Having just recently sustained an injury, a dislocated middle finger to be exact, I am in the process of injury rehabilitation. As an athlete training for the world championships in November, being injured has been a mentally challenging experience. In saying that, I’m not alone in my experience, but I wanted to share the tools and strategies I have used to manage my situation for anyone else in a similar position.
Injuries carry with them a lot of emotion. Feelings of frustration (seeing your mates and competitors training and competing), fear (of re-injury), regret (wondering how you could have avoided the injury). It’s a bit of an emotional roller coaster so it’s important to have a strategy to channel all this emotion into a positive mindset that encourages motivation and desire to work hard and put the effort into the rehabilitation process.
The strategy that has worked the best for me is controlling the controllables. What does that mean? Channelling your actions into the things you can control, like putting the effort into your rehabilitation exercises and not being consumed by those negative thoughts and feelings like frustration, fear and regret, which is just wasted energy.
“Staying focused on the things you can control and breaking it down into easy, achievable steps will help you stay motivated…”
One of the biggest mental challenges with an injury is knowing the large gap that will need to filled in order to reach your optimal performance level. It’s a daunting task, which is similar to any large goal, ie. finishing your university study, podium at an international level, pursuing a career, etc. These are big tasks that seem unrealistic if viewed separately. The way to manage this is to break it down into easier, achievable, steps that will, as a whole, allow you to reach your end goal.
Staying focused on the things you can control and breaking it down into easy, achievable steps will help you stay motivated with your rehabilitation and help you gain confidence by knowing you have done the work to be back to your old, fighting self both physically and mentally.
It’s a tough road but with the right strategies and tools you can mentally map out the right rehabilitation journey.
By Janine Jungfels – Pushys Sponsored Athlete