I am in my third week of teaching the Bend Burn Breathe triumvirate of Yoga, Cycle, and Strength. So far I am finding my groove and fitting in taking classes around my teaching schedule. Yet, just when I thought I was back in business and predominantly injury free, a slow and nagging groin pull has surfaced. “C’mon,” I yelled to the heavens. I’ve only been doing lunges with 10 lb. weights and I’m careful not to overstretch my hip flexors in yoga class. My groin? This never happened before.
I’ll give a little background here. Most of the injuries I’ve had as a dancer and fitness chick (tendinitis in nearly all of my joints at one point or another) have all been slow in coming and not due to some stupid training move or an overzealous training schedule. It just seems to be the nature of how my body is built. My first bout of tendinitis was in my knee when I was training to be a ballerina in my early teens. Determined not to be slowed down again, I began dancing and bodybuilding in college, and what started as a dull ache turned out to be a muscle tear that effectively halted my prospective dance career (let alone it put a damper on my bodybuilding). I went through three years of physical therapy to heal. A number of years later, I even had a ligament tear in my ankle (maybe from a sprain years earlier?) and required surgery. I yelled “C’mon” once again. Things really kicked up when I decided to jump into a fitness career in my late 30’s. Soon enough, on and off it went, elbow tendinitis here, rotator cuff tendinitis there – all despite never lifting heavy or doing a great deal of high impact aerobics.
Now, 3 1/2 years after my hamstring injury and ITB syndrome in my knee (both have really taken a toll on my psyche) and with this new groin injury, I am at a crossroads. What can I do to stay motivated, fit, and happy, something that has been a real struggle with a chronic injury? The story of The Little Engine that Could comes to mind. To refresh your childhood memory, the story is about a train of cars the need an engine to get up the hill. All of the big fancy engines found excuses not to help the train. The little engine said yes! When they got to the hill, it was a tough climb but he kept saying “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can” and he made it over the hill! I thought to myself, I am The Little Body that Could!
So what am I saying here? For me, despite the injuries I’ve had, the body I was built with, the obstacles in my way, and modifications I’ve had to make, I am never going to give up my quest to keep active and healthy. Over the years I’ve found ways to switch it up and taking the time to see a physical therapist when I needed to instead of toughing it out. I’ve also learned to be more resilient, especially for the past 3 1/2 years. I feel like I am nearing the top of the hill and will keep saying “I think I can” to achieve my goals. This the is resilience I didn’t even realize I had build over the years.
Here are some ways you can build resilience from the American Psychological Association. Also check out their helpful GUIDE:
Make strong social connections with family and friends for support. Having a cheering section can be a big boost for confidence to get through your adversity.
Try not to get overwhelmed by your current situation. One of my best friends counselled me with three wise words I live by in stressful situations: It’s Only Temporary.
Be solution driven and take decisive action. Create achievable goals and an action plan to follow. Having these guideposts can take you out of ruminating on your problems.
Be kind to yourself. I’ve written about self-compassion before and it’s healthy benefits. It’s especially important when the s#@t hits the fan that you treat yourself with loving kindness.
Keep things positive and in perspective. It’s tempting to go into dread mode, and yes, we have to accept the things we cannot change, but we can choose to see a brighter outlook.
Make yourself a priority and take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep, eat healthy, keep moving, and do the things that you enjoy most.
Even if you don’t quite believe it yet, just keep saying “I think I can” and you’ll be amazed at what you can overcome and achieve.