A few months ago I wrote about turning a rejection into one of the most positive experiences of my life (and why I’m able to write this blog!). Turns out that wasn’t the only experience I would have on this journey that would need reframing. I’m writing this from my couch where my foot is currently elevated and being iced. Ugh. Here’s the deal. I’m recovering from a sports injury that has rendered me unable to workout, unable to move forward physically (and mentally to a degree), and forced me to sit my injured ass down on the couch, abandoning my carefully curated workout routine.
I have a heel spur that has literally knocked me off of my feet. The old me would have bulldozed through this injury or given up completely. Instead of pushing through this injury and hurting myself further, I took a moment to look inside. What is my body trying to tell me? I didn’t listen to my body for my entire life and it led to a severe burnout that has taken me years to recover. Learning how to listen to my body has become a crucial bit of change that I am accepting one day at a time and even finding myself enjoying.
I took this opportunity to explore the message that my body is giving me which can be hard because, at my core, I’m a woman of action.I’m a doer. I get satisfaction from checking things off my to-do list. The doctor told me I had to rest my foot for 4-12 months. Surprisingly, my first thought when I received the diagnosis was that now I have time to start practicing yoga, meditation and keeping a daily journal. These are items I’ve been wanting to add to my self-care routine and just “can’t” seem to find the time!
How A Sports Injury Turned Chronic Injury Went Ignored
I know. All the blogs I’ve written about my experience of listening to my body and trusting myself again and learning to be attuned to my health and physical well being, all of it. All of it changed when I realized that the chronic pain in my foot that I’d been ignoring, sort of, needed much more attention and wasn’t so dull or aching anymore. Getting up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night forced me to hold onto the bed and wall as I majorly limped to the bathroom.
I’ve always had chronic plantar fasciitis that finally turned into a heel spur. The prognosis? For now, I have to wear tennis shoes with specially made insoles, while I also practice a regimen of stretches, exercises.
It sucks. And it’s also humbling. It’s not like I threw out my back (which I’ve done) or that I have a torn ligament (also done) or broke a bone (knock on wood, never done). At its core, the heel spur is a super simple injury. But it is incredibly painful!
So here I sit.
But really, I can’t JUST sit here. I am determined to move forward, even if I’m not physically able to move in the way I would like. That is why I’m writing this blog.
How a Sports Injury Affects Mental Health
This article featured on the NCAA website goes into great detail about the mental repercussions of dealing with a physical injury.
Ultimately, injury can impose many of the same symptoms that I experienced when I went through burnout. Particularly challenging was having spent the better part of a year (and more) training, getting healthier and building up my strength in mind and body. Choosing to heal instead of working out, at least in the traditional ways I’d become accustomed…was making me feel pretty bummed out.
I had to force myself to be gentle to permit myself to rest so that I could recover.
The Unplanned Side Effects of a Sports Injury Setback
The biggest challenge of this new chapter in my journey of health and wellness is how laughable it all is at times. I have to take it easy for an indeterminate amount of time. For many other injuries, a person can throw on a brace or grab some crutches and still hobble around. Some people may even be able to continue working out if it’s an arm or even a finger! But your foot? I never realized how much I depended on this small appendage until I injured it!
How My Recovery is Changing Me for the Better
My focus has changed as a result of this injury. I’m focusing on more gentle ways to take care of my body. Yoga, water aerobics, swimming, strength training have been useful and beneficial. Also, I have a lot more time for meditation and journaling.
Even though I enjoy the forced break this has created, I really miss my workouts and more than anything, I miss walking my dogs!
How Being a Health and Wellness Coach is Informing My Recovery
I walk the walk and have always sought out the support of professionals in the form of coaches to help me through various parts of my journey. Now as a coach, I have a specific and perspective on what it is like to struggle with chronic pain and injuries that require a certain amount of attention and focus.
While I’ll likely be able to do everything I enjoy doing again eventually, I’ll have to adjust how I do it and take care of the injury after a particularly intense workout.
Now, with my training, I know that maintenance between flare-ups is essential. And it’s something I intend to utilize with my clients as well. My recovery is a daily practice and it’s helping me to be more mindful and make informed choices about my movement. You could equate it to mindful eating as well, it’s not an automatic motion. Instead, now when I move I do so with intention and with my long term recovery in mind.
Are you recovering from an injury? Tell me about it in the comments below!