If you are like most people, you are, unfortunately, likely to encounter an injury or major setback even if you live within your comfort zone. I can tell you this from my own personal experience since I've had my share of injures and setbacks. I wouldn't attribute any of these to being negligent with my training regimen, but, rather, to mere life circumstances. The reality is that we don't control everything around us. Although I've had the bad fortune of having had many bodily challenges including two Cesarean sections, a torn ACL, a broken foot (twice), a fractured hand, a torn wrist ligament (twice), and two head injuries (that must explain a lot about me... LOL), I have had the good fortune of recovering from all of them relatively quickly. Luckily the training I do helped me rehab these injuries and keep me sane while recovering. These setbacks occurred from life events that were not training related. In fact, if I hadn't been so strong from my training, these injuries would have truly sucked.
The major question is, how can we learn from our injuries? How can we get stronger regardless of our new limitations?
First off, focus on what you can do. This allows you to get extremely creative. Your mind set will shift from the negative to the positive as soon as you focus on the can do's. For example rather than dwelling on the fact that your knee is inflamed and now you have to stay away from squats of all kinds for a while, focus, instead, on all the amazing things you can improve. For example, it's time to get those pull-up numbers up. Or maybe one leg push-ups? You'd be best off going to someone who specializes in working around injuries to provide a fulfilling workout and to someone who has experience along with a good track record rehabilitating injuries.
Learn something new. After I tore my ACL I had to stop Krav Maga right away. However, instead of crying about it, I decided to research and learn how to rehabilitate my knee injury without following the commonly suggested ACL reconstructive surgery. Not everyone will nerd out like I did, after all this is my profession.
Pick up a new hobby that enhances and exercises your mind. Spending time releasing tension in a different way from what you are used to can be a good change of pace for your psyche. Great options if your'e body needs to rest are: learning a new language, playing an instrument, taking an art class, sewing, and baking; the sky is truly the limit. Get your creative juices flowing stronger than ever and you won't be sorry.
Spend time helping someone else. Rather than sitting on the couch, feeling sorry for yourself, do your best to inspire or help someone in need. Helping others is the best way to get out of your own head. It's very easy to become self absorbed and play "the poor me" record during this time. Do yourself a favor and make a list of the positives. Then share this information with a good friend. Once you put a smile on someone else's face, you will find that you already feel stronger and studies show that a strong mind will promote faster healing!
Adjust your goals. Goal setting is key for recovering from an injury. When I tore my ACL, I worked on my pull-ups which became super strong. I don't think my pull-ups would be as polished as they are now if I hadn't gone through an ACL tear. Another example is that when I had a fracture in my hand, my one leg squats, which were very weak at the time, became very strong. I also became very empathetic to people with weak and painful wrists. This led to my coming up with all kinds of great ways to do push-ups with neutral wrists due to wrist and hand injuries of my own. As a coach, experiencing an array of injuries allows me to know first hand what it takes to get yourself through and to be empathetic to others. What a gift I tell myself! At the time I may have spoken some words that I wouldn't have said in front of my kids, but now I look at each of my injuries as a blessing in disguise. As a gift that was given to me to give me a lesson. To educate myself and pay it forward time after time. I have to admit that each injury I've had has had a positive ending. We obviously can't say this for all injuries.
Hopefully this blog post sheds some light on how to make an injury not suck so much!
Now focus on being patient, allowing your set back or injury to heal properly, while strengthening other areas!
Feel free to share how you came back stronger in the comments below.