Sports can be a very important part of people’s lives – either as a career or a hobby. Sustaining a sports injury and losing the ability to play may feel like you’ve lost a part of yourself. Oftentimes, people only focus on recovering physically, avoiding anything that has to do with their mental wellbeing. However, improper mental recovery from a physical injury can have lasting effects, such as posttraumatic stress when exercising or experiencing insomnia and anger. While sustaining an injury can be upsetting, there are several ways you can remain positive while your body heals.
For instance, you can learn more about the type of injury you suffered by talking to your doctor or fellow athletes, researching more information online, or just by reading as much about the injury as possible. Learning about your injury, including its diagnosis, treatment options, and expected recovery time, will allow you to set attainable recovery goals and avoid getting anxious when the recovery process is taking longer than you may have initially expected.
To go from frequently being active to not moving much due to an injury is a huge change, so you might be tempted to shorten the recovery process or start back at the intensity where you left off. However, that may not be a wise plan as you could easily reinjure yourself. Instead, for progress to be achievable, be sure to set goals that are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Another tip to help your mental wellbeing is to stop worrying about things that are out of your control. Rather, focusing all your energy towards controlling the things you can change will be beneficial for your body. For example, if you sustained a shoulder injury, you could still exercise your lower body. An upper-body injury would not prevent you from working your glutes or calves. Controlling your diet could also help you remain fit and healthy throughout your recovery process.
Lastly, it is important that you ask for help and support when you need it. Just like how you would not hesitate to ask for advice from a coach, you should also not be afraid to ask for support from a therapist or from a teammate who understands your situation. They can be helpful motivators who can help to get you through this difficult time.
Whether you may be feeling angry, depressed, or frustrated due to a sports injury, it’s important to remember that these feelings matter. Acknowledging them is the first step to managing them and moving past them.
If you feel like your mental state is holding you back from a successful return to your sport, be sure to talk to your doctor. We’re always here to listen and to help you get back to doing what you love. You can contact us here.