Raise your hand if you are in “recovery mode.” Recovery mode has many forms. From a hard workout to a late night out on the town, a long flight, the flu, or recovering your home through an unexpected remodel after a water leak (yep, that’s me), to deeper recovery wounds like the loss of a loved one or of course, recovering from an addiction. The list goes on. We are recovering all the time in varying degrees of intensity and we are even in recovery mode from the daily demands of life.
So what does recovery mean?
To generate support through the discomfort
To return to normal state of health, mind, body and spirit
The process of regaining something
To restore to a better condition
To right oneself after a mishap
To get back up
To rise up
Isn’t that more than you originally thought when you saw the word “recovery”? And our human bodies are re-calibrating continually to get back to a healthy state. In scientific terminology, this is called homeostasis. Our finely-tuned physiology is perpetually dedicated to regulate and maintain healthy parameters. This constant equilibrium mechanism drives core temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, pH level in the bloodstream, blood glucose, fluid balance, energy balance, the neuroendocrine system, iron levels and more, so you function optimally.
Recovering back to health is the goal. And just like the word recovery, there are so many definitions of health. What does it mean to you right now? Because it is dynamic. It may resonate as something different to you tomorrow, next year, or in 10 years. Health has life. It fluctuates with the phases of life and within our lifestyle.
My beloved football team, the Philadelphia Eagles, sustained multiple injuries and therefore recoveries to come back and complete their best season ever in 2017, eventually winning the Super Bowl. They had a long list of injuries, a second string quarterback, and they went into the big game as the underdogs, rounding out the definition of resilience in team sports. I feel just as happy as a Super Bowl win when any of my own personal patients recover and go on to achieve their personal goals. For example, professional snowboarder Mark McMorris lived through the ultimate tale of recovery and resilience last year. After nearly dying in a snowboarding accident in the Whistler backcountry in March 2017, he faced a massive recovery. His injuries were extensive and life-threatening. His snowboarding career in question. Yet, he rose up. He endured. He got back on his snowboard five months later after we worked together through an intense rehabilitation to then have an incredible season, winning two golds in China, a bronze at X Games Aspen, a bronze at the PyeongChang Olympics and a gold at the US Open in Vail. What a year!
Inspiring stories of recovery and resilience are like pure, genuine hugs. They make us feel human. They remind us we are not alone. Recovery mode is a vulnerable and tender experience that may force you to change your original course. Like remodeling your house. Or remodeling your life.
With that in mind, maybe try these five steps to magnify your recovery and return to health. And remember, it’s a process:
1. FEEL: What sensations physically and emotionally are you feeling right now? Recognize them. Be aware of them. What are they telling you?
2. GRATITUDE: Slow down for a minute and say or write one thing you’re grateful for, in this moment
3. MOVE: Stand up and do 10 jumping jacks or 10 push-ups or dance to your favorite song
4. BREATHE: Two minutes of mindful, thoughtful breaths
5. LAUGH: I just finished Amy Schumer’s book, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo.It’s hilarious and unexpectedly meaningful! Find laughter through funny YouTube videos, usually, pets or pandas are a good start. Or phone a friend to brighten each other’s day.