Overcoming the Mental Hurdles of Injury

Being injured sucks. That is no question. Sometimes, the toughest part of dealing with an injury has nothing to do with the physical pain. In fact, the hardest part can be dealing with what goes on between your ears.

For some reason, I’ve always had the tendency to play the victim. Maybe it stems from my childhood, having a strong need for attention and receiving it most when I was sad or hurt or unhappy. Maybe it is something I’ve learned to do over time to help myself cope. Whatever the reason, I’m good at it. I’m also pretty versed in feeling sorry for myself. Sound familiar at all? Well for me, all of these emotions are highly triggered when sustaining an injury, not to mention the negative self-talk that begins to surface.

After spraining my SI joint this past week and literally crying when trying to stand up (no that wasn’t an exaggeration, there were lots of tears), I was fiercely challenged to not fall back into old habits. It was so easy to complain and have my fiancé Robert put my socks on for me and help me in and out of the car (yes, I even requested help when putting my seatbelt on).

It was even easier to use my back injury for sympathy from him, get an excuse to be sassy and be waited on, and to allow myself to sneak into that whole “feeling sorry for myself” thing by laying on the couch watching silly baking shows and scrolling mindlessly through Instagram. This was super natural for me because it was something that had become a habit. It had been for so long that it was now second nature.

After popping some Aleve and accepting the fact that yes this frickin’ hurts and it’s probably going to for a while, my mind immediately started spinning a million miles a minute. I’ve mentioned already that I struggle a lot with the victim mentally thing, but just so ya know, I’m also pretty darn good at immediately jumping to the negative side of things.

I became frantic. Thinking things like “Great, now I’m screwed”, “All of my hard work is wasted”, “I’m gonna’ end up getting fat now because I can barely move”, “I better start dieting now” “Why did this have to happen to me?” “This sucks”… and so on and so forth.

But then I had a realization. I caught myself in the act because I had been here before. And I reminded myself of WHO I am trying to become. Did I want to continue like this with this same old habit? Did I want to be a woman that has a pity party every time life hands her some lemons? Do I want to be constantly stuck in this negative mindset? I think you can guess what the answer might have been to those questions.

So what did I do? I worked on changing my perspective. Sounds simple, right? Well remember now, simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy. And I’d bet that wasn’t the answer you were hoping for when reading this, but guess what? It worked. Most of the time with mindset and self-growth, the answer isn’t complicated or sexy.

Now let me finish with saying this. I am in no way perfect, and let me tell you, it took just about everything in me to get off the couch and try to make a change for myself this time. There have been a multitude of times that I’ve laid down and felt sorry for myself and I’m sure it will even happen again. What matters though, is that we work on the realization of seeing ourselves for who were, who want we want to become, and make the decision to get up.

So how exactly can you try to change your perspective when faced with an injury? Check it out:

  • Don’t freak out – Try my 5 min rule: Allow yourself 5 minutes to scream, cry, throw a tantrum, or whatever ya gotta’ do. After 5 minutes is up, move on.

 

  • Find ways that you CAN move – A lot of times even though it may be painful, the best thing you can do is move your body vs. staying sedentary. If you’ve injured your upper body, spend time getting creative with how you can work on your lower body.

 

  • Control the “controllables” – (This is my favorite saying ever, by the way) Focus on what you CAN do. You can’t control that you’ve hurt yourself, but you can control how much water you drink, how often you meditate and journal, etc. What are you grateful for? Change that perspective!

 

  • Remain as positive as possible – Remind yourself that this is temporary, not permanent. You WILL heal and you will get back to your normal activities with time.

 

  • View it as a challenge – Try not to see this as a setback, but picture it as an opportunity for you to work on your character.

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