Returning to sport after an injury sucks. You never know whether you're coming back too soon. You're absolutely terrified of hurting yourself again and starting from scratch. Your confidence is half of what it used to be. And you know that not returning to sport can lead to unnecessary de-conditioning. Top that with the fact that you look and seem completely normal, especially to strangers, but you're not. And your abilities are not yet what they used to be.
Take it from me, I hurt my ankle 10 weeks ago while mountain biking and am still dealing with the repercussions. While it's a lot better than it was, it's still not 100%. As a snowboarder, I know that one slip up, one bad fall and I'm risking my whole season. I'm not able to ride yet like I used to and I don't know when I will. Forget progression, I'm still working on getting back to the old me. Sometimes I feel like returning to sport is the hardest part of an injury. You're anxious to get back out there. You're often in denial. You're able to play, but not at a level that satisfies the athlete in you.
So while I can't promise you that it will be easy, here are 7 ways you can help smoothen the transition:
- Keep at it hard. In other words, don't stop doing your physio! Keep active as much as you can; this will expedite your healing process. Exercise helps to flush toxins and improves our circulation among thousands of other benefits. Eat as healthy as you can and fill your diet with natural anti-inflammatories like turmeric, green leafy vegetables, celery, broccoli, blueberries, etc. Some injuries can take up to 6+ months to heal. Don't slow the process now because you think you're "done".
- Stay positive AF. No one likes a debbie downer and remember that everyone takes their turn in the injured seat. You're not the first one to get hurt and you won't be the last. Staying positive will not only let you enjoy your time more, but it will actually help you heal faster, too! Try my healing meditation here.
- Listen to your body. Continuously check in with yourself and pay attention to pain. Pain is a sign that something is wrong. If you're experiencing pain, especially in the injured area, you may not be ready yet. Respect yourself enough to back off.
- Don't compare your injury to other people's. Just like every person is unique, so is every body, so is every injury. Comparison can sometimes cause you to return to sport too early or get you feeling down on yourself. This is unnecessary. Focus solely on how you can make your situation better.
- Remember that everything happens for a reason. Hard to wrap your head around sometimes, especially when you're injured. But believe it or not, this is where you're meant to be. Trust that. Trust in the bigger picture. Also, remember that progression isn't always linear. Practice big trust.
- Pick up a new hobby. Learn to play the guitar or reignite your passion for art. Use this time of healing for something bigger than just Netflix + chill. Get in touch with a side of you you haven't seen in a while. This can be a great opportunity if you're willing to expand your horizons a bit.
- Take it one day at a time. Don't trip up thinking about the whole season. Spinning out is only ever going to slow down the healing process. Take it one day at a time. Be grateful for where you are and what you can do today. Every day is better than the last.
And when in doubt, reach out to your friends and family. We all need help from time to time. Having a support network is invaluable. That said, if you ever need help or a friend to talk to, let me know. I'm here for you guys.
I love you!!