The Complex Relationship Between Injuries, Fitness, And Stress
As we all know, from experience, and as science backs up, exercise is great for our mental health. It calms us; it helps us sleep, it creates a good chemical balance by releasing endorphins, and it lifts our mood. As such, it should be no surprise that when we’re unable to exercise due to an injury, our mental health can take a hit, not just our physical fitness. Our goals are put on hold, any athletic achievements we hoped to see snatched away, and we can find that the time we used to dedicate to our fitness seems to slip away. So, what can we do to untangle the complicated relationship between injury, fitness, and stress?
Be focused on recovery
Having something else to focus your energies on can help you feel like you haven’t lost all the momentum in your life that exercise was previously providing. Become mission focused on learning more about your injury, finding the right interventions and rehabilitation, talk to your doctor about exercises that can aid in both recovery and in managing your pain, such as yoga. This proactive approach gives you some semblance of control back, and some positive momentum rather than simply sitting around.
Find new goals to achieve
Fitness might feel like the most important goal in your life, but that doesn’t mean that life has to stop when you’re not able to complete your exercise routine. There are plenty of other life goals that you can consider, and now’s the perfect time to diversify your focus. New hobbies or interests, whether it’s learning a new skill, trying out something creative, learning a new language, or otherwise can help you focus your energies on something other than your fitness. It beats sitting around, doing nothing but thinking about how you miss the gym or your running shoes when you would normally be working out and it can help you manage your stress with some good, old fashioned distraction.
Recovering your confidence
As you get further along in your recovery, you will find that you’re able to do some of the things you once could, but others may still be out of reach. It pays to err on the side of caution when you’re uncertain how your old routine might affect you. But it can be helpful to look at what you miss about your old routine, and new things you can incorporate safely in its stead. It’s a good time to look into cross training and physical therapy that can teach you new exercises and create a new, even more robust exercise routine. You can pick up a few new habits and skills by the time you’re back to full strength.
The financial elephant in the room
An injury can impact a lot more than just your exercise routine. A big part of the stress that comes from injuries can also come from the financial impact that they leave behind, especially if you’re temporarily put out of work. Managing rent, bills, and more can be a real cause of anxiety. Ensuring that you’re not paying if you shouldn’t with the help of a personal injury lawyer can help you address some of those immediate concerns. Consider getting in touch with your employer to negotiate and absence of work, or whether or not you may be able to handle some responsibilities from home and consider options for disability assistance if recovery is expected to last months, rather than weeks.
Learn the importance of injury prevention
If there’s one thing that your time away from your old fitness routine will teach you, it’s that injuries suck. It’s very possible that your injuries had nothing to do with your exercises, but it’s still a good opportunity to look at the risks of sports injuries you might have exposing yourself to, and how to manage them in advance. Warming up, warming down, stretching, ensuring you’re properly fueled for the exercise, managing your sleep, listening to your body and making sure you use appropriate gear should all become more important now that you have a better idea of what awaits you if you’re lax on injury prevention. Learn more about the types of injuries you’re at greater risk of depending on your routine.
It feels unnatural for those who dedicate their time to fitness to be unable to reach it. However, becoming mission focused on recovery and getting better can be a good way to manage stress until you’re able to get back on the saddle. Don’t let stress exacerbate your road back to your everyday life.