Lessons of 2018, Life of 2019

So, I know that it is about 10 days into 2019 but I feel like I should share my lesson from 2018 and my new goals for 2019! For those who have already read my “Background About Me” post, some this information you will already know but that is okay! I felt like I need to have this background story so that the lessons of 2018 and my goals of 2019 to make sense. Enjoy!

Background Story

I am a 21-year-old who has just graduated from college, was a varsity basketball player, and have been through 2 ACL surgeries (which yes, I know, super crazy that a young woman has already been through two surgeries). In the last year of my first program, Health and Fitness Promotion, I tore my ACL for the second time after coming back after the Christmas holiday in 2016. I was crushed (and my surgeon wasn’t too happy either).  But after that, I took the step in 2017 to focus on getting ready for my second surgery to fix my knee and was training to build as much strength as I could until the Christmas of 2017 when my surgery was booked. Surgery happened and so did the new year. 2018 was a year that I focused on recovering from my ACL reconstruction surgery and that came with A LOT of challenges. I was scared, lost, and worried that my life wasn’t going to be the same because I wasn’t playing the sport I had played all my life. I wasn’t able to do the training that I was doing pre-surgery, I got a job, and was in a graduate certificate program for Activation Coordination in Gerontology. It was so overwhelming. I remember at the start of my recovery that I was so frustrated that I couldn’t do a simple movement that I was crying so much. My mom gave me some advice and said “I know that you want to do all the things you were doing before. I know that you are frustrated and upset. But look back when you started prehabilitation for this surgery. You never gave up on getting stronger, you took your time and let it come when your mind and body was ready to do it”. Which just slapped me across the face. I spent the end of 2017, taking my time and listening to my body because it was hurt and going through new changes, and this wasn’t anything different.

    After that, I started to listen to my body more in my recovery. By doing that, I was able to make greater gains in my recovery than I did the first time. I was super happy about that, I was ahead of what the guidelines that my surgery had, my physiotherapist was happy, and I was happy. 

As I continued to recover, I started to realize that I was missing something in my life. Yes, I was back at the gym doing my physio for my knee, lifting, doing my fitness thing. But something just didn’t feel right, and I noticed that my recovery started to “fall off the track”. I wasn’t making any gains and I was at a standstill. My boyfriend told me that I wasn’t acting like myself, and I was just so unmotivated to do anything. After a long conversation with my boyfriend, I realized that I was focusing SO much on the physical rehab that I forgot about the other parts of me. I wasn’t doing any type of self-care, I wasn’t being social outside of my classroom, and I wasn’t taking care of my mind. I was so worried and stressed about my knee and school, I forgot about me.

So, I started to find a balance in 2018. I started to add a bullet journal in my life to help me track my mood, my habits, and my thoughts to help me see when I wasn’t okay and need to take a step back. I started to do meditations, to give me a positive way to cope with the stress when my mind was going a million miles an hour.  I started to go out on dates with friends and my boyfriend. I made sure to read the books that I wanted to and not just books for school.

    Now that 2018 is coming to an end, I found a huge improvement in my well-being. I was making the gains in the gym (I am free to do whatever I want now, but if I wish to return to sport, I must go through some testing. You would think that my surgeon doesn’t trust me or something, ha-ha), I improved my relationship with all my loved ones, I found new music and books that I love, and I am just so much happier that I have ever been. That is because of this injury that has caused a massive change in my life. It took out the thing that used to be the center of my world, basketball, and took it right out of my life. It made me look at myself in a different light, I wasn’t just the fitness, basketball player. I am Samantha and I can do anything that I set my mind to.

Lessons from 2018.

–    Whatever you want to do or want to be successful it takes time. Yes, you will get frustrated and feel like giving up but don’t, because, in the end, you will be happy that you stayed with it.

–    A set back can be the best thing for you. It sounds weird, but it is true. My huge set back in 2018 was tearing my ACL for the second time and having to re-do all my rehab. But from that, I learned about my body (how it feels, how to listen to it, that sports aren’t my life), and the work ethic and dedication that I got from it.

