4 Strategies to Keep Yourself Sane During Injury Recovery
By: Evelyn Pearcy, Krav Maga Instructor
I’m sure that most people have dealt with injury and recovery on some level. However, I think that there is something very distinct about the mindset and attitude of dedicated Krav Maga practitioners that can make injury and recovery particularly difficult to deal with. Over the past three months I’ve been dealing with both the pre- and post-operative recovery challenges of an ACL tear. What has made recovery mentally trying for me is the fact that I feel limited in my ability to connect with the Krav Maga community and mindset through training. Though I can’t speak to anyone’s experience with injury and recovery other than my own, I have gained over the years some useful guidance and advice on how to stay sane during recovery that I think can be particularly useful to any Krav practitioner in a similar situation. Here are four tips that work in unison that have helped me stay sane over the past few months:
1. Branch out:
It’s really easy for Krav to become a part of your schedule, life, and identity. That’s part of the beauty of Krav; when you train you become part of a community. However, by not consistently training, it can feel like you’re losing connection with that community. This is why it’s important to not let Krav be your only source of personal identity or development. During recovery, I’d suggest looking into or revisiting hobbies and activities that challenge you to grow and constantly improve. Part of the Krav mindset is constant improvement and growth - so, try taking that mindset and applying it to something new.
2. Keep training:
Krav is not only a tool for training a fighting mindset, it’s also an incredible tool to improve and gauge fitness. So, during recovery it’s important to challenge yourself physically in other ways. For example, at this stage in my recovery I’m not allowed to jump, run, twist, lift heavy, or pretty much anything that I really love doing that have come from my time training at Krav. So, instead I'm focusing on mobility training and intense physical therapy sessions so that my body is prepped and ready to go for when I can get back onto the mat.
3. Set measurable goals
Now, the follow up to consistent physical training is consistent goal setting. If I don’t set and keep consistent, measurable, goals, I won’t be able to take an objective look at the work I've done and how much I have left to go. It’s also important that these goals be measurable as well as quantifiable. I can set “I want to feel like I’ve regained strength in my left leg” as my goal, but how do I operationalize this and hold myself accountable? If I change the goal to “I want to be able to do 50 unassisted air squats by 3 months post surgery,” I have a quantitative goal that I can measure, follow through on, and hold myself accountable to.
4. Stay connected
This may sound like a deviation from the first point of advice, but I think it’s important to keep in mind that your injury or recovery schedule does not exclude you from the Krav Maga community or family at all. Just because you don’t come in to train every week doesn't mean that you aren’t welcome to stop by and say hello to your favorite instructors and partners. We want to see you while you’re healing! You will always be welcome at community and social events because even though you may not consistently be at the gym, the Krav Maga community will always be there to have your back while you recover.