Journey to Recover Mentally After a Sports Injury
Sports injuries are the injuries to the musculoskeletal system that occur when playing sports or when exercising. These unfortunate accidents are inevitable and are quite common when one is an athlete. Apart from causing physical distress, sports injuries have been found to affect the mental health of people they occur. Injuries can trigger strong emotional reactions that can cause one to develop mental health issues. They can also manifest repressed mental issues that were once alleviated by physical activity. Some of the most common mental health problems that athletes may face after an injury are:
· Substance abuse
· Eating disorders
While physical rehabilitation is essential for quick recovery from the injury, mental health is paramount during this process. Below are tips to take into consideration during the journey to mentally recover following a sports injury:
- Incorporate exercise in the process
One of the things that trigger mental health issues in athletes is the feeling of being left out of the sport you used to take part in because of an injury. For this reason, it is essential to incorporate some form of physical activity in the rehabilitation process to reassure the mind that you can still put yourself out there. However, before you initiate any form of exercise, it relevant that you talk to your doctor first.
The most common exercise for recovering athletes is cycling. Recent advances in technology have led to the development of cycling appliances that work best for people who are recovering from sports injuries. One such device is an electrical bike. If you are afraid of getting back on the physical activity journey for fear of being injured again, this bike is designed for you. It is automated such that it does not put excessive strain on your muscles and joints. Most, importantly, it helps you build confidence through your recovery journey. Secondly, the boom of indoor training and Zwift – the indoor cycling platform helps cyclists be more active, more often.
- Understand your injury through counseling
Often, people develop psychological issues when they do not understand something. Research conducted exploring the considerations when transitioning from care to performance among athletes revealed that the first step to enhancing performance in understanding the injury. Suppose you broke your leg, you need to understand the anatomy and physiology of the leg. It is only through guidance and counseling by psychologists that can help you can understand what has happened to you. This information will help you be more receptive to treatments such as physiotherapy as well as put your mind at ease.
- Envision a recovered you
Being optimistic through this journey is the key. The beauty of the brain is that when you imagine doing something and then you go ahead and do it in real life, the brain is stimulated in the same regions. Therefore, imagining a healthy you will prompt you to make attempts to be healthy again. For instance, if you are recovering from a knee injury you got during a cycling event, you should imagine yourself riding that bike again. Having such imaginative thoughts will stimulate your brain and boost your performance.
- Be receptive to help
When you are injured, you may want to shoulder the burden alone just because you are depressed. During these dark times, you tend to forget that you have a family, a team, a coach, or even a club all who want the best for you. To fully recover, you may need these people to walk with you through the recovery journey. While the sporting activity may be your thing, your effort, it does not hurt to have a support system by your side to encourage and motivate you. Talk to your coach.
- Take back your power
An injury makes you feel as if you lost your power especially when you are reliant on other people to help with performing certain tasks. While your arm may be broken, you do not have to let your willpower be torn too. Taking back your power means making a choice to get up and try and take a step back when you feel you cannot do something. Having such sentiments makes you own your predicament and work towards getting better.
Sports injuries are part of the success you achieve from being in the game. How you handle these injuries both physically and mentally is what sets you apart from the rest. If you want to make a comeback after what seemed like a career-threatening injury, you have to recover mentally.
Having a solid support structure around you is key!
Article written by Lilian Reighley