Bravery/ Perseverance/ Zesty Adventures

Intestinal Fortitude: Staying strong when mother nature gives you a spanking

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The sting of injury

Being able to ride my bike regularly has saved me. I’m sure many of you can relate to the way biking declutters the mind and takes the edge off life’s struggles. I don’t know what I’d do without biking.

…and then mother nature gives you a major spanking!

As mother nature banishes you to your room for six weeks with an injury, the news of a long road to recovery can leave you feeling raw and disconnected from the world. Your mind shifts from problem to problem and from past to future, and the fears begin to overwhelm you. You’re consumed in the uncertainty, you feel lost, unsure and powerless. This cycle of thinking is the pathway to endless exhaustion, constant frustration and absolute illusion.

Breathe. Surrender.

It is in this moment you must learn to surrender. The idea of surrendering might make you think you’re giving up, but deciding to surrender is actually a very empowering and liberating experience. Surrendering is an act of courage. Surrendering is accepting what’s happening in your life right now and riding the wave of time. It’s trusting that whatever you’re going through will pass.

Surrendering is an uncomfortable process, often accompanied by resistance, fear and sometimes depression. We cling to what once felt secure and the identity we’ve created of ourselves—the fit cyclist, the winning athlete, the capable teammate. The truth is, what you’re going through will be as painful or painless as your impulse to surrender or resist. Don’t analyze, don’t imagine, don’t define, just feel. Feel your feelings. Can you give up the struggle, sit and attempt to surrender your feelings? By surrendering, you’re moving through the experience much more quickly than if you resist it.

When you let go of the image of yourself you cling to, you realize that you’re still you—the beautiful person that doesn’t change based on your physical capabilities or circumstances. In the midst of surrender you’re calm, peaceful and present in the moment. You relinquish the domination of the ego and find a different source of resolution. You learn to remain open to life’s ever-changing journey.

What you resist persists

If you have difficulty surrendering it’s because of our innate need to control things—we’re afraid of what will happen if we don’t control. Control is being attached to a specific outcome and it’s rooted in fear. Remember, the winds of change can be a force to be used; and as such, it’s up to you to use it and not be consumed or disrupted, disgruntled or disheartened by it. The result lies in your interpretation.

An opportunity to shift your focus

Imagine the feeling of being a passenger in the car on a route you normally drive. All of the sudden you start noticing things you’ve missed before; a beautiful waterfall, a funny name for a road or scenic view you never really appreciated.

You may feel sad or frustrated because your injury forced you to slow down, but you have an opportunity to shift your focus, learn patience and gain a greater understanding of yourself. As athletes, we feel our best when we’re active, in our routine, pushing ourselves and raising our heart rates. But sometimes an injury shows us that slowing down is also a good thing. It encourages us to explore different things, develop a deepened self-awareness, connect with new people and catch up with friends.

Zesty Recovery Tips

Eat Healthy, Whole Foods

Properly nourished athletes recover faster. Take the reins of the one thing you can control while you’re injured and focus on consuming healthy nutrient-rich foods. Leafy greens, anti-inflammatory turmeric, brain-boosting walnuts, omega oil and avocado are just a few things you can focus on.

Hydrate

It’s kind of a no-brainer but adequate water consumption is critical to recovery and bodily functions.

Take Magnesium

Magnesium, also known as nature’s “relaxation mineral,” plays a vital role in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body and is important for everything from the functioning of your nervous system to the health of your bones. It will also help your sleep quality. Look for “Chelated” magnesium for the greatest absorption.

Take Omega-3’s

Omega-3’s are an essential fatty acid that helps with inflammation and ensure your joints and tissues are nourished. I am a proponent of the Vegan Omega Oil! Ask Sheilagh in the health area of Nester’s, she rocks!

Do what you can for exercise

Mood follows action. That means even when you’re feeling bummed out and lazy, if you can manage to get out for a little walk, or hobble… it will help you feel better, keep the blood flowing and encourage mobility.

Relax

It’s summer and you don’t have to miss out on everything. Instead of laying on the couch, hit the beach! Relax on a towel or get a friend to help you setup a lawn chair if you need to sit and prop up your feet. If you can, take a dip in the water or river, cool down and let the healing properties of nature do their work. Cold therapy is an amazing thing that has been shown to have an anti-depressive effects and helps fight inflammation.

Socialize

It can be hard to spend time alone when you’re injured. Especially when everyone is out having fun riding, running or playing. Make some friend dates, go hang out at the bike shop and show off your hardcore injury, attend any social gatherings like the SORCA social’s, try one of those painting evenings, or spend time with family.

Try something creative

If your injury has you sitting around, think of what you can do. Can you play an instrument, dabble in painting or drawing, create a Vision Board, get back into knitting or sewing, start a Pinterest board of wicked travel ideas for when you’re healed up, or learn origami or calligraphy.

Don’t stress about getting fat

The reason we set goals is so we have something to work toward. If you’ve had a setback, part of the fun can be building yourself back up again, stronger and wiser too. If you’re passionate about your sport, you will have the motivation to get where you want to be, so do not worry.

It’s going to be okay

Whether you broke, tore, cracked, strained, pinched, pulled or cut your body, it will heal. You may not be exactly the same as before, but the body is an amazing thing, and even those who’ve become paralyzed can find joy, passion and love of sport once again. I know it sucks right now, but you will get through it. And when you do, you’ll look back and be surprised that you doubted your resilience.

AND: If anyone needs someone to have tea with, go for a walk and talk or get some healthy nutrition tips, I’m happy to help! I crashed and cracked my rib a couple weeks ago and am still recovering…

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