All athletes experience injuries from time to time. But the thought of being injured, and taking time out from our sport, often evokes a hell of a lot of frustration, self-doubt, and anxiety. So, besides the obvious physical pain, we are left feeling heart broken and a little bit empty, torn away from our love affair by shin splints.
There are plenty of incredibly useful articles out there about how to physically recover from sports injuries; from stretching to strengthening techniques, icing to elevated resting. Many of which, have helped me restore my injured legs and come back to the game stronger than ever.
But, there is little out there that offers support with the emotional side of injury and recovery. I often get asked how I cope with the times when my heart is telling me yes, but my legs are telling me NO! And in all honesty, I struggle. A stream of negative thoughts permeate my conscience and it can be tricky not to let these criticisms and fears take over. Will I get slower? Will I lose the tone in my muscles? Will I fall out of love with running?All of which are of course utter nonsense!
These past few years I’ve discovered some real saving graces, through trial and error, and I would love to use this post as an opportunity to share some wisdom and self-love with you.
ONE: Firstly, I cannot stress enough how important it is to lay a strong foundation of self-love. See resting as a form of looking after yourself, as opposed to being lazy. By resting in the present you are investing in your future as an athlete. You work so hard all the time, taking a week out will not make you weaker or slower. I promise.
TWO: Set positive affirmations. It may seem cheesey but our bodies do so much for us and sometimes we just need to remind ourselves of how incredible we are! Don’t be afraid to say it aloud!
THREE: Remember that the amount of exercise you do does NOT define you! You are so much more than how many kg’s you can dead lift, or how many miles you run a week.
FOUR: Use the time out to discover some of your other talents. Maybe you’re a secret pianist? But you just never knew it because you spend all your time at the gym. How sad!
FIVE: Yoga! Practising daily will help you both mentally and physically. Whilst stretching and strengthening tired muscles, you’ll also find that yoga helps to keep you calm – even if it’s just because it helps you to feel like you’re still moving everyday. (Something I personally still battle with) Find a local class or try out a YouTube video. Erin Motz and Charlie Morgan are two of my favourites.
Sadly there are no magic fixes, and often doctors orders of complete rest are exactly what we need. But I hope that these little tips remind you that injured or not, you are more than enough! I will never apologise for preaching the self-love message and neither should you.
Let honesty open your heart.
Lots of love,