Mind, brain

Staying Sane When You’re in Pain: 5 Lessons I Learned

The year I got back into the sport I love, figure skating, has been fraught with injury. Here are some strategies i’ve used to cope.

I am a fairly injury-prone person. Okay, understatement of the year – I’m extremely accident-prone. My parents like to recount how, as a youngster, I’d constantly trip and fall at the babysitter’s house, resulting in an always-scratched nose.

In 2014, I took up beach volleyball for the summer and one month in, rolled my ankle and broke a bone in my foot.

Well, this past year I took up figure skating again – a sport I used to do as a kid and missed so much. I got a coach and secured a spot for private lessons amongst the teenagers doing double axels. I worked out five days a week and was in good shape, so was looking forward to it being a good exercise activity and fun way to improve in something I love.

Figure skates

Cut to one month later – October 2016 — and I took a hard fall and shredded my meniscus, rendering me off the ice (and gym) for numerous weeks and into physio instead.

That injury was hard enough on me, not only physically but psychologically. I know, I know – it’s really not the end of the world and when put in perspective, not something to worry about. But not being able to work out like I did for months (I still wear a brace and can’t do what I used to) – a major stress-reliever for me – was still a challenge to my well-being.

I finally got back on the ice after that derailment and passed numerous tests, landed jumps and learned new spins.

Figure skating

Until I fell, again. (Note: ice ain’t forgiving!)

This time, what I thought was another injured knee ended up being far worse: an injured head. I was diagnosed as having a concussion.

My recuperation time (which involved very limited screen time, visual stimulation, exercise, etc.) gave me lots of opportunity to reflect. As difficult as it’s been, I realized I needed to find some sort of meaning from this awful experience to take forward with me to learn from. If not, I would’ve gone (even more) crazy!

5 Things I Had to Learn:

  1. Rest is productive

I constantly feel the need to be doing something from my to-do list or producing something to feel a sense of accomplishment, but when you can’t use devices, it forces you to focus on health and rest (which is productive).

  1. Take it slowly

I’m pretty sure half the accidents I endure could be thwarted by slowing down, being more deliberate about what I’m doing. Adding more mindfulness to our everyday activities — even mundane ones — can not only add to your happiness but reduce accidents, as well.

  1. Don’t take your health for granted

It’s only when we have the flu and miss volleyball tryouts or — in my case – have a concussion and be forced to skip out on paddleboarding on the river and jet skiing at the cottage in mid-July – that we take a second to appreciate and long for our good health and mobility. Don’t let an injury or illness make you realize you wish you could have done all kinds of things.

Flower, nature, dandelion

  1. Spend time in nature

We know it has magical healing powers, and I only really came to appreciate it when the only activity I could do was take slow walks through the park.

  1. Make something every day

Even while having a concussion, I was able to unleash some creativity into making delicious, not-complicated new breakfast recipes. This gave me a sense of accomplishment and something nutritious to eat. Whether it’s drawing something, writing a poem or whipping up a smoothie, creating something with your own hands is extremely satisfying – injured or not!

5 thoughts on “Staying Sane When You’re in Pain: 5 Lessons I Learned

  1. What a great post! Those are very important points for everyone to remember, injured or not. Glad you are on the mend!


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