I am a physical therapist that loves helping keep other surfers in the water, yet I have been dry-docked and out of the ocean for almost 18 months now—working through a back injury that has challenged me in every aspect of my life.
It’s hard to not get down on yourself when you can count on one hand how many time you have been able to get in the ocean and surf in the last year.
The reality of the situation is that I know there is temperance in everything, but when you are working through the drudges, the thick of having your life hijacked by an unwanted injury, it can be hard to see that. So here’s some ideas I’d like to share with you that have really been key/critical players in helping me get through this less than optimal time.
1) Stay visually connected to the ocean if possible… She has calming and healing powers that science is only just scratching the surface to understand.
2) Find ways to surround yourself by nature. As surfers we are used to being immersed in salt water.. and if that’s just not possible, try trees, mountains, fields.. anything that can comfort and soothe you.
3) Create a meditation practice... even if it’s just 2 minutes in your day. There are 23 hours and 58 other minutes that you can let your thoughts take you away. I find that using a guided meditation app like Calm or Headspace really can help.
4) Seek other ways to connect to your spirituality. For me, surfing was my spiritual time, my community, my exercise, my stress relief... it was the anecdote to so many ‘life issues’. It took me a few months to realize that I was spiritually starving.
5) Write, draw, paint, photo... Expressing emotion through creativity has the power to heal and raise your mood.
6) Remember that this is YOUR healing process... and no 2 journey’s are the same. Easier said than done, but no 2 people are dealing with the same set of circumstances, so please try to hold off on ‘comparison mode’ of someone else who may have gone through something similar.
7) Consider that there are other underlying reasons as to how you got here. I’m not suggesting that you could have necessarily changed the outcome or the circumstance that lead to your injury, but it’s worthwhile to look at ‘how you got here’ as well as ‘what is this teaching you’?
8) Consider looking at this phase in your life as a time for ‘full spectrum’ healing... and it may require some radical life changes in order to get through. This is legit. It’s probably the dooziest-doozer on this list in terms of overwhelm and reality check. Cutting out things/food/people/energy/ places that no longer serve you can be terrifying, yet critical to your healing.
9) Remember what connected you to surfing in the first place. I think this is important because it will help guide you back to ‘how’ you want to continue to surf in the future. If it’s absolutely critical that you surf a punchy wave on a shorter board, it’s going to mean you have to work towards that. If you ‘re okay just grabbing a few ankle-biters and embracing ‘the glide’, then you have a set goal.
10) Get help. As much of it as you can… PT, acupuncture, Pilates, coaching, therapy, sound healing, yoga… Whatever it takes! It’s worth the investment… Don’t minimize this. Don’t overly depend on your health insurance to find the professionals that are going to help you get through this time.
I realize injuries change financial pictures, making things even more stressful, but this is not the time to be bargain-hunting simply in the name of saving money. Recognize that this is definitely one of the areas that ‘you get what you pay for’, and while having health insurance cover some aspects of your care, it may not get you to your final goals alone.
Looking for a little guided support during your journey back to health? Want to dive into these 10 steps a little further? Surf Body Connection is here to help!
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