I talk about self-love on this blog, a lot. It’s very easy to love yourself when life is going right. But the true test of being a #bossbabe is how you feel about yourself when everything is going wrong. Being injured for the past year has completely changed my training style, daily activities, priorities, and sense of self. I’m happy to say I’ve never felt so comfortable in my skin as I currently do. But it took nearly 10 months to get here.
No one ever warns you about the emotional toll and injury can have. If you’ve ever fallen off your bike, had a really bad headache, or gotten stitches, you’ve experienced pain similar to a mild injury. But until you’ve experienced ambiguous diagnoses, expensive treatment options, missing out on fun adventures with your friends, feeling limited in day-to-day life or out of control of your body, you can’t really relate to a long-term set back.
So how do you cope with the anxiety, heartache, and blame that comes with long-term injury? In the same ways you also accelerate the physical healing process – with a holistic healing plan based on rest, new interests, anti-inflammatory diet, supplementation, and stress-relief. These 5 steps will decrease your pain and help you find your confidence again.
I can’t stress this one enough because it’s incredible how difficult it can be to rest when you’re so used to go-go-going. Resting your body is incredibly important, but relaxing your mind is just as, if not more. Rest can look different for everyone. For me, it was switching up my exercise routine so it was less intense and less frequent. It also meant increasing my meditation practice, treating myself to slow walks in nature, challenging myself to ignore one item on my checklist each day, and make more time for the important people in my life.
2. Find new interests
My identity has been “the fitness girl” for almost 10 years now. After getting injured, I didn’t feel like that girl anymore. I felt like a fraud. I’m supposed to help keep people from getting injured and yet, here I am, injured and unable to heal myself. Believing I could still be inspirational while limited didn’t come easy. So instead of forcing it, I started to branch out and cultivate my current interests beyond fitness. Instead of taking fitness pictures, I started photographing nature. Instead of reading up on nutrition, I started reading about self-awareness. Instead of taking an exercise class, I started going to other social events. Instead of writing about fitness, I journaled.
3. Anti-inflammatory diet
Reducing inflammation is a vital part of healing an injury because it can cause more swelling, stiffness, pain, and damage. Inflammation can also cause low levels of neurotransmitters, particularly serotonin, which regulate your mood. Processed foods like baked goods, fried anything, crackers, chips, dairy, alcohol, and gluten can increase inflammation in the body. Eating mainly anti-inflammatory foods, like veggies, fruits, whole grains, lean protein sources, nuts, and seeds can help speed up the healing process and help you stay in good spirits.
Modern day nutrition makes it harder to get in all the vital nutrients your body needs to functions. Popping a pill is no gateway to health. We must focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods (see #3) and moving enough. However, when your body is healing, it’s important to add a vitamin/supplement regimen to your healthy eating to ensure you’re getting in proper nutrients. I suggest taking a multi-vitamin, anti-inflammatory supplement (like fish oil/Omega 3 and/or turmeric), and an antioxidant and polyphenol supplement for cellular production. I was introduced to the DoTerra Vitality Vitamin Pack and have been blown away. As an avid supplement-taker most of my life, I can confidently say their products are unlike commercial vitamins and supplements on the market. They put such high-emphasis on quality ingredients, I love knowing that my vitamins aren’t tarnished with fillers. And, they’re still affordable! This pack contains an Alpha CRS+ for cellular energy and longevity, an Omega 3 to support your joints, skin, and cardiovascular and brain health, and the Microplex VMZ which contains highly bioavailable vitamins, minerals, and trace elements in proportions that work hand-in-hand with your diet.
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5. Channel Your Stress
I relied on exercise to channel my stress. When I wasn’t able to exercise as intensely anymore, I struggled to find my center. Exercise was such a quick fix to feeling anxiety, stress, or low self-esteem. To anyone who doesn’t like working out, they may argue. But it’s true! The immediate adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin that intense exercise produces elevates your mood almost immediately. I had already started meditating five months prior to my injury, but I still struggled to find new outlets. A long-term injury can be stressful within itself. Put it on top of work schedules, deadlines, relationships, and to-do lists, if you don’t have good coping mechanisms, you may start to feel out of control and disengaged. I began by increasing my meditation practice (I love using the Headspace app!), journalling, confiding in loved ones, taking long, hot baths, sitting in nature, connecting to the Universe/God (whichever one you choose to talk to), reading inspiring books, listening to motivating podcasts, and practicing the first 4 parts of this blog post religiously.
Losing something is always an opportunity to grow. Whatever the loss- an injury, break up, death, job – you have an opportunity to learn more about yourself and become more than you ever imagined.
So tell me, have you ever gone through an injury or stressful time in your life? What did you do to cope? What did you learn?
Health and happiness,
*Disclaimer: DoTerra gave me product in exchange for a blog post. However, all opinions are my own. I truly believe in these supplements and how they’ve helped my healing process.