I think it was Jane Austen who said, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an exercise enthusiast in possession of good health must eventually injure himself.” Or something like that.
The point is, we all get injured. Our doctors or surgeons or physical therapists work hard to fix our bodies, but during the In Between you’re all alone.
To eat five pints of ice cream because everyone else went to the gym and you’re stuck on the couch and, really, you deserve it after that injury.
To secretly hate bloggers who are running marathons that YOU SHOULD BE RUNNING.
You should know this is normal. (So is declaring one of the following: “My life is over!” or “Go on without me! I’ll never make it with this torn ligament” or “Plantar fasciitis is ruining my life!”)
I’m pretty sure you want to avoid sitting on the couch and weeping atThe Last Song for the rest of your life, so here are some tips for recovering from an injury without going insane.
1. Do what exercise you can.You can’t move your left leg because of that totally annoying cast. So skip cardio and lower-body exercises and work your arms. You probably don’t want to hear this, but you can do ab work, too. Or if you’ve injured your arm or chest or whatnot, strength train your legs.
2. You can always stretch. I mean, it’s not a hard-core workout, but when you can’t do anything else it’ll at least keep you limber. Besides, plenty of injuries use stretching in the recovery process. (You are doing your physical therapy stretches at home, right?)
3. Resist the temptation to gorge on junk. I’ll admit, when you’re injured and A. pissed off about it or B. completely depressed, chocolate and cupcakes and gooey nachos start looking really good. Go ahead and give in after you get the bad news. I mean, you deserve it at least once. But after that, try to get plenty of fruits and veggies, which may aid your body in recovery.
4. Rent a few comedies. So you’re couch bound. Make the most of it by watching movies that will take your mind off of the injury. If you’re badly injured and sidelined for a while, rent a TV series to work through. (May I suggest Lost?) It’ll distract you from the hopelessness or frustration you might be feeling.
5. Be realistic. If you aim to be back to normal in a week, you’re going to be sorely disappointed when it takes three or four. Here’s the thing guys: Every body heals differently. Don’t measure your progress based on how long other people took to recover. Your physical therapist or doctor should be able to tell you how long your recovery might take.
6. Stop torturing yourself. Now that your dream of running in this month’s marathon has been ripped to shreds (kind of like your tendon), you’re seeing marathon news everywhere. It seems like EVERY BLOGGER ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH is running a marathon. Everyone but you, of course. Listen, watching others live your dream while you’re stuck doing leg raises in physical therapy can make the crazy even crazier. If reading certain blogs or websites or magazines make you depressed or angry, just stop. They’ll be there when you’re better.
For those of you dealing with a chronic injury, I have three tips:
1. Keep hope.
2. Don’t bottle your frustrations, anger, resentment, or fear.
3. If you eat chocolate and nobody’s looking, it doesn’t count.
Oh, and if you’ve never had an injury, imagine me sticking my tongue out at you. I mean that in the nicest, sweetest way possible.
Tracey from I’m (not) Superhumanhas had chronic knee pain for 6 years and was recently diagnosed with a pain disorder that makes walking difficult. She blogs about health, chronic pain and, on special occasions, James Franco.