You don’t have to be a budding professional athlete to be hit by the psychological stress of a sports injury.
Sure, broken bones might be the most obvious symptom, but there’s no doubt there’s an intense mental strain on you as you bid to recuperate and get back to the sport (and perhaps lifestyle) you once had.
There are no right answers, but through today’s article, we’ll provide several quick tips that can help preserve your mental health when the going gets tough.
The art of staying positive
Easier said than done, right? But it’s crucial. A half-hearted effort will only make the journey back to full fitness that much harder. A positive outlook is a must, whether it means faking it ’til you make it or simply refusing to give in to self-pity.
Granted, some days will be tougher than others, but this is where setting expectations is crucial. If you’re under the impression you’re going to bounce back from a serious injury within weeks, regardless of its nature, you’ve got another thing coming. In fact, any doctor or health insurer (and their associated documentation!) would strictly state that there’s no such thing as a “quick” recovery.
Instead, try and accept the true recovery time and plough your energy into being as positive as ever to make sure you meet such a timescale.
Set some goals
Achievement breeds positivity and motivation, so setting small goals, both short and long-term, can work wonders on your mental health.
Obviously, these targets need to be realistic, both in light of your injury and previous achievements, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be ambitious. Having something to aim for will remind you of what you’re fighting for and give you that much-needed sense of purpose.
This is a big one, particularly for those who view themselves as independent, proud people. Accepting help can often be seen as a sign of weakness, but when you’re injured, it’s vital.
Your body will be under enough strain as it is, trying to heal itself, so take the weight off mentally by allowing others to pick up the slack. From family and friends to medical professionals, people out there want to help, so let them.
This doesn’t have to be physical help, either. ‘Help’ can come in umpteen forms. Whether it’s help with the shopping or perhaps people popping in for that crucial moral support. Ensure you know what works for you.
Keep a journal
This is an excellent way of venting any pent-up frustrations and can also help you to track your progress and chart your goals.
Your journal doesn’t have to be a detailed, day-by-day account of your injury and recovery, but more so a place to write down your thoughts and feelings. This can be anything from what you’re struggling with to what you’re most proud of. This will be a great way to look back on things, but it’ll also help you keep a level head during the more testing times.