This is Part 2 of my journey with a back injury and what I have done to move onwards and upwards. If you haven't read Part 1 yet, you can find it here.
To recap from where I left off; I had torn a ligament in my lower back and for three months was unable to do normal day to day activities like taking a shower, bending down to tie my shoes or exercise. I have talked about the hardship I went through and all my emotions in Part 1, but now I want to share the amazing positives that came out of the injury and the long recovery process.
Rehab. I know what it is and what it involves, but until I had to go through it myself I really had no idea what it meant. It was 12 long, agonizing weeks of nothing but rest and listening to my body. It doesn't get much more boring than that. But during this period I got to experience a whole new side to my body and what it was capable of. I learnt how to feel tightness and actually take the time to stretch when I needed it. I learnt to relax (I had to learn!), my muscles were so tight that it was either getting dry needling on a weekly basis or learning how to relax my muscles. I chose the less painful option of relaxing. I would go home every night and light a candle and just lay there, totally relaxed and calm. It's unbelievable how much your mind can process when you are at peace.
The day I was allowed to exercise again is so clear in my mind! My physiotherapist said I could do three minutes on the cross trainer and three minutes on the spin bike and those six minutes felt amazing after not doing anything for three months. I was in heaven. Not only did I learn what rehab and recovery actually meant, but more importantly I was taught how significantly your attitude towards recovery process can determine how quickly you get better. I wouldn't have bounced back had I not been so patient.
Patience. I would like to say I was a fairly patient person prior to my injury, but only being able to train 10 minutes max at a time for weeks on end is the new meaning of patience to me. It would have been SO easy to push my body on my good days and just do a little bit more and a little bit harder - just because I can. But deep down I knew that it was too risky, whereas before I wouldn't even have questioned it, I would have just pushed through the pain and ignored it.
If you take out all my time that I would normally spend training or participate in a fitness event and you are left with a lot of spare time. I went from training every day to not at all. I suddenly had all this free time and I could have easily just kicked back and wasted my time, but instead I devoted my time to developing myself and helping my clients in all ways possible. The last six months of 2015 were terrible in terms of my own health, but they were the best six months I have ever had in my career. I am a hard worker and have always been and just because an injury had knocked me down and I couldn't train didn't mean there wasn't other ways I could inspire my clients and help them become the best version of themselves. I devoted all my time to helping others and I just happened to love every minute of it!!
I knew that my body would eventually recover and although it wasn't happening as fast as I wanted it or as painless as I would have liked it to be, I had to keep going. I had to distract myself from the pain and boredom and I had to keep moving forward. I cannot begin to tell you what an emotional mess I would have been if I had taken time off work or stopped everything I love. Yes, of course you can feel sorry for yourself for a bit, but time doesn't stop for anyone or anything and it certainly wasn't going to stop for me.
Fast forward; 2016 has been one of my best years yet. I've completed numerous fitness events, including a full marathon and an Olympic distance triathlon. I have continued to work hard on myself and I won Mentee of the year for the entire Vision Network. I had my eyes set on the target and I truly believe that if you want something bad enough, nothing is going to stop you from getting there. Yes, last year was hard, I'm not going to lie, but the pain was worth it in the long run. I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for what I have gone through. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
Don't give up, things happen for a reason. I learnt a lot from my injury and rehab experience and I am actually glad it happened to me. I am stronger, more patient and more empathetic and I listen to my body with a lot more care now than I used to.
To my amazing bosses Alex and Tom, thank you for being patient with me and allowing me to continue working with an injury. To my wonderful colleges, thank you for helping me when I needed it and for always being there for me through the good and bad days. And most importantly to my Hawthorn family/clients, your support and understanding through this period in my life, I am forever grateful. Courtney xxx
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