The Free Time

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What to do When There Isn’t Enough to do

The thing about injuries as an elite athlete is that you’re left with all of the free time you can imagine and no idea exactly how best to use it. Sure there is the exercises you have to go and do but at best that fills half of a day, how do you fill the second half. Do you get a job, a new hobby or just waste it away on your phone, do you study or start some other kind of venture that helps set you up for the future? From my experience the answer is simple, do whatever comes into your head as soon as it pops into your head.

The Options

Now as I said before there are plenty of options to keep yourself engaged. Let me run through the ones I’ve already mentioned below.

  • Get a Job: Now this one seems simple. Of course I will need to get a new job at some point soon, I have essentially become unemployed, but the question is when do I get it, and what will it be. Post surgery knee reconstructions need a good 8-12 weeks to be stable enough to walk around on without being super careful. So the requirements are to find a job that’s has a low physical demand, in a small town that relies on winter tourism for most of its income. Not the easiest mix of circumstances and I may go into more detail in a future blog post.
  • Get a New Hobby: This is by far the easiest option to keep yourself entertained. Already since I got back to Australia I have found an art style I enjoy, Started writing a blog, today I started a super complicated puzzle and tomorrow I will be trying fishing for the first time in god knows how long. Essentially anything that pops into my head I will try to get out and have a crack.
  • Study: This is the option I get recommended the most and I may still go out and start studying something, but for me it doesn’t feel like the right path. You don’t need a degree to be successful the same way having a degree ensures success. In saying that, studying is a great option for people who find themselves in similar situations, even if it is just a small course.

I know this is just a snippet of the avenues I could be exploring, but currently these three, the job search, hobbies and the possibility of studying are keeping me away from “Cabin Fever” how long that will last I don’t know. However making the most of my time to better myself in this period is the main goal.

The Mentality

This week leading up to the surgery, and the first few months following has taken a big toll on my mental endurance. It is the most helpless feeling being stuck on a couch watching your friends and teammates competing in races you should be at, and not being able to make the most of that time for personal gain. But that helplessness can be overcome with support from friends and family, and keeping a positive attitude.

I will be striving to keep my mind engaged to stay off the toll of inactivity as much as I can, I’m sure ill try new things, hate some of them, but at the end come out a better and stronger person, mentally and physically, ready to take on the next few years leading into the 2022 Winter Olympics. I will probably write another post about mentality and how I deal with the worst of the issue.

Anyone reading, what did you do during a period of injury or unexpected free time. How did you stay switched on and engaged.

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