We have all been there at one point in our life.
If you haven’t, lucky you. I assume you live in a cave and spend your time playing chess with albino cave crabs. Good on ya.
Injuries are ways that your body talks to you when you don’t listen.
If your body could talk and you and her went into a conversation after a crash, it would sound like this:
Body: “Hey you, you know when you crashed into that tree, it really hurt and I think I need some time alone. “
You: “Hold on, you and me are the same person.”
Body: “Okay then, I am going to give you a hard time just so you don’t forget to treat me nicely.
And oh yea, don’t even think about snowboarding again while I’m upset, because I will make you suffer.”
You won’t be getting back on your board anytime soon until your body loves you again.
How to make your body love you again? Like any relationship, it takes time, commitment and flowers.
Take a Rest
Best way to recover is to rest. Sleep is vital to heal muscles and bones. This doesn’t mean though that you should become madame Blobby as you merge with your couch, watching all the seasons of Project Runway.
Whatever injury you have, unless your physician specifically asks you to stay in bed, keep moving. It helps the recovery process.
Put good Nutrition into your Body
Essential for dealing with inflammation are anti-inflammatory fats that you can find in fish. If the idea of eating our fishy friends doesn’t appeal to you, try avocados, nuts or flax seed oil. Add to that some fresh garlic and turmeric. For dessert, eat some fresh pineapple with a glass of cocoa or green tea. Best way to have green tea is to fill a teapot with loose leaves and invite your friend, neighbor, partner to join you. Having people around you is essential for your recovery.
Of course you need to eat plenty of veggies and some carbs from whole grain rice and bread. Check out my recipe for home-made energy bars, packed with all the good stuff. Taking supplements helps too. Especially vitamin A and Zinc supplements.
It is important for you, as a human being to self-reflect. I do often and you can read the result of my inner dialogues in my post 30 Lessons I’ve learned in 30 Years.
You can self-reflect in different ways. Meditate, daydream, go for long walks, listen to music, watch the sunset. Self-reflecting is not overthinking though. Overthinking bases on fear and doesn’t really help you get anywhere closer to your goal.
Self-reflecting is more of a learning experience, where you think about your injury. What caused it to happen? What could you have done differently and how is this experience going to help you get better at what you do?
These thoughts of course only happen after you’ve gotten through the screaming and crying after your doctor told you how long you’ll be off snow.
“HOW LONG? YOU MEAN THIS IS THE END OF MY SEASON?”
Go for a Spa
There’s a reason why spa’s are so popular. It’s because they work.
Massages and body treatments help your body recover. Naturally, consult with your physician first before you decide on having you toxins violently scrubbed out of your system.
My favorite place for a spa in New Zealand is Hanmer Springs.
Dealing with after-injury Fear
The biggest problem often occurs after recovery. I have been there and still am there, since I haven’t snowboarded any tree runs since my crash in Japan.
When you have a lot of time at hand and you don’t know what to do, it’s easy to slip into negative thinking.
That’s what happened to me two seasons ago. I had been bodyslamming a box for a couple of weeks until my body decided it had had enough abuse. Result was a muscle spasm that lasted for three weeks and made it impossible for me to walk or sit up straight.
I was in so much disbelieve when this happened. No dramatic crash but here I was, completely immobile. So I got scared, very scared.
Pro Mental Game by Jussi Tarvainen
I had read an article that season in NZ Snowboarder Magazine about a book that could help you get over your fears after injury. Having time on my hand, I bought the book, which was called Pro Mental Game. It was written by former pro-snowboarder Jussi Tarvainen, who started up a coaching program for athletes and amateurs of extreme sports like parkour, mountainbiking and of course the best sport of all time, snowboarding.
I have read and re-read the book several times.
The book taught me that I needed to start taking care of my body more. By that time, cigarettes had already been banned from mysteriously ending up at my lips. But that wasn’t enough, the stress I put my body through every winter was more than it could handle.
For five seasons I had put it through a routine of four months of extreme activity, followed by three months of extreme laziness.
Then my body said “Enough already, you crazy person! I am going to take breaks when you least expect it,” So I ended up with a muscle spasm after a season of practically not-snowboarding.
I needed to work out in between seasons, so I started running. That has recently been complemented by core strengthening exercises. I stretch more often, although I still get lazy about this. Stretching needs to happen before and after snowboarding. I also take time warming up.
Making good Decisions
I have been injured several times, mostly because I possess a character trait called blind optimism.
In most cases this is my advantage in life. How else could I have left a comfortable life to go out and hitchhike alone up through British Colombia to the Yukon? A journey that my friend in Toronto strongly advised against because of bears.
On that note, I never got attacked by a bear on that trip. A nice truck driver picked me up and insisted on buying me breakfast before he dropped me off in Whitehorse.
I have also learned the hard way that my blind optimism sometimes is a disadvantage.
Snowboarding is an extreme sport. This means that whenever I leave my comfort zone and try something new and succeed, like doing a boardslide on a box, a sudden rush of adrenaline makes me as drunk as a Dutchman standing next to a Jenever stall on a Christmas market.
This means I might think I just grew ten centimeters taller, but reality is, I did not instantly become Torah Bright. That is when good decision making skills come into place.
Jussi’s book talks about using your brain as well as your optimism to make good decisions. You need to be aware of your capabilities and feel secure enough to ride away from a box, reduce your speed in between trees and take a day off when your body needs it.
Fear is all in your head, he says, and it is up to you to decide if that fear is going to hold you back or not. The book has basic exercises, that learn you how to work with your fears and to make good decisions.
This is how you build a good relationship with your body. You have to, because you are nothing without her and she is nothing without you.
So go for that spa, take a rest and read Jussi’s book.
Your body loves you.