t do. Try to think outside the exercise box and see what you can come up with.