Time to grieve

Posted on October 30, 2011

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 I have a bad back at the moment, nothing more than a muscular strain I think, post too much playing on the BOSU at Fitness First.  But painful it is and rendering me quite immobile.

So this morning I went on to a popular running site for advice on how best to treat it and noticed for every article on injury prevention, cure and treatment i.e. the physical side, there were equally as many dealing with the physiological and emotional side of injuries.  This I have always felt plays a lead role, certainly in my life, so I spent the next hour or so reading some great material which lead me to today’s post.

Running is like a best friend. We count on it to quieten our worries, focus our minds and make us happier, healthier and saner.  Take away running then when injury strikes and it’s no wonder we can feel like crying, screaming or ranting.

The sense of loss is similar to other types of grieving with, albeit in far smaller proportions, the feelings of pain and frustration to deal with.  So why not take a purposeful approach to dealing with it by adopting a strategy to lead you to the road to recovery? If you recognise each stage of recovery after all, you’re more likely to pull through more quickly, heal faster and ultimately be back on the road sooner.

So today …. fit chick Tori’s five steps to effective grieving.

1) DENIAL


You say: Ignorance is bliss

Tori says: It can be easy to play Russian Roulette; limping through workouts and ignoring the red flag but ultimately, this only leads to converting minor tweaks into major injuries. So …  listen to your body and at the first sign of potential injury, be smart and back off. A few days on the couch is better than months of physical therapy (she says whilst lying horizontally on sofa, mid afternoon in pj’s!)

2) ANGER

You say: It’s not fair!

Tori says: Sure, not being able to finish a race … or start for that matter is hugely disappointing … devastating even.  The injustice triggers anger and you feel betrayed by your body but sorry to say, a positive outlook is your greatest weapon here. Some positive self talk combined with a revised set of goals can and will lead to exceptional recovery.  Set ‘recovery goals’ so you can celebrate small successes and recognise your achievement.

3) BARGAINING

You say: Just let me train!

Tori says: I am (hence current sore back) totally guilty of this.  I confronted my new-found confidence doing weights on the BOSU and went a little gung-ho.  More frequent, more reps, more weights … and now, more time on the sofa instead of training.

Remember though that more isn’t always better. There’s no such thing as a quick-fix so take small steps and don’t go overboard. There’s no point jeopardising the ultimate goal.

4) DEPRESSION

You say: What’s the point?

Tori says: I know from first hand experience that the initial enthusiasm for the rehab routine fades. You miss the endorphin fix running provides and you feel cut off from the running and the social scene that goes with it. 
Instead … fill your newfound downtime with other activities to fill the void.  Your pad in need of a huge clear out?  Always fancied tucking into a cookery course? Fancy an art fix or some volunteer work? Or just opt for other time-consuming sports you enjoy but can’t fit in when you’re training … leisurely bike rides, yoga, golf, whatever …

5)  ACCEPTANCE

You say: It’s Working!

Tori says: This is when you are properly sticking with your rehab plan and you’re seeing progress … GREAT! There is a very direct relationship between stress and injury. Anxiety can cause muscle tension and suppress immune function, which can delay how quickly you get better. A peaceful mindset on the other hand, only encourages healing.

So I plan to spend the coming days grieving to the best of my ability and suggest you do too, the next time a niggle knocks on your door. Prior warning though, I remain a highly charged and sometimes temperamental female so take no responsibility for anyone on the receiving end of a rant this week ….!

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