Carrie Cheadle: Injuries and Setbacks Suck, Leveling Up Our Mental State Can Help Us Rebound From Tough Times And Be Hardier Athletes

June 26, 2020
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Carrie Cheadle is a Certified Mental Performance Consultant and author. She’s also been on Endurance Planet twice before, click here for her past appearances. Her most recent book, Rebound, is the topic of this episode and takes you through the mental training that complements healing from injury. And not just injury–the tools Carries presents transcend athletic injuries and are useful for anyone going through a tough time, including the abrupt and unexpected changes and cancellations we’re all facing in 2020 due to the covid19 pandemic. Grab your pen and paper or keep these show notes nearby because in this show, we dive into very specific topics presented in the book that set the stage for the tools you need to level up your mental game. Carrie is also host to the Injured Athletes Club podcast, and has a Facebook support group for injured athletes. We encourage you to pick up a copy of her new book, Rebound.

This book, Rebound, is not just helpful for injury. People are struggling for many reasons right now, and books like this can help. Injury parallels the covid19 pandemic cancellations and abrupt and unexpected changes to the 2020 season. Mainly, none of us are racing right now; we’ve had that taken away, so it’s a lot like being injured, and thus, the process to healing has parallels. From a mental perspective, we are all “injured athletes” in a sense right now… and it’s not easy!

On this episode:

Injury/setback is just as much MENTAL as it is PHYSICAL

  • Dealing with all the unknowns that come with an injury/setback can be challenging, but it’s also a normal part of the journey to encounter setbacks!
  • How to continue to stay motivated through setbacks by deliberately adjusting your goal(s)
  • Possible correlation between high levels of stress and those who get injured more often
    • More research needs to be done to determine the cause and effect.
  • Chronic stress can throw the HPA axis out of whack, making it more difficult for your parasympathetic nervous system to do its job of calming you down.
  • High levels of stress can affect:
    • Our immune system
    • Our brain, making it harder to make rational decisions
  • When we are under stress, sometimes self-care is one of the first things to go.
  • When injured, not racing, or in any position from which one needs to bounce back and recover— don’t ignore the mental component of the setback too.
  • During the recovery process, go F.A.R.
    • Feel – feel your feelings without guilt and label the specific emotion.
    • Accept – accept where you’re at right now.
    • Recover – your recovery is your sport!
  • “Injury ranks among the most stressful events you will go through as an athlete; not only are both your body and your mind under duress, but you’re often denied the regular endorphin boost that comes with intense physical activity. Proactively seek out these feel-good neurochemicals aids in recovery by countering the stress you’re enduring.”
    • ACTION: Make a list of alternative ways to boost endorphins, seek joy and support. 

Getting (un)stuck

  • If you want something to be different, you have to do something different.
  • Progress is not a perfect, upward trajectory.
  • Seek external support.

Control

  • Write down what is inside and outside of your control
    • What do you notice about the two sides? Which side do you feel like you have been living in?
    • Hardiness – personality construct made up of three different parts: control, challenge, and commitment
    • Encouraging a shift in focus on what you still can do
  • Our thoughts like to time travel; when we feel out of control usually we have traveled too far forward (i.e., too wrapped up in the what-ifs).
  • STAY PRESENT or cultivate the ability to bring yourself back to the present moment
    • Meditation is a tool to help cultivate/develop mindfulness.

Key takeaways

  • Do things to help mitigate stress.
  • Double-down on things that bring your joy and relaxation.
  • Have things to look forward to, even something small!
  • Incorporate random reminders into your life:
    • Set an affirmation reminder on your phone for your future self!
  • We have a tendency to want to run away from our emotions, but so much can be gained by allowing yourself to feel your feelings.
  • Treat yourself like you would treat a cherished loved one.
  • Give yourself compassion, kindness, and grace.