Ways to Manage Stress When You're Injured
5 Simple Ways to Stay Mentally Healthy When You Can't Exercise
As a personal trainer and Pilates instructor, I work with a very active population. When one of my clients gets injured, it doesn't just take a toll physically, but also mentally. I offer these tips on how to manage your daily stress as you're recovering and healing your body to everyone.
Stay in Control
Focus on what you can control when it comes to your health. Even though you may not be able to "exercise" or even move very much with your injury, you can control what you eat, what you drink, and your attitude toward health. If you focus on fueling your body with the right foods, your blood sugar and mood will stay more even-keeled and you'll feel a lot better emotionally and physically.
Start Something New
Take this as an opportunity to spend time on a new project that does not involve something physical. Maybe you have always wanted to refresh your Spanish, read the Harry Potter series, or start a journal, but it didn't seem feasible. Your body needs to rest, but your mind should stay active. Create a goal and follow through and a sense of accomplishment will help keep you strong mentally.
Adjust Your Workout
Depending on your injury, you may still have an opportunity to perform some movements. I've had clients with knee injuries who completely stopped moving, gained weight, and were miserable. I've also had clients who took the opportunity to work on other parts of their bodies while continuing to rest their knee and were able to make progress physically and keep the pounds off. Look at what your options are and determine the best course of action.
Track Your Progress in a Notebook
When you're hurt and restricted, it feels like you're never going to get better. I have worked with stroke patients who were unable to see the small improvements in their mobility that as an outsider I was viewing. When I was able to remind them of things they couldn't do even two weeks prior, their attitudes toward their physical limitations were completely transformed. By making daily notes about how you feel, your pain level, and your mobility, you will be able to track progress and see real results that you may have been blind to otherwise. Celebrate the little victories!
Although it might not be for everyone, there are many ways to meditate. Deep breathing can be helpful for reducing heart rate and stress and provides mental clarity. Come up with a daily saying that works for you and repeat it to yourself as you're recovering and rebooting!