First of all, apologies for a touch of radio silence on my end! If you guys follow me on Snapchat (@tovogueorbust), Instagram or read this post last week, you guys might know I’ve injured my back recently. It’s been doing much better lately but between active recovery (plus the major fatigue that always follows a treatment) and the pain/aches that I’m still dealing with, I’ve just been moving much more slowly these days. And quite frankly, not only for this injury but in life in general, I think I needed it. Obviously, being an active person, there’s nothing I like less than not being able to live life normally and to not be able to get outside and move, but I’ve learned a lot about what an injury can teach you (and in a larger sense, just any curveball period). So with that, I thought I’d share 5 things I’ve learned over this period so far about dealing with life’s various setbacks – click through to read them all!
Photos by Alicia
1. Stay as positive as possible.
I know that seems like a given, but I’ve honestly felt my body (and more specifically, my injury) react to both positivity and negativity as both have coursed through me at different times. Each time negativity rears its ugly head, I can literally feel my injury worsen. When I think positive thoughts (I’ll get better soon, be patient, focus on what you can do right now, etc), my body relaxes and my recovery actually speeds up. Whether it’s physical or emotional, deciding to be happy makes such a big difference to how you’ll process and recover from whatever you’re going through.
2. With that in mind, choose to see the silver linings.
Going above just being positive, try to see what could actually be a blessing in your discomfort or pain. Obviously this will be easier or harder depending in large part on the nature and severity of whatever you’re going through, but for me at least, I’ve chosen to see this pretty brutal back injury as a blessing in the sense that it’s given me an opportunity to pause and rest, and most importantly, to reassess. Right before my sprain completely spasmed last week and left me in the worst pain I’ve ever felt (quite literally sending my body into shock), I had been going 1000 miles/hour. I wasn’t giving myself any time to relax, literally coming straight home from a pretty epic trip and then going full-force straight away. With more travel on the horizon and quite a few projects lined up until then, I was actually in desperate need of a breather. I’ve literally been forced into one now so I’m choosing to see it as a good thing that some days lately, I have to just take it easy at home and watch Gilmore Girls reruns and rest.
3. Focus on the basics.
This is pretty much one of my go-to tips for just about anything but especially now, it’s so important. Especially when your body’s going through some sort of trauma, you absolutely better be eating well, moving (as much as you can) a bit every day to keep blood pumping and help muscles recover and of course, you need proper sleep to help your body get better. Obviously, this all applies to any mental or emotional issues too. If you haven’t read Cameron Diaz’s The Body Book, I would highly recommend it. I was skeptical when I first got it but have been so impressed with how it communicates just about everything you need to know about how your body works, what it needs to heal and how to keep it functioning at its best.
4. Have a go-to “get happy” strategy.
It’s really hard to feel like you’re getting sidelined from your own life – I know I’ve felt frustrated, angry with myself (and my poor back) and out of control this past little while as I’ve had to basically take every element of my life (whether that’s exercise, work, etc) and effectively put them all on hold, or at the very least seriously reduce them. The best way to start feeling better? Have a happiness project of your own that you know feeds your soul. For me, even on the first few days when I could hardly stand for more than a few minutes, I hobbled over to my desk and quickly wrote in my gratitude diary as I usually do. I watched funny shows that I knew would perk me up and get me out of any negative space. And most importantly, I’ve been working on checking in more with my friends and family (especially those that live away!) and spending quality time with Matt.
5. Know it’s temporary.
I just keep telling myself that soon, I’ll feel all better – in fact, better than ever. It might take a month or two to be back to normal, but in the large scheme of things, this won’t ruin my life forever and I might actually learn a lot about treating my body better, working at a different rate and creating more sustainable training programs (and just a pace of life in general).
How have you guys dealt with setbacks in the past? I’d love any and all tips!