My Biggest Lessons on Recovering from Injuries
I took a few months out early this year to really look after myself as I experienced a lot of pain in my neck and back. My back was so painful that I thought I had a slipped disc. I could not sit for more than 10 minutes at a time and I had to keep walking, stretching, standing or lying down to manage the pain. Thankfully, by seeing the right chiropractor, I am now a lot better and I am allowed to practise yoga more often.
Over the past few years, I have had a number of injuries and my body has not been the same since.
Bikram yoga has helped me a lot with my injury from my car accident a few years back. Through rehabilitation, I am better but I have been given so much conflicting advice on how to manage injuries.
Physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors and yoga teachers have all given me various opinions on how much to exercise.
– Practise more often vs practise less often.
– Go to yoga vs don’t practise yoga at all.
– Practise yoga as often as I can vs practise only once a week maximum.
What I have learned is that our bodies are amazing machines which are so good at telling us what is right and what is wrong. My back is brilliant at telling me when it needs a good stretch. My hamstrings are great at telling me when the stretching has gone far enough. Have you ever noticed that your body can feel very different from day to day? For me, practising a yoga class in the morning and then another one in the evening can feel so different. What is the best thing to do when there is no ‘right’ answer which applies everytime? Here is a list of the biggest lessons I have learned:
1. Keep active but more importantly, keep mindful
Bernie Clark is a well-respected and well known yoga teacher in Canada. He recently published an article about developing antifragility in a yoga practice and how it is necessary to have some stress on our bodies. Obviously, the level of stress is subject to every single one of us.
Although much of the general medical advice is to rest an injury, it is important to have a slight element of stress to keep our bodies robust. However, it is also easy to over-do it. My experience: is that your body knows best. If you are tired, rest. If you feel pain, stop. If it feels like over-stretching, stop. It is really important to pay attention, as we can be doing more harm than good.
Medical professionals can tell you to do this, that and the other but you know your body the best, so listen to your body.
2.Eat well and sleep well
Aside from keeping active, I can not emphasise the importance of eating well and sleeping well. A lot of recovery is about what we put into our bodies and whether we are resting when we need to. It makes a huge difference to your mood and the good nutrients in healthy food will definitely help your cells to re-generate, speeding up your recovery.
Remember that heavy lunch loaded of carbohydrates and then feeling tired for the rest of the afternoon? Our bodies really respond to the food we eat so please take care.
Routine is important too so it’s important to rest and sleep between 10pm and 11pm every night. If you are feeling tired, rest. There has been so much research on optimal sleep for our bodies but like everything else, we are all different so sleep as much as your body thinks it needs.
Love and care for your body like how you would look after your close family, friends and pets.
3.Be kind to yourself
I have had gloomy days feeling that this injury never ends but it will. Mindset is key to a speedy recovery.
Believe that you will get better and you might already start feeling better.
4.Keep enjoying life
Don’t let your current pain/discomfort overtake your quality of life. Keep up with other hobbies and fun activities that you enjoy. Meet up with supportive friends and family. Comedy, films, puzzles, sudoku, colouring and walking in nature are all very good in helping to reduce stress levels. Smiling and laughing are great remedies to any recovery.
What are your experiences recovering from injuries? I would love to hear your stories: