Lessons Learned During My Injury: Embracing Slowing Down
A few weeks ago I was on my way to a trail run with my 100lb. Lab, Gus, when I ended up with a pretty gnarly sprain. If you have a dog, you know how excited he was as he yanked the leash forward and my ankle buckled as a result. I’ve nursed my way to recovery through R.I.C.E. and various exercises to help with my mobility. But nothing hurts more than not being able to spend my time outside hiking. Instead of push my limits, I realized that sometimes things happen for a reason–in my case I learned that being injured forced me to take a look at my physical boundaries among other lessons.
Passing the buck
I am the first one to admit that handing over tasks as simple as grocery shopping is hard to do. But it’s not just grocery shopping, it’s getting breakfast made, helping my youngest with putting her shoes on, etc. All these big tasks to me, became smaller–imagine all the puzzle pieces needing to fit just right inside the puzzle board. I gave up on trying to fit the pieces inside the board and opted to letting someone else do it for me. I even let my big kids cook dinner the first time in a while with some moderation. They appreciated being able to take on extra responsibility with dinner, house responsibilities, and more.
I couldn’t drive the first two weeks. James did the drop offs and pick ups at school. It was too painful to even push the pedal down even slightly so driving would be unsafe. I have never sprained my ankle before so I broke down and cried when I realized that I couldn’t. even. drive. Thankfully James was able to work from home some of the days and do drop offs and pick ups for me. I got the grocery lists together and we made a plan on what days he would go. Our oldest learned to take Bart for the first time–a huge milestone as it was something we had waited to do but held back on for whatever reason. I must admit that the thought of him driving passed my mind often!
Living the inspirational quotes
There were many times I felt like throwing my air cast across the room–sitting in the same spot most of each day, leg hoisted up all helpless. I longed to be outside hiking among the trees and planning our next family outing. The T.V was on and my youngest was watching reruns of Peppa Pig most days as I struggled giving myself a break for giving her screen time for such long periods of time.
By the end of the first week I said F**k it.
This is happening. She will go outside and play by herself. My older kids will be fine if they eat bean and cheese burritos a couple of days in a row (they’d actually prefer it anyway.) We all sat and enjoyed each other’s company more and I learned to live my life as the inspirational quotes we see so often on social media:
Let it go.
Live life slowly.
Go with the flow.
Realizing that self-care is a priority
Someone said to me that my priorities are (in this order) Myself, my family, and my husband. While I was visibly offended at first, I began to listen to my heart about this a little. Why did I feel bad that I made myself a priority? Obviously, giving myself the space to take care of myself is always hard to do –but I always made time for it. Being injured was no exception.
My family thrives when I thrive
There’s a reason our family functions so well. When each of us take time to take care of ourselves first, we have energy to take care of others around us, and so on and so forth. I wish I could say that it’s easy for me to rely on my family to take over when I’m out of commission but I’m learning how to. A week ago, I travelled to Portland to visit family but also to heal. We did our annual pumpkin patch visit and pumpkin carving. We spent time digging into our nature pal exchange box.
Having this injury has given me the courage to trust my family more and allow myself to rest when my body says so. The one lesson that will stick the most is being grateful for my loved ones and the fact that my sprain could have been a lot worse.
How do you cope with injuries? Are there any lessons that you or your family learned in the experience?