A little over two weeks ago I stepped off a curb, my right foot twisted sideways, and I broke a bone (the base of the 5th metatarsal, for those of you who are curious!) I’m now wearing a boot on that foot, and can’t drive my car. Since I try to practice what I preach, I thought I’d see if I could treat this unexpected challenge as a chance to practice my resilience.
So here are some thoughts about how I have been able to use each of my change muscles to help me make it through the healing process:
Warmup So there I was on the ground, purse and computer bag around me. My foot hurt, my car was a block away, and I needed to get home. I needed to calm myself down, so I took a few deep breaths and reassured myself that I was OK. This helped me find the energy to get to my feet and start limping across the street. I’ve used my Warmup skills a lot since then, too. The first time I had to figure out how to get up and downstairs on crutches was a little scary, so I made sure I was feeling calm, and stopped a couple of times to rest and regroup.
Positivity This muscle is about finding hope, looking at the bright side, and not getting sucked into despair. I’ve stretched this muscle in a couple of ways. First, I found out that this kind of fracture is very common, and that the healing process is pretty predictable. So I have been able to see the light at the end of the tunnel (even if it’s a month or so down the road!) Second, I have found a lot to be grateful for–living near a good medical center, having the option to work from home…a number of things to appreciate.
Confidence One of the main things I’ve focused on here is trusting my own judgment, and learning as much as I could about this type of injury so I can take an active part in my own healing process. I’ve researched information online, and have also been focusing attention on how my foot is feeling so I can make good decisions about how far to push myself.
Priorities I used this muscle almost immediately…my husband and I were supposed to go out to dinner with some friends the evening I had the accident. Once I realized that I had probably broken my foot and would need to go to the emergency room for x-rays, I decided that it was important to see my friends and get some dinner first. 🙂 So we did that, and then went to the emergency room. Since then I’ve used this muscle to help me decide which of my previously-planned activities I should cancel, and which I should make an effort to do despite the inconvenience.
Creativity I’ve had lots of opportunity to practice this one…trying different ways of getting in and out of cars; figuring out how to set up a work station at home with an armchair, a couple of tray tables, and a footstool; figuring out what shoe I could wear on my left foot that would be about the same height as my boot. I’ve tried to treat it all as a big puzzle to solve. Not all of my efforts have been successful, but it’s certainly been fun trying.
Connection This has been the hardest one for me–I am so used to doing things for myself that I have a hard time asking others for help. But I have been working it! I have reached out to several friends who offered to help and asked them to take me places. I have relied on my husband to chauffeur me to work. I made a list and had him go grocery shopping, and now that I’m getting around a little better we go together. I sure will be glad when I can drive again so I can be more independent, but it’s been great practice for me to learn to lean on others more.
Structure This one is definitely my weakest muscle most of the time, but it’s been very helpful in this situation. I have used it to make sure I am following instructions about putting my foot up, putting ice on it, and wearing my boot. I have used it to think ahead about a conference I am going to and make sure I have a room that will be close to the meeting area so I don’t have so far to walk. And since I haven’t been able to get out and about, I’ve used some of my sitting time to get my to-do list more organized and catch up on some work projects.
Risk-Taking I think of this as the “experimenting” muscle. This is the one that lets me try things out even if I’m not sure how it’s going to turn out. I’ve used this one to go from two crutches to one and now to a cane, seeing what hurts and what doesn’t. I also used this muscle when I wanted to go see a friend for lunch in town and didn’t have a ride–my husband suggested I try a ride service he’d heard about as an alternative to taxis (which are not very good in our area), so I did, and it worked out great! Not all of my experiments have been successes–I’ve tried out a few techniques for navigating stairs that were a bit painful, but I’ve learned and adjusted.
I’ll be going in for a follow-up x-ray later this week, and hope I’ll hear good news about how things are healing. In the meantime, I’m in the Resilience Gym getting stronger.
What challenges are you facing today? How are you using them as a place to strengthen your change muscles?