Recovery with Coach Michelle
For athletes, being injured is one of the hardest phases of life to deal with. We get used to following a plan, feeling in control, watching our bodies get stronger, expecting improvement. However, as a coach, I believe that our injury time, and the associated recovery time, are some of the best training opportunities, the best learning opportunities available to us. As many of you know, I have been out the last 6 weeks recovering from surgery to repair an ankle injury. As 4 of those 6 weeks were spent primarily on the couch with my leg elevated, I had a lot of time to ponder what I can learn from this event. I had a lot of time to consider how this injury will help me.
- Flexibility is Key – As a solid Type A, I love structure, routine, a plan that takes me from Point A to Point B. My plan never included an ankle injury…so now what? Well, several paths are possible. One path is denial & frustration. Why did this happen to me? This is the last thing I need. Could the timing be any worse? I’ll never get back to where I am now. Another path is acceptance & regrouping. I’m not the victim…I’m only injured…and injuries heal. Now I need a new path that heals me in the most efficient way. In a year from now, I’ll look back on this as a bump in the road…inconvenient, certainly…but a bump, not a roadblock. I believe the faster you get to acceptance & regrouping, the faster you heal & move forward to bigger & better things.
- Reliance on Others – Our American culture highly values the concept of self-reliance. All around us we see messages of independence: “You can do it”, “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps”, “Chase your dreams”. While these messages are motivational, they can isolate us & keep us disconnected. Injury is the perfect opportunity to understand that life is best lived in a communal atmosphere. My diagnosis was no weight bearing for 5 weeks. That meant 100% use of crutches, no driving my manual car, no independent grocery shopping, no carrying my plate to the table, no taking the garbage out. Amazingly so many people stepped up to help – offers to take out my garbage, bring me dinner, buy my groceries, drive me to appointments. At first I was hesitant to accept. But then I realized that we all want to help, we feel better when we can make a difference in someone’s life. So I began to accept…I accepted any & all offers. And I am so grateful to everyone who made my injury experience just a bit better & I will repay each of you by “paying it forward” to the next person who is in need!
- When One Door Closes, Others Open – When setbacks occur it is so easy to only see the closed doors, to focus on what we can’t do, to obsess over what we’ve lost. While this is an important step in the healing process, to fully heal we cannot stay there. It is critical that we eventually look for the open doors. So, after being sad & depressed over a broken bone & displaced ligaments, I tried to focus on what I could do. I now had time on my hands…lots of it. And so I started working on those projects that I like to put off – filing (I HATE filing), organizing electronic photos, working on marketing/promotional materials. The best cure for frustration is action. The key to action is to be able to fully open your eyes & see those doors now standing open waiting for you to walk through!