Staying motivated when you keep getting knocked down
Regardless of the specific disease (mine happens to be Crohn's), I'm sure we all go through bouts of where you're fine, you're on the top of your game, and then BAM! sidelined by illness. Then its that much harder to get yourself back to where you were.
In my situation, most recently, I joined a gym 2 weeks ago. Went the first night, felt great, all is well. The next day, I'm in the hospital with a bowel obstruction (similar to horse colic). I'm in for 4 days, and about a week later, still weak and tired alot. I lifted a bale of hay and about had to take a nap.
Forget riding, I can barely clean stalls.
How do you stay motivated to ride when you keep getting knocked down?
I had hopes of showing this summer but at this rate, I'd be happy to get through a 20 min schooling session.
Sorry, this is mostly a whine post, but I know there are others that have been through this low period. I know there are those out there that are FAR worse off and I really am not ungrateful, just a little bummed.
Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
I set tiny goals. I do not have a disease that likes to sneak up and smack you when you least need it to, but I seem to injure myself in regular fashion or need surgery/procedures to fix "old age" crap that is coming far too soon .
I just had a show two weeks ago, where I was champion after 1.5 years off my horse. Yeah me. Then, yesterday, I had a procedure to fix veins in my right leg. Surprise! No lifting, riding, sitting, for...a week? two? no one can tell me.
So? I set tiny goals--today, I'll brush my boys (see? no lifting!). Tomorrow, a long walk to maintain fitness for me, and more horsey maintenance. Monday, I see the doctor, and will basically demand a time table, so I can work riding back into it.
My nephew has Crohn's, but it is well maintained on Remicade now (he is only 14). I am so sorry yours has slammed you down.
Advice? Baby steps. Take what you can with the horses, and don't over do. I'm sure that is advice you've heard a hundred times, so I'll also say a prayer for you (can't hurt!) and rub my lucky (apparently, not for me) coin in your honor.
Can you have someone lead you around? I found that getting back on, even if only to walk, made me feel spiritually so much better, that the agonizing bone-healing/PT routine was easier. Good luck!
Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!
Ditto on the tiny goals. I have had lots of different injuries, but luckily not some chronic issue to deal with (unless you consider massive klutziness a chronic disorder ).
I also would just think forward to certain time points where I could do X, and remind myself that if I'm tired/frustrated/having a bad day/whatever that in order to get to do X (or even a precursor to that) I need to take care of myself or I will pay for it later and may delay getting to my eventual goals.
I also have one of those illnesses that likes to put me out of action when I am having the most fun! And it is very hard to deal with that because everyone around me can do all this stuff why can't I? But I try to think of all the good things that I have in my life like my horse, the fact I can ride, well most of the time hehe but the BEST thing I can possibly do when I feel like shit is to go up and see my horse! Even if I have to get someone to wheel me up in a wheelchair through mud, dirt, sand and manure! Getting out of the house is a great pick me up they have lessons at the barn where I agist my horse so I go up when lessons are on and just watch I have friends that ride my horse when I can't so I get to watch him being worked too, but to just to be around my horse works wonders for me cos he knows when I am feeling bad and just rests his muzzle on my cheek and closes his eyes he is so gentle with me too when I am feeling bad! my doctor calls it "pet therapy" lol and she has noticed such a big difference in me since I have owned my own horse and can get away from it all my health issues for a while and go and see him!
Just remember that feeling bad will only last for a while then you will feel better again and you can get back to riding! Even if you start with 5mins of walking and then very slowly increase it depending on what your body tells you. But do listen to your body when it tells you that you have had enough or it will take you longer to get back to where you were! I know this very well cos I tend to push my self a little too hard a little too fast and pay for it with a slower recovery and I am just now learning to listen to my body and recovering better from each "crash" in my health. Only took me 12 years haha
Hugs to you. Everyone has been there and understands.
I see a psychologist who specializes in chronic pain. ZuZu uncovered the pillars of chronic pain psychology in a few free sentences what I have to pay through the nose to hear from a professional
What I have learned and try to practice:
1. Be observing and sympathetic to yourself.
2. Do NOT set goals. When you don't reach that goal, you beat yourself up. Instead...
- Give yourself choices: A. ride B. brush the horses C. Pet the horses D. Stay inside. No choice is bad, because you are observing what you need now and are sympathetic to yourself if you don't have the energy/motivation/pain tolerance/time/etc to infinity
Doc's example of goal-failing in an exercise study: When the researcher tells 1st group of participants their daily goal is 30mins on treadmill, the fail rate is astronomical. When the researcher tells 2nd group their daily goal is to stand on the treadmill, the fail rate is minimal. (For folks with chronic ailments, doc argues choices are more effective at improving mentality and lifestyle than goals.)
