Dealing with injury and chronic illness can be mentally and emotionally exhausting, not to mention your budget. Staying positive when you’re dealing with injury can be rough, sometimes it feels like your body is giving up on you and it’s an uphill fight against your own body.
I just found out last week that I have a hip disorder (femoral acetabular impingement, aka FAI) combined with bone spurs that may need surgery if there is cartilage damage from exercise. I knew I had limited mobility in my hips, but it never bothered me until I started teaching PiYo. I love PiYo, but those deep hip stretches aren’t good for me. The deep low lunges are a particular problem for me, and my class routine has tons of those low lunges, high lunges, and warrior poses, so I will have to do some serious modifications.
I have also been battling what feels like chronic muscle knots and tendinitis of some sort or another. I have been a frequent face at the physical therapist’s office over the last year. On top of that, I have IBS and bladder ulcers, and I will be heading to another doctor soon to check for RA, lupus, and fibromyalgia soon (all things that run in my family). Some weeks I am emotionally and physically exhausted and exercise makes your body ache.
So where do I go from here? One of the activities I love may be off limits to me if I cannot find a way to modify it. I am grateful I found out about this before I did any serious damage, but it is still discouraging when you enjoy fitness and it has become your career too. So what do you do when you feel like your body quits? Here are a few things that help me get though those rough days:
- Don’t fight your body. if your body needs something, give it! If you need rest, take it; if you need surgery, get it; if you need to stop some activity you love, do it. You have one body to live in, take care of it. You can always find something else to do, but you can’t find a replacement for your body. Fitness should be a long term pursuit, not a short-term race. Take care of your body so you can stay active into old age. That is my ultimate goal with fitness, too keep my body moving until I die. If exercise hurts, it’s okay to take it easy for a while.
- Don’t be afraid to move into a different season of your life. Change is scary, but it is good and necessary sometimes. Life has different seasons in it, and when a door is shut, shift your thinking: you are moving from one season of your life into another season. There is a time and purpose for everything. Maybe you need to shift from running to biking more, or vise versa.
- Cultivate other interests outside of fitness. Commit to staying active, but find other things you love that don’t revolve around fitness, like reading, playing an instrument, or art. Life is multifaceted, it’s not only about fitness. Get certified to be a health coach, become a mentor, or volunteer. You have gifts that can be used to bless others, don’t be afraid to use them!
- It’s okay to grieve. Facing the prospect of giving up certain activities for a while (or even permanently) can be hard, especially when you have grown to love fitness and moving in a way that means something to you. You are losing something important to you, and you might need time to grieve the loss, and that’s okay. When I get bad health news, I usually need a day or two to be sad and to process the situation. Let it happen. Embrace your emotions and feelings, you will be able to cope better when you have allowed yourself time to let things go.
- Be open about your struggles and make sure you have a good support system. Having supportive friends and family makes a huge difference! Find people you can open up to about your struggles and who you can trust to stand by you through good and bad days. Then be open with them: no one can support you if they don’t really know what is going on in your life. I try to be open about my health struggles on my blogs so that I can help people out there who may be going through the same things and to let them know that they aren’t alone.
If you are going through injury or illness, think about what you can do to bless someone else who is going through a hard time, and it helps to lift your burden 🙂 Check out one of the articles I wrote for My Life with Food Allergies about staying positive while living with chronic illness