As some of you may know, I am an ambassador for Still I Run. Ironically enough, I got the news I was accepted to be an ambassador about a week before I hurt my back. The irony being that Still I Run is a cause that supports running to help with mental health, plus a great charity organization. And, well, I couldn’t run. To say the last month and a half has been a challenge is an understatement.
My reason for applying for Still I Run is that I use running as a tool to help with my depression. I was diagnosed with it in my 20’s and have suffered bouts of depression ever since. Sometimes, I can feel it coming on and I can be proactive. Other times, it pops up and I don’t realize until I’ve been in bed for a week and gained five pounds. (Plus, crying and be a dick to my loved ones. Good times.)
I knew I was going to go through it as it dawned on me after the first week that this wasn’t going to be a quick recovery. It’s been quite the opposite. I’m doing well currently. I did a lot of workouts this week pain free – I know I’m very close to being recovered. This has been a good week. The previous few weeks…not so much. (If you see me looking a little chubby, just know that I was sad. In a few weeks, I’ll be back to normal weight and be happy. That’s how I roll. Mmmmm rolls….)
Injury can be isolating for athletes. As someone who adores working out with a group – this aspect hits me hard. The drop in steady endorphins is also a challenge. I say all of this to add yet another post about things that have helped me. (Don’t say yoga. I get it. Everyone loves yoga. I know it’s helpful, but I’m tired of being told to do yoga. I promise I will do it if you all stop telling me about it.)
Top Ten Things That Have Helped My Mental Health During Injury
- Books – I’m an avid reader. I found Matt Haig’s The Comfort Book to be just that. It’s like a hug in book form. It’s a book about his struggle with depression but with lots and lots of useful thoughts, quotes, and suggestions on how to help with your own. Plus, he’s a runner, so he’s gotta be a good dude.
- Music – I find songs that make me cheery when I need them, and songs that let me wallow when I need them. During difficult times, you need both. Kacey Musgraves’ Rainbow is a great place to start for a pick-me-up.
- More books – A great friend bought me Rebound: Train Your Mind to Bounce Back Stronger from Sports Injuries by Cindy Kuzma and Carrie Cheadle. It’s been useful for the mental side of being injured.
- Movies – I’m currently OBSESSED with Everything Everywhere All at Once. But you can find your own movie obsession that helps you feel better. If that’s slasher films (which I also enjoy) then so be it. I’m quite happy watching the final girl trope over and over again. You get ’em Sydney! (Points for getting that reference.)
- Friends and Family – Lean on them. Find the ones who are like The Comfort Book. Stay away from the Debbie Downers, Naysayers, Ne’er-Do-Wells, Nincompoops, and Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins-es.
- Walks – I used to loathe walking. But since I’ve been injured I’ve gotten to love a good walk. Plus, I am now a seriously fast walker. Like I mean, zoom zoom. Ha.
- Swimming – Again, one of the things that seems most injured folks can do. And even if you can’t swim – be near water. The ocean, a lake, a hot tub, a shower, a regular tub. In my opinion water in all forms is a cure all. Just keep swimming.
- Cleaning – Hear me out. Sometimes just making your bed makes you feel like you have your shit together.
- Pets – Dear lord, get a dog or a cat. Or find someone who has one you can spend time with. Dogs love every single stupid thing about you. They’re idiots. But they are the best idiots in the entire world. Cats sometimes allow a snuggle and can warm up your lap when they feel like it.
- Naps – I can veer too far into the sleeping too much category. However, this is nothing like a good afternoon nap.