Getting injured is never fun. A simple misstep can turn a year’s worth of training and preparation on its head and leave you sidelined for months. If you’re an athlete, you may know very well the long term consequences and potential pitfalls of getting injured, but you don’t have to be an athlete to suffer from an injury.
Whether you’re a die-hard marathoner or a lazy home-body, getting injured can flip your life upside down and change everything. The trick is getting through the healing process and getting back to normal, right? -Wrong!
1. Accept your injury
The reality is that you simply won’t, “get back to normal.” In just about all walks of life, injuries are game-changers. They will change the way you treat your body, the way your sleep, your level of activity, and the list goes on. Getting back to normal shouldn’t be your goal when starting out -it should be to accept your new normal and move forward from there.
The reality is that once you’ve injured something, you’re more susceptible to re-injure the same thing, so everything about your life will need to shift in order to prevent that from happening. -That’s the new normal.
A great way to help cope with your new normal is to learn everything you possibly can about it. Become an expert on your injury, the healing process, and everything you can do to help things along. This will not only impress your doctor and physical therapist -it will also keep your mind active and give you an outlet for positive personal growth. So when you meet someone going through the same thing you went through, you’re ready to offer advice!
2. Use your new normal to pursue non-physical goals
If you’re stuck in bed due to your injury, use the time to accomplish other intellectual goals that might’ve taken a back seat in the past. Don’t waste away in front of a Netflix series -by all means, relax and rest, but challenging your mind on a daily basis will only make recovery more productive!
Break out those old test prep books you gave up on, or get ahead on some homework. Your injury might physically hold you back, but it doesn’t have to trap your mind too!
3. Eat right
Eating right is one of the most important aspects to any healthy lifestyle, but when you’re recovering from an injury, it’s especially important. When your body is making serious repairs to bones, torn ligaments, and other damaged soft tissues, it needs all the nutrients it can get, so you need to be extra mindful of what you’re eating.
Foods high in lean protein will help your body maintain muscle mass during the less-active recovery process, and ensuring you get plenty of vitamins and minerals will provide the tools necessary for efficient recovery.
Some particularly important nutrients include Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D/Calcium. These nutrients will help keep inflammation at bay so you can heal faster.
Inflammation makes it more difficult for your body to deliver fresh oxygen and nutrients to the affected area, so minimizing it will help you heal faster. Taking NSAIDs and other conventional anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals may help reduce inflammation, but there are other, more effective (and natural) ways to help your body heal.
Consult with a medical marijuana doctor to learn the best way to manage pain and inflammation caused by your injury -just avoid the cannabis brownies!
4. Do what you can to stay active
In many cases, you’ll feel like staying active is no longer an option. It’s easy to feel like an injury has knocked you completely out of the game, but reality says differently. There’s almost always something you can do to stay active, whether it’s overhead claps in a wheelchair or a walk down the hallway and back.
Consult with your doctor or physical therapist to see what exercises you can safely do. If you start a physical therapy program, you’ll have things to do at home, so make sure you stick to your therapist’s plan and take things one day at a time!
Staying physically active is important when you’re healthy, but it’s even more important when you’re recovering from an injury, so get moving! -Carefully
5. Take it one day at a time
Broken bones don’t heal overnight. Your injury will take time to heal. Some days you might feel like you’ll be stuck this way forever, so you need to have some patience with your body and with the healing process.
If you don’t feel good today, that’s okay. You’re allowed to have bad days! Just be kind and patient with yourself. Cry if you need to -you’re only human. Scream into a pillow if it helps, but always remind yourself that no matter how bad you feel, you’re on the way toward getting better.
Healing from an injury can be a long and emotional process, but if you follow these five tips, you’ll be well on your way to staying positive and getting back out there stronger than ever!