Aches, pain, discomfort, and soreness are all parts of being an athlete. But beyond the physical limitations, injury also takes a mental toll. If you’re in a predicament where you can’t train the way you want to, it’s easy to get down and frustrated. You can become more stressed about all of the uncontrollable factors and you can become agitated and unmotivated.
During a season of injury you may feel like you’ve lost a sense of identity, a source of positive esteem and a source of stress relief. This is completely normal for athletes, the key is being aware of your mental state, and making the appropriate changes to improve.
- Sense of Identity – It may be hard to sit on the sidelines or watch other people do the things you used to be able to. You may feel like you just don’t have a purpose if you’re not training how you’re used to. You have many other roles, and you are far more than just an athlete.
- Source of Positive Self-Esteem – Fitness and sport make us feel great. We often have feelings of confidence and positivity when we are finished with training, a game or competition. Spend time doing other things that give you some positive feedback.
- Source of Stress-Relief – You may feel more stressed because of the predicament you are in and all of the factors that you couldn’t control relating to your injury. Also, since you can’t work out like you want to, you don’t have your normal outlet. You have to find another positive way to relieve your stress.
Each day that you wake up, you may begin to assess your injury and think through how “bad” it is. But, then it’s key to remind yourself of all that IS feeling well. Think through all the strengths that you still have, all that you still can do, and all the aspects of your health that you’re thankful for.
You must focus on doing what you can, with what physical ability and blessings you have on THAT day (which may be different from yesterday or tomorrow). Remember, you’re not guaranteed anything, so it’s very important to do the best you can at any given moment.
14 Ways To Keep A Strong Mindset While You Overcome Injury
- Pick up an old or a new hobby. Something that is not related to your sport or training. This may be something you’ve put in the backseat for a while or a brand new hobby.
- Make relationships with others who are rehabbing or having the same type of setback. Build your network so that you feel supported through your journey.
- Find a way to share what you have learned by going through this pain, suffering or change. You can do this with your social media, on a message board or just in your daily conversations with others.
- Cry, throw a tantrum and be upset. Let it out, especially to your support team. It is imperative that you voice your emotions as part of dealing with your injury or sickness.
- Seek care and treatment. Pursue the right care. Never stop finding a way to improve your day-to-day condition.
- Find a new stress-release. Often times, fitness is where we blow off steam. You have to find something else that restores and rejuvenates you. Pray, yoga, meditate, read, spend time in nature or make music.
- Get physically good at something else. If you’re leg is out of commission, build your upper body by working on pull-ups, dips and heavy presses. Become a better swimmer if you can. If you’re unable to use your body at all, you might want to focus on learning a new language, or picking up another new skill.
- Make goals. It doesn’t matter how small they are. Work to increase your range of motion or stamina in rehab. Pick something that you currently struggle with and make some achievable goals.
- Spend more time doing something else you are good at or passionate about. You need to continue to do things that bring you positive feedback and self-confidence.
- Don’t compare yourself to your old self or everyone around you. You are you, today. A person who is fully capable of doing what you can, right now, to maintain or improve your condition
- Write things down (therapy appointments, workouts, thoughts, etc.), so that you can see, feel and reflect on your growth, both physically and mentally.
- Search for success stories, not horror stories about others who have been in a similar predicament and overcame or found the silver lining.
- Hire a coach. Start to work with someone who can work with you on creating and monitoring goals and redefining your mission. This person will encourage you grow and improve physically and mentally.
- Prioritize being positive and focusing on what you can control. You can look at your injury as a chance, or a blessing in disguise, that you can spend more time on something else you’ve been neglecting. Since you can’t always control the injury itself, you can control your response to how you want to cope with it.
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