You are an athlete. You have a coach. You train. You eat a balanced diet to fuel your workouts. You plan your day around your training. You thrive on the feeling after an intense training session. You push your limits everyday. You don’t just do it for race day. You do it because it’s how you want to live each day.
Next thing you know, you’re in the hospital. Machines beeping. People you don’t know surrounding you. Something hurts. Everything hurts. Weren’t you just on a beautiful bike ride? Yes, but you’ve been in an accident. It’s not looking like you’ll be getting back to that lifestyle you’ve worked so hard at any time soon…
This is a subject that people tend to put on the back burner. Going from an intense workout regime to not doing much at all can be extremely tough on the mindset of an athlete. What happens when an athlete goes from their usual workout routine to not being able to do much of anything while recovering from an accident? How do you cope? What do you do with all this time on your hands?
I was recently in a commuter bike accident in which I suffered a severe concussion and was not allowed any physical activity besides walking. Here are three steps that I found to really help me as an athlete recovering from a mild traumatic brain injury:
1) Stay positive
You may feel like you will never feel the same again because a part of you has been taken away temporarily, but if you’re reading this, it’s likely that you are going to be just fine. Feeling unlike yourself and the uncertainty of the future can seem daunting, but you just have to tell yourself you are going to be back at it once again.
2) Actively relax your body
Tension that you would usually be rid of during intense exercise may manifest in other areas of the body. Notice if this happens, take a deep breath, and “actively” relax these parts of the body. Athletes tend to be very aware of their bodies so this will be a really useful technique for tension relief. Depending on your injury, light yoga can also be extremely beneficial. If yoga is not possible, simple breathing exercises and meditation are also great.
3) Find other endorphin producing activities to take up your time.
Physical exercise is probably the highest endorphin-producing activity you can do, but there are so many other activities that can bing you joy and exploring these can help you learn things about yourself you never knew before. Explore other aspects of your life where you can be creative and you might surprise yourself! Reading, writing, music, cooking, and art are all awesome avenues to channel your energy in a positive way!
The road to recovery can be a long one, but at Fluid, we want to help you make the most of it so you can come back even stronger than before!