Editor’s note: The following article is written by a Skinny Mom Resident Mom. The Resident Mom program gives a voice to our readers, allowing moms across the world to contribute content to Skinny Mom. If you’re interested in becoming a Resident Mom, click here to apply.
When I could hardly bear any weight on my ankle after a 16-mile run, I knew it was time to see a doctor. Two days later, my orthopedic surgeon told me he was confident I had a stress fracture in my ankle but could order an MRI to confirm if I wanted; I asked for the MRI. With the possibility of at least an eight-week recovery for a stress fracture, I wanted to make sure I really needed to stop running for that long. Running is the way I stay sane. It’s my happy place.
>> Read more: Ouch! Are You Just Sore or Is It More?
Not only did the MRI confirm the stress fracture, but it also showed a torn tendon in the same area of my ankle. Not only was running out of the question for at least eight weeks, but I also couldn’t do any weight-bearing activity for at least six weeks. In other words, I was limited to upper body strength training. I was sure six weeks without any form of cardio was going to make me crazy, and possibly a little plump.
>> Read more: Top 8 Worst Workout Injuries You Should Be Aware Of
Yet seven weeks later, I was still sane and could still fit in all my clothes. There were a few things that brought about these two small miracles. So if you’re facing a fitness injury, here are the things I did that may help you through it, too.
1. Do something. Don’t sit around wallowing in self pity. I’ll admit, this was harder some days than others. There is even an entry in my fitness journal where instead of that day’s workout, all I wrote was “Pity Party.” You can allow yourself to have those moments and even a day or two here and there when you feel bad for yourself, but don’t let it consume you. Figure out what you CAN do, rather than focusing on what you can’t, then DO IT! For me, this was strength training. I alternated core and upper body workouts and did the few lower body exercises that wouldn’t aggravate my injury, such as squats and leg lifts.
>> Read more: 32 Moves to Sculpt Your Upper Body
2. Make it count. Use this time to focus on other things. For me, this meant cleaning up my eating and focusing on strengthening some of my weaker areas. This not only helped keep those extra pounds from piling on, but it also helped distract me from the fact that I wasn’t running. It was just a bonus when I began to actually enjoy and look forward to strength training.
3. Step back. Take a break from social media if seeing all the posts about people’s latest runs, rides or workouts makes you sad, angry or frustrated. Injuries come with enough emotions; there’s no need to pile on extra. I set up my Instagram so I would get notifications when family members and close friends would post so I wouldn’t be tempted to spend time scrolling through my feed. I found that I not only stopped resenting people who were healthy and working out to their heart’s content, but I also began feeling better about myself because I wasn’t constantly comparing my imperfections and failings to what I perceived were other people’s perfections and accomplishments.
Getting through a fitness injury isn’t easy, but it also isn’t impossible. It’s just a matter of figuring out what it will take to get through it without making yourself and everyone else around you miserable. One of my favorite mantras is “Keep moving forward.” It has gotten me through some tough runs when all I wanted to do was sit down on the side of the road. As I return to running, I will now be able to think about how I kept moving forward during a time when I couldn’t run and I will know that I was strong when being strong was the last thing I wanted to be!