Frustration comes when we are unable to do what we think we should be able to do. Frustration can hit at any level.
I broke my ankle seven months ago and have been in recovery ever since. About a month ago, I began the process of learning how to run again, and I’m telling you, it’s been a hard journey. The most frustrating part of my injury is that I feel like I should be farther along. It was almost easier knowing I couldn’t run than now getting back into it expecting that I should be able to run. Now that I appear back to normal, I’m frustrated because I’m not quite there yet! Normal is not a word I would describe where I am at.
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I know you can relate.
I’m pretty sure I’m speaking right to you, and you’re thinking of something that’s been frustrating to you because you feel like you’re working, working, working, but you’re not seeing the results you want quite yet, though you feel like you should have arrived already. Give me a “uhuh” in the comments below if you know what I’m talking about. Here’s the thing.
When something happens — I’m talking injury now, but it could be any roadblock — we don’t go back to normal just like that.
It takes time and patience. It takes work to get back to where we were and beyond. Usually, it’s not an easy road. It doesn’t mean we can’t get there, but it does mean that it’s going to take time to do it, and that can become so frustrating! Especially when you were so fit and healthy prior to the injury, and you find yourself unable to do what you want to do. That’s the definition of frustrating! I get it! I’m right there too.
Frustration comes when we are unable to do what we think we should be able to do. Frustration can hit at any level. So how do we push through and get on the other side of it?
Begin a gratitude journal
Reflect on the good in your life. If you stop to think on these things, you’ll realize, even in the midst of injury, you have much to be grateful for. Every day write down one to three positive things you’re thankful for. Some days you may have to dig deep to find something, but do it anyway.
Here are some of the things I’m grateful for:
- I’m grateful it was only my ankle. It will heal, and it could have been much worse.
- I’m grateful for good friends who brought me meals or just came for a visit so I wouldn’t be lonely.
- I’m grateful for an understanding husband who could take my frustrations because many times that’s who I let it all out on.
- I’m grateful my kids helped out around the house. My oldest learned how to do the laundry since I couldn’t climb down the stairs to do it, and he still does it every week, mostly unprompted!
- I’m grateful for a running community who encourages me to continue to grow stronger and not quit.
- I’m even sometimes grateful for the injury itself because, even though I wouldn’t have asked for it to happen, and it honestly stinks, I have learned more about myself and how to overcome in the last seven months than I have in a long time. I also know life would have continued to just be a never-ending busy season for me had I not had to slow down and reflect on what’s truly important.
Take the time to assess your life
Are you where you should be? Are you doing the most important thing? Where’s your focus? Is it in the right place?
While recovering, I’ve had time to look at my life and shuffle things around. I’ve been able to eliminate some things that aren’t what I need to be doing and aren’t driving my greater vision. I’ve been going, going, going, and never really seem to find rest, which in turn means no peace and less joy.
We weren’t made to be busy and stressed all the time. Even though it seems normal, it’s not! Injury stinks, but let it work on you and create a simpler life, a peaceful life. Assess if there’s anything you can or should let go of and just do it.
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Find a New Passion to Fill the Void in Your Life
Running has been a huge part of my life, and when all of a sudden it was taken away, it was like I lost a part of myself. I went from running an average of 6-8 miles a day to nothing. I went from working out at least an hour a day to struggling to complete 15 minutes a few times a week. My VO2 Max dropped from a 52 down to a 40. My passion for running or even just working out was taken away for a time. Thankfully, it’s not forever, and I’m up to running about 6-10 minutes three days a week. Now that doesn’t sound like much, but to me it’s progress.
RELATED: What Does Progress Look Like?
But in order to keep from going in a downward spiral and letting my injury lead to depression, I chose to find a new passion that could take the place of running for a time. I began writing more and found so much joy in it again! I began to realize the gift I hadn’t been using the way I should have been, but the love for writing came flowing back.
What’s a passion you have or could develop? Replacing running with writing helped me take my focus off my injury and how miserable I could have been had I chosen to wallow in my misfortune. I choose to live positively through it and grow my mental toughness even more. An injury will do that for you if you allow it to.
Our injuries are temporary.
Our roadblocks — some much larger or more traumatic than others — are temporary. If we choose to use them as learning experiences, we will get through them. It doesn’t mean we won’t have frustration or bad days (I’ve had many of those), but it does mean that we rise above them, let them work on us, and choose to focus our attention on the good in our lives instead of our setback.
“To conquer frustration, one must remain intensely focused on the outcome, not the obstacles.” — Author T.F. Hodge
If we choose to find a passion in the meantime, we will be victorious and maybe even find a love for something we didn’t know we had a gift for. Recovery from injury or life’s issues takes time and patience. Tears will come, frustrations will linger, but they don’t have to define you.
Don’t forget to let people in. If a friend offers to help, let her. Don’t steal her blessing. She wouldn’t be asking if she weren’t willing. Don’t seclude yourself. Include your family and friends. It’s easy to get into isolation when injury strikes. It’s okay to let down your guard and be vulnerable with those you love. Let them in. Allow them to see your pain. Be humble enough to let them be there for you because you know you’d want to be there for them if the tables were turned.
And, remember, you are a winner. Just run YOUR race!
I’d love to hear from you! What tricks have you found to help you curb the frustration when it tries to creep in? Leave a comment below and let me know.
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