3. Make present-time decisions rather than ahead-of-time. Don't decree "This week I will ride three times." If all the stars are aligned today, then "Hey, I'm gonna go ride!"
I have chronic lyme and I think I can relate to where you are coming from. Right now, I have a foster horse, my retired guy, and my 'forever' horse. It's ironic that I call him that because I am actually beginning to wonder if it will take me forever to actually work/ride him.
I had to first let go of control of the things I used to do around the barn. I have tried to find good help but this is not an easy task. If you board, you have a huge weight lifted off your shoulders.
First things first, give yourself a break. Don't feel guilty because you are not riding, or keeping your horse perfectly groomed. From what I can remember about Chrohn's, stress is a trigger. Let go of the guilt. Take the moments that you can enjoy and enjoy them. Sometimes just a sucessful farrier appointment does it for me.
Don't overdue it. I also have wanted to join a gym to try and gain some strength and tone. Bad decision. Purchase a few beginner Yoga CD's and a yoga mat and try to do a few 10 minute sections at a time 2 times a week. Build up. Listen to your body.
Trust me, I know I will never run a marathon in my lifetime. I also know that if I go out in the late morning and try and lunge my 5 year old, I will most likely spend the next few days in bed.
Its hard with 3 because if I do one thing for one, I feel I should do it for all. I used to think that meant 3 baths, or 3 big clean -up grooming sessions, or 3 trimming of the bridle paths, etc. Nope, not any more. The one who needs it the most gets it and the others will survive.
Sometimes, just spending a little time with one of them alone is all I can do and for right now, that has to be enough.
Keep in mind...normal is just a dryer setting.~anonymous
I havent been able to ride since early May and most likely am out for the rest of the summer. I broke my L5 and am slowly on the mend.
I am struggling with all of it esp b/c my boy has been/is going so well. I was hoping to show at the end of the summer, get myself into top riding shape, and just have fun riding finally without anything else going on.
I try to remind myself that I am lucky there is someone riding him at all and the girl loves him as much as I do. But it kills me when she's riding he pulls one of his shit moves and she still hasnt figured out how to get him through it. I wanna be the one on him, but I am grateful for her. I think about selling him, if thats the right thing to do b/c I have no idea when I will be riding again. I go to the barn and groom him, take walks with him, clean tack, etc. but it's getting old.
It has to be enough for right now, and I have to take it one day at a time. If I dont, I overwhelm myself and that only hurts me more. So I try to spend time everyday saying thank you for the things I have and refocus on the positive in my life.
I used to set goals but it was always one step forward two steps back & at night when Id get into bed and rehash my day, I got very depressed, why this, why that.
I started listening to visualization tapes; do not set goals; and know when I get in a low place that "This Too Shall Pass". Even when I hurt, I kick myself out of bed (unless I am exhausted and need more sleep) and get moving. I dont want to waste a minute of life. I often feel better, when I can exercising, even just walking on treadmill 30 minutes 4x/week makes a HUGE difference.
Positive energy and jingles....remember, there are lots of people across the world that are worse off. I always try to remember my blessings and know, God gives us what we can handle. Dont be too hard on yourself; you are human! HUGS!
I just take one day at a time During show season when I can't ride (I have chronic back pain from a bad rollover accident) I take my horse over to my trainer and he rides for me so my horse stays in shape. Once when I was going through a bad time with my back he ended up riding him for almost two months until I could ride again. By having him ride my horse I didn't worry about my horse losing condition. It kind of takes the pressure off of me having to ride when in pain.
After my accident and during my time of grieving for the life that I lost I realized how lucky I am to still be alive and to not be paralyzed. I used to have to remind myself of it often but now I automatically know it and just try to make the best of it with what I have.
I also have extremely supportive people in my family and at work. They really help me when things are tough!!
Good luck and know that you are not alone
RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
RIP San Lena Peppy
May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010
I know how you feel, especially having a few people with Chron's in my family.
Like Zu Zu said, be happy with what you *can* achieve. Being young and dumb, I'm still firmly convinced that I am invincible and attempt things that I really can't do right now. Like moving a whole course of jumps and not being in serious pain the next day, or trying to balance riding two horses in 100 degree weather. Sometimes you just have to step back, reassess your goals, and set ones you can achieve and then be proud of it!
Chin up! You're not alone
Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.