I don’t know about you, but I have a mind that is constantly on the go. From the outside it can look like you have it all under control, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Then add injury into the equation, my mind activity multiplies by about 100%, which can be exhausting.
At times I struggle to sit down and focus because my mind just won’t shut off. I always feel like I need to be doing something and be busy in order to occupy my mind. Otherwise it operates at 100 miles an hour, constantly. At times I wish I could just hit the off switch on my mind, but it isn’t as easy as this. I’m used to releasing this brain and physical energy through running, and I do struggle when that’s taken away.
However, I always try to slow my mind down at these times. Sometimes it is the complete opposite to busy that helps calm my mind. Here’s what I try to do when my mind feels a bit too much.
Do what you CAN.
Instead of focusing on what I can’t do, I find it helpful to focus on what I CAN do. At the start of my injury it was just core and a small bit of work in the pool, therefore I focused on working myself hard in these areas. This way you feel like you have done something and get the little boost that exercise can provide whilst not getting too deflated by what you can’t do. When you are so used to training a lot, it can take its toll mentally when it is taken away, so I always try to do a little bit of something, no matter how big or small. A little bit will always make you feel better than none at all.
This is one that you really need to get in to because it acts as a complete form of escapism. If you find yourself a good book, one that is to your taste, you can become so consumed by it that your mind is temporarily taken somewhere else. It is a great hour or so where you can forget about your injury and take yourself to another world.
I find writing a very therapeutic act. If I can put my thoughts on paper, I can slowly unpack them and try to understand where my thoughts are coming from. Writing may not be for everyone, but even so, putting your worries or troubles down on paper can allow you to rationalise them a lot more.
It may sound silly, but colouring is actually incredibly mindful. Just like reading, it allows you to become completely absorbed by the activity. Your mind is able to switch off (and calm down) without you even realising as your energies are redirected elsewhere. You are also consumed by something, so your thoughts are not able to drift away with themselves.
Most runners have had to battle with injury at some point, and if you haven’t, you are doing very well! Whether you have or haven’t been injured, you can relate to the struggle of having running taken away from you. For this reason, every runner understands how you feel.
If you find your mind working at 100 miles an hour, and find it difficult to cope with, I hope some of these might help settle it a little bit.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!