Healing Figures

Self Care and Inspiration for Dancers

3 Steps to Coping with Injury

I decided this would be a good place to start. A very personal place to start. After suffering a dislocated shoulder last August, I have been out injured for the last 8 months.

Injury can have a significant impact on many aspects of our lives. From having to stop what could be our passion, our livelihood or our hobby. To being in pain constantly and losing sleep. It can all have a major knock on effect to our mental health. And so learning ways to cope and help us through these difficult times is key.

One important step is acceptance. My daughter often reminds me that when I was first injured I said I'd take a week off and be back to class the next week! Little did I know how long the healing process would take. It's been a hard one to accept, but it's not a process that I can rush. If you want to get back to class, then recovery has to be taken seriously to prevent more long term injuries. So I follow my physio program and celebrate the slow and slight progress that I notice. Each little step gets me that much closer to returning. At this time, it's important to seek medical advise for any knock on effects, like pain and sleep. But it's even more important to use this time to focus on our mental health. Schedule in some self care and focus on mindfulness practise.

The second step I've taken is to keep exercising. You may not be able to take your usual class through your recovery, but you can try and keep your fitness levels up.  This will make your return that much easier. Focus on other areas of the body that you can work on. I've been focusing on my stomach muscles, so I can still manage something when I return to aerial! This gives something positive to focus on, and means the return to class might not feel so daunting.

Is there another class you could try while recovering? Something different that still sparks some passion. You could try yoga, or water aerobics. Trying out a different class could bring some fun and enjoyment as well as keeping up fitness. It may end up being something you continue long term. I found the dance class I joined (using one arm!) was relaxed, fun and supportive. I've made lots of friends and it's given me something to look forward to each week.

Recovering from injury can be a tough process. Having a positive mindset is key to helping you through these difficult times. But if you are struggling, please reach out for help and support.