Barefoot Monologues

A Journey of the Sole


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Guest Post: Tips for Surviving Long-Term Recovery

Your week used to consist of high mileage, complicated yoga, and explosive plyometrics.  And then, cue the horror music, you became injured.

You were doing everything right – saw a Doctor, reduced your exercise load, and took the recommended rest days. A speedy recovery looked promising until the Doctor said those words all active people fear – It’s going to be awhile until you’re allowed to do that again.  Now your injury requires long-term recovery and there’s no standard timetable dictating how long you’ll be off your game.

Here are a few tips for surviving your long-term recovery and hopefully avoid filling what seems like a prescription for insanity.

1. Accept your limitations

Don’t waste time comparing what seems like pre-injury awesomeness with post-injury mediocrity; there is no comparison.  Your body is re-cov-er-ing. The pain, inflammation, and stiffness you feel is your body’s way of protecting itself from further injury. These symptoms will dissipate and you’ll be back to normal, eventually. Complaining about your temporary lack of awesomeness will not help you heal quicker; it will however drive friends and family away. Then, one day when you’re stuck on the couch no one will be nearby to grab a snack from the kitchen for you.

2. Don’t push it

Some days suck, some suck more.  Hooray for brokenness, right?  But since you’ve accepted the fact that your body is not performing at its peak you won’t freak out when the simplest act seems insurmountable. And you wouldn’t dream of pushing past your injury-imposed boundaries, like fighting to complete a scheduled long-run despite radiating pain that began at half mile. Save it for another day.  Your attempt to ‘soldier on’ will not impress your significant other who probably already told you not to leave the house; it will not make you feel bad-ass on a bad day.   It will, however, add more time to your recovery and likely require an additional doctor’s appointment.

3. Smile, damn it

Whomever first said that laughter is the best medicine was pretty smart because research has shown that it does release physical tension, decrease stress hormones, and release endorphins.  And smiling is fun; it’s impossible to be angry or frustrated when you’re smiling.  Go ahead, try.  Laughing won’t miraculously cure what ails you, however it will help you survive those few moments you thought were hopeless. Find anything to make you smile. Really, anything.

4. Don’t fester

You’re not obligated to keep your discontent and pain bottled inside. Close friends and family understand that you’re miserable. After all, life kind of dealt you a nasty blow. Their sympathetic ear can lessen the magnitude of The Suck; and, voicing your fears, depression and pain helps others be of better assistance.  Sharing these emotions isn’t a sign of weakness, and chances are pretty good that you aren’t the burden you feel like you are becoming.  Releasing your emotions keeps you from snapping at people for no reason or exploding; on the other hand pent up emotions breed depression and often manifest themselves physically.

5. Use food for sustenance, not coping

All this free time is likely to leave you feeling bored, agitated, and plain ol’ stressed-out. Researchers have several theories about why, but suffice to say that it’s common to crave junk foods when you’re feeling stressed.  These comfort foods tend to be high in calories, something you definitely don’t need an abundance of during your (temporary) less active lifestyle.  Indulging in lots of pie may pass the time and bring you bliss, however, its sugar-high will be short-lived and you’ll eventually start tacking on a few extra pounds.