–    You need to do it for you. You don’t have to follow the diets, fitness routines, reading, or whatever that your friends or everyone is doing. You need to find what works for you. You do not need to compare yourself to other people. Because at the end of the day, if you are not happy with what you are doing, you need to do WHAT makes YOU happy and not others. If that means skipping out on the gym because you want to read this awesome book, do it!

–    The gym isn’t everything. Yes, fitness and going to the gym is important to keep your muscles and heart healthy, but it isn’t everything. You need to take care of yourself in ALL areas of your life. Go out with friends to do something you always wanted to do. Read that book that has been on your shelf forever. Try meditation. Eat that pizza. It is all about balance your life.

–    Meditation. It was the biggest thing that saved me this year. I have bad anxiety and learning to breathe and listen to my body was the best thing to help me cope with it. It gave me an opportunity to be with myself. No one else, just my body, mind, and soul.

–    Adaptogens: These are mushrooms that help balance your body. There are a lot of different types. Check out Four Sigmatic or Miss Fit and Nerdy on YouTube for more information about them. But I love the Lion’s Mane and Chaga, it helps me start my day with being focused and with little to no crash! Also, Kombucha, I love this drink to help keep my gut happy!

–    Friends. Friends at the end of the day will build you up and bring you joy in your life. My gym buddy was the biggest supporter of my recovery. If I didn’t have him, I think that my recovery wouldn’t go as well as it did. He helped me push myself but also reminded me to stay safe.

–    IF YOU HAVE NEGATIVE FRIENDS, GET THEM TO GO!  I did that this year in 2018 and it was the best thing for me! I didn’t have this negative cloud around me or that I feel like I had to act like them. I was able to be myself and not worry about being judged.

–    Fuel yourself.  Eat healthy but don’t overdo it. In 2017 and some of 2018, I was so strict with myself that I wasn’t fueling my body to make it happy. Now, I do the 80/20 rule, which pretty much means about 80% of the time, I eat healthy and the other 20%, I eat what I want! It really gave my mind, soul, and body the balanced it needed.  And Fuel your mind, and soul too! Learn something new each day. Take time for yourself to fuel from the inside.

My Goals and Things I am Excited About in 2019.

          As the new year is coming in fast, I started to think about the goals I wish to set and things that I am excited about which is a lot of things.  Some of the things that I am excited about for 2019 is that my best friend and I are doing the “100 days of Productivity “because it just focuses on doing anything productive each day for the next 100 days. Check out, rayowag.com and search 100 days of Productivity to get more information about it. For me, that is something that I want to focus on this year and that challenge is a great way to start off and get into a habit. Also, I am excited to start my career in the field of Activation with seniors! I have two amazing jobs that I cannot wait to learn from.

 I am going to break down my goals into the different areas of wellness, I started to do this after my Health and Fitness Promotion program because it is a big deal to look at the whole and not just a part of it. It is called the 6 dimensions of wellness and it looks at the physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social and environmental parts of your life.

Physical: To add more movement to my days. What I mean by that is being more physically active over just exercising. Adding in walks after meals or in the morning, parking away from the entrance of a store, etc.

Emotional: To accept myself for who I am. As a young woman coming into a different journey and that I will be changing each day. I have struggled with loving myself for many years and this year, I really want to focus on this and find a way to truly love me for me.

Intellectual: Be open to new ideas/interests. I have a hard time coping with events or ideas that change in the last second or a friend pushing me to do try something new. I want to open my mind to be able to let it grow and challenge myself in different ways.  I really want to get into board games and knitting! So, I think I will start off with that then go into more interests and ideas later in the year.

Spiritual: To be more in touch with myself, to have a better mind-body connection. A lot of the time, I feel like I am so out of touch with how I am feeling or even doing. I am going to really make meditation and going to yoga a habit for me to become more in touch with my spiritual side of my mind and create a more mindful life.

Social:  To be more connected with friends and loved ones. Since I got out of school, I feel like I have lost connection with my family and friends just because I am no longer on campus and am so far away from my family. I want to make more of an effort to reach out via social media and in person with them.

Environmental: To keep my house cleaner. My house gets into a mess over the weeks (like every house) but this year I want to try to do a bit of cleaning each day. I want to wake up in the morning and not feel stress about all the cleaning I must do. Clean house equals a clean mind for me.

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