Recovering from Sports Injuries: How to Cope

Courage. Mental Strength. Patience. Hope.

These are all words I hear and read when looking for anything to help me out of this injury darkness. Three weeks of no physical activity and the physical aches that come with being sedentary and immobile are taking their toll. I went from averaging 90 minutes of moderate-intense physical activity a day to nothing. Suddenly, the very difficult year I’ve been managing has become overwhelming and I can feel depression trying to take over.

I’m sure these are not unfamiliar feelings for anyone who has had to endure a recovery process. But where and how does one find courage, strength, patience and hope? Here are some of the ways I am trying to stay positive that may help you too:

-Create a support network – and ASK for help. Your support network could be friends, family, exercise buddies, teammates, or even physical and rehabilitation therapists. Surround yourself with the people who will be your sounding board, a shoulder to lean on, your motivation and, sometimes, your housekeepers! This emotional and physical support can lend itself to a faster recovery.

-Find an activity to nourish your brain and fill your time. Try something you’ve always wanted to try: start a blog or other writing, finish a needle-point or knitting project you keep meaning to pick up, finally take a stab at The New York Times Crossword Puzzle – the Sunday edition! And hey, there’s no better excuse to read a good book all day long. This could be a good time to catch up on personal or household projects you haven’t have time to focus on.

-Learn as much as you can about the injury, and the rehabilitation options. It’s another good coping mechanism and a way to occupy your mind. Ask a lot of questions of your providers, trainers and others around you who may have had similar injuries. Having as much information about how you injured yourself also can help you to correct mistakes and reduce your risk for future injuries.

-Find something positive you can return to, whether this is a particular quote or mantra, a motivational speaking or even a card or letter from someone that lifts your spirit. Keeping your brain sharp with positive thoughts can help you project an attitude of recovery.

It’s hard to feel like you are in control when you are not doing the activities you want to do, but you ARE in control. You determine your recovery process and pace. It’s another challenge in the fitness/training/weight loss process and another opportunity to learn about your body and plan for how to prevent future injuries. For many of us, especially those of us who live alone, reaching out and asking for help is the hardest step, but also the most important. Isolation and loneliness can increase feelings of depression and anxiety, which can prolong recovery.

Finally, we need to remember to treat ourselves gently and with love: “What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise” -Oscar Wilde.

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One Response to “Recovering from Sports Injuries: How to Cope”

  1. Kare says:

    This is awesome, Reema. Hang in there!

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