from the blog.

An athlete lying on the floor of a tennis court

4 Tips to Mentally Deal With a Sports Injury

Recently, I have had to go through another recovery period thanks to a reoccurring back injury. Many people will feel my (literal) pain here and understand how physically and mentally demanding a side-lining injury like this is.

Outside of work, I’m pretty active; I play golf, cycle, walk a lot, attend weekly body pump sessions, and generally move about quite a bit. But my day job is just about as sedentary as it gets. I work at a desk from 9-5.30 every day, and quite simply, we’re just not meant to be in the sitting position for this amount of time!

Plenty of people can do a sitting job all day with no issues, but, and I will admit it is partly my own fault, my posture gets slack, or I sit in odd positions, which eventually led to a relapse with my back injury.

It’s not until you’re flat out on the sofa and it takes five minutes to manoeuvre yourself off just to do something that would usually take a few moments, like going to the toilet or changing the series you’re watching on Netflix. Dealing with the physical pain of the injury is difficult, but coping with the immense frustration of having not being able to be active when you are that type of person can be a serious strain mentally too.

Luckily, I am back at it now after some intensive rehab sessions, physio and sports massages to aid my recovery. If you’ve suffered a side-lining injury and you’re finding it tricky to deal with, I’ve got some helpful pointers you can use to ease the process.

See the Good in Your Setback

A positive quote in graffiti on a door

You might be thinking this is a pretty silly thing to start with, but in actual fact, during an injury recovery period, you can find the opportune time to build on improving weaknesses, whatever they may be.

Use the free time to work out what they are if you aren’t too sure. If you’re stuck with little mobility, then you can write down the things you think brought about the injury and then do some research on prevention in future.


Stay Mobile

A girl riding a bike in a field

Obviously, this depends on the type of injury you have picked up, but if you are able to then try doing some light conditioning work to keep your body mobile. You can also do some stretching, go for walks, or isolate certain muscles to work out while you recover.

Low-impact activities are advisable such as swimming, cycling and Pilates. Remember that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. It’s worth seeking professional advice before cracking on with an activity; you never know what extra damage it could be doing.

Crucially, physical activity gives us a feeling of happiness, releases pent-up frustration and will help your transition into normal exercise and daily living once you’re injury free.


Keep Your Mind Busy

Someone enjoying some quiet time as the sun goes down

There’s nothing worse than sitting there stewing over what you’ve done, whether that’s on purpose or accidentally because it only makes things worse. Injuries happen; they happen to everyone from elite level athletes to the day-to-day keep-fit kings and queens like you and me.

Sometimes, when you’re into something so much you can forget that you enjoyed doing something else. For example, you could be into gardening, so why not cruise on down to the garden centre and pick out some new flowers to pot at home? I loved going for strolls along the coastal paths until I got heavily into other activities, so as part of some previous rehab, I went for non-undulating walks and took in the scenery before stopping off at a local café for a coffee.

My back injury took its toll this time around, so I was bed and sofa-bound, but that isn’t the end of the world because you certainly should be getting plenty of rest, too. This will help the recovery process and tiredness which is always worse when you’re injured.


Think Positive Thoughts Only!

A positive message on a piece of paper

An injury can seriously knock you back mentally. All the things that exercise rids you of, like frustration, low self-esteem, and being body conscious can creep back in. Don’t let it though! Just remind yourself of the points above and also that this injury – hopefully – isn’t forever, and you will come back from it soon.

If you need to read up on positive mental attitude to help you through, then include it in the recovery process; it’s all a learning curve, right? Being around positive people always helps too, so steer clear of your friends and family who bring the mood down until you’re back to being 100% and able to brush off the negativity with your usual positive outlook!

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