The Mental Aspect of Recovery
Posted on November 16th, 2016
Recovering from surgery is not just a physical challenge; it is also incredibly mental. The phrase – no pain no gain – never rings more true, particularly working through range of motion and extension. While your physical therapist is guiding you physically, let’s focus on how to handle the mental aspect of recovery.
No pain, no gain:
Normally, when we feel pain we know to stop pushing our bodies for fear of injury. While you never want to overdo it and need to listen to your physical therapist, any knee warrior knows that in order to get back to normal there is no way to escape working through a certain degree of discomfort.
If you’re struggling during your painful recovery, constantly remind yourself that this mental test will make you stronger. I can’t even tell you how many times I used the mantra, “I am strong, I can handle anything”, during the day! This mantra was like a little pep talk to keep me motivated to work through the pain! It shifted my focus from what I was struggling with mentally, to feeling like my inner flame was growing stronger and brighter.
There is something to be said that recovering from knee surgery can be life-changing experience for the better. It’s been 5 months since my surgery. My life is slowly getting back to normal, however, I still have my scar to remind me that I can handle whatever obstacles are thrown at me. I truly did believe that the day of the accident was the day that I embraced my true self and my power. Being a knee warrior is no joke! Own your scar as a symbol of your strength! Moving forward, whenever you doubt yourself or face other challenges, look to your scar as proof that you are are a warrior!
Coping with lack of exercise:
Not being able to do all the physical activities that you love for so many months also takes a mental toll. Your world feels very limited when you have to take a break from the sport that makes you feel alive. As a normally very active individual, not exercising and moving my body made me feel stir-crazy and at times depressed.
As I didn’t want to sit in a pool of negative emotions, I turned to meditation. Meditation allowed me to turn my frustrations into positive energy. When we can’t change what is going on externally, we must look internally to change the way we react to situations. The bottom line is you will heal and come back stronger. Make your recovery the best it can be by channeling any negativity to propel your life in a positive direction.
If meditation is completely new to you, it might be a good idea to use an app like Headspace. Headspace has a free trial with 10 sessions, each 10 minutes long. Our mindset changes our reality. While you can’t go back in time and undo the injury, you can choose to learn as much as you can from it. With the right mindset one can conquer anything!
In addition to meditation, I also used the power of social media to stay connected to other knee warriors. We are a family. Through this journey, I have made contact with individuals around the world. We have supported each other and celebrated the little and big wins. Recovering from surgery is not easy. Perhaps this is the universe pushing you to own your voice. Maybe it’s time to start a blog and spread the word to others how you made it the ultimate comeback. I also knew when to disconnect if I started comparing my recovery via social media. This is your recovery and it’s going to be different than others.
What we eat affects our mood:
As well as meditation, I was careful with my diet. I steered away from processed foods and, instead, ate foods with high nutritional content. I also incorporated foods that aid in reducing inflammation. Make wise choices and nourish your body with foods that won’t leave you feeling sluggish and down. Your body and mind need to be in harmony. What we put into our body affects our mood.
What are some other ways that you cope with the mental aspect of recovery?