strategies for coping with injury

Strategies for coping with injury is my follow up to last week’s post on the Mental Burden of Injury. It’s one thing to be bogged down by all the emotions and sadness, but it’s another to dig out of it. However, if we don’t overcome,

strategies for coping

Honor Your Feelings

I am pretty terrible at this, but honoring your feelings is a critical part of the process. People suffering from longterm injury or illness are going to experience sadness, anger, depression, anxiety, bitterness and a whole range of emotions. Swallowing them isn’t one of the best strategies for coping: it’s ok to acknowledge those feelings and let them out.

strategies for coping

Talk To Someone

Sure, it’s cliche, but you have to talk to someone. Anyone. Reach out to your partner, a friend, a parent. Let them know you just need to vent and then let it all out. Sometimes, it helps to have a shoulder on which to cry. Be sure to let them know you aren’t looking for solutions, but you just need to give voice to what you’re feeling. Advice can be great, but in these moments, it’s not always what we need to hear. It’s also more than ok to find a therapist for these conversations, if you need a little more help.

strategies for coping

Join A Support Group

The beauty of the internet is that it’s easy to find things like support groups, virtual or physical. While it can be hard opening up to strangers, it’s comforting to know you are absolutely not alone and that others can commiserate and even share their anecdotal experiences. I find it helpful to chat with people who have gone through similar injuries or circumstances, just to know what I’m feeling is normal. Try checking out The Injured Athletes Club on Facebook, as a start.

strategies for coping

Redirect Your Focus

While we all know you would rather be running (or whatever your activity of choice is), in this recovery period, it may be time to look at other options. Focusing your unused energy elsewhere may keep your mind off the things you can’t do and help you pass time more quickly. If you can’t be active one way (running), can you do something else like upper body weights or swimming? Maybe you can take up a new hobby if you’re confined to the couch. Learn to knit, conquer War and Peace, start a 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle… Do anything to pull yourself out of your own head.

strategies for coping

Be Gentle With Yourself

I know I often fall into a spiral of beating myself up when I’m down. My frustrations center on me not being strong enough or good enough. I get angry that my recovery isn’t progressing as quickly as I might like or that I am so limited in some things. It’s not ok, and I have to remember to be kind. Take the naps. Get the proper nutrition. Challenge yourself but don’t push too hard. Love yourself and show yourself grace. Nothing good can come from constant self-criticism or negative talk, so be gentle as you heal.

strategies for coping

Remember, you are not alone. It may not get better on your terms or in your time, but progress isn’t linear and things can improve.

I am linking up for Tuesday Topics with KookyRunner and Zenaida.

Please visit these lovely bloggers, plus check out some of the other blogs on the link-up, and don’t forget to share your own post, as well!

What are your favorite strategies for coping with longterm injury or illness?

Please remember, you are not alone. If things feel like they are too much or you’re afraid you might hurt yourself or others, text HOME to 741741 in the U.S. (please refer to for other options) You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat online at

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14 Responses to strategies for coping with injury

  1. These are great tips. I’ve found talking things out with someone and refocusing my energy and time in something new to be really helpful.

  2. My focus shifted to walking when I was sidelined from running. I walked everyday, and it became am awesome substitute. I grew to love those early morning walks so much, they have continued 🙂 Like you said, it’s important to focus on what you can do rather than dwell on what you (temporarily) cannot.

  3. Rachel says:

    Whenever I’m injured I shift my focus. That’s definitely been helpful. One time I focused a lot on yoga. Another time I focused on cycling. If I have to be sedentary in the future, I’ll probably pick up crafting again. I used to make all sorts of bracelets and necklaces. It was fun and relaxing.

  4. I would say being gentle with yourself is key. I tried to set small different goals for myself when I couldn’t run

  5. One of the wonderful things I’ve gained from blogging is the wisdom from other runners – thank you. It’s nice to get words of encouragement when we’re injured and frustrated; and it’s nice to commiserate with other injured runners. Here’s hoping we’re both back on the running trail soon!
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted…Wishing You the Happiest of Holidays with a Favorite Christmas MemoryMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I honestly don’t know what I would do without my blogging community. I have gotten so much support and helpful tips and all of it is what’s carrying me through. I hope you’re feeling better!

  6. I like the idea of redirecting your focus. It’s always good to have something else to focus your energy on when you have an injury.
    Sandra Laflamme recently posted…Wanderlust and WanderWide Adventure ArtMy Profile

  7. Great tips! Being gentle to yourself is key. It can be as simple as reminding ourselves that we are still strong people and/or remembering that we will get better and stronger. What I do is buy new gear. Not very helpful since I cannot use it anyway. But it does make me feel better. 🙂
    Zenaida Arroyo recently posted…Weekly Run Down: Treadmill running and I want to buy a treadmillMy Profile

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