Occupational Deprivation describes a state in which people are precluded from engagement in occupations of necessity or meaning due to factors out of their control. When people cannot participate in sport due to injury, it could lead to occupational deprivation.
Health and well-being depend on people’s engagement and fulfilment in activities of their choice that is well known. You do what you love and it makes you happy and healthy. Conversely, being prevented from engaging in such activity can lead to both physical and physiological illness and reduced productivity.
Those overwhelming emotions that you felt when you were diagnosed with a stress fracture and found out you weren’t allowed to run for the next 3 or 4 months? They were real. You currently run nearly every day and it’s your outlet, your joy, your “me time” so it’s understandable you will be disappointed. Likewise if there was a race or event you had been training for and suddenly it was out of the question you would feel devastated.
Training is something that gives you fulfilment, so not being able to do it due to circumstances out of your control is difficult. But injury is commonplace in sport, so find comfort knowing you are not alone and there are ways to handle occupational deprivation to minimise its negative effects..
Seek professional advice
Many people will give their opinion about the best way to diagnose, treat and overcome your injury. They will recommend you try what worked for them, or get scans, see physiotherapists, occupational therapists, try massage, acupuncture, Bowen therapy, Reiki, medications, herbal remedies, surgery, strapping etc… The options are endless, having an open mind is good but choosing a qualified health professional you trust and following their treatment plan is advisable.
Reach out to others
People that don’t find the same engagement and purpose from sport may not initially understand your feelings. If you can reach out to someone who has been injured or understands what you’re going through that will help. It may be a family member, friend, coach, training buddy or even stranger you “know” from Instagram. There are plenty of people out there willing to help, provide advice or just be a listening ear and sounding board, don’t try and do it alone.
Do your best to stay positive, the body achieves what the mind believes. You don’t need to pretend everything is peachy all day every day, you’re in pain AND side-lined from doing the things you love, and it’s understandable you will have bad days. But be grateful for the things you do have and try and look on the bright side, every cloud has a silver lining you just need to work out what yours is.
Focus on what you can still do.
Is being unable to run a chance to get faster in the pool? This is especially valuable if you are a triathlete and juggle training for three sports. Cutting back to one or two sports for a few months might not be a bad thing. You may find yourself enjoying swimming more as your competency increases. Yoga, Pilates and strength building are other areas that may provide a way to exercise the body and mind whilst recovering from sporting injuries.
Do things that don’t involve lycra.
See a movie or show, have a cooking lesson or learn a new language. Whilst they may not provide the same adrenaline rush as training, you might actually enjoy it (and be able to utilise your new skills next time you race abroad).
Live vicariously through others.
Whilst it may hurt to go down and watch a race you wanted to be competing in, cheering and being a part of the action can be almost as much fun. Being on the other side of the fence will give you an insight to what your supporters do every time you race.
Plan Your Comeback
“A setback is a set up for a comeback” and with your new found swimming skills and core strength from yoga, the next season could be your best ever.