Building Resilience – How to Handle Setbacks

Hey guys, Kaytlin here! I just had ACL surgery and thought now was a good time to talk about building resilience and how to handle setbacks, especially when injured.

Going from back-to-back knee surgeries – a full repair meniscus surgery now to an ACL surgery, in less than a year period -I feel your pain and know how difficult it can be when it comes to dealing with injuries. 

Being injured, at least from personal experience, is much harder mentally than it is physically. Sure it is uncomfortable and painful at times, but it’s frustrating having to be patient, taking the time to heal, and learning to trust your body again.

Keep a positive mindset. 

What you say to yourself will play a big role in your recovery. This is easier said than done. It’s easy to spiral into a negative hole, but try to catch the thought and switch it into a more realistic or positive one. Having a positive mindset may or may not help you recover quicker, but it sure makes the experience a lot more enjoyable. 

Focus on what you CAN do. 

When I injured my knees, instead of giving up on exercise completely, I did upper body workouts. When I tore the labrum in my shoulder, I did lower body exercises (with my doctor’s approval of course.) My point is, there is typically something you can be doing even if it’s working out a specific body part, getting in more steps, stretching or just focusing on visualization and your mental health. 

Don’t go through it alone. 

When dealing with setbacks, it’s important to surround yourself with a good group of people who will help you stay positive and cheer you on. A good way to stay positive and motivated is to continue being an active member of the team. Show up to practice and events. Even though you won’t be able to physically participate, you can still learn and improve in your sport by watching.

Allow yourself to feel the emotions.

Although being positive is important for staying motivated throughout your recovery, allow yourself to grieve and feel the emotions. “You have to go through it to get through it.” Acknowledge your feelings and don’t be too hard on yourself. There are going to be a lot of emotions during this time, so be patient, and do your best.

Treat recovery like training. 

A great way to stay occupied and motivated, is to treat your recovery like training. Give your recovery all you have and spend the time you would’ve spent training on your recovery. Make sure to show up to your treatments, do your rehab and listen to your doctor’s advice. 

Embrace the time off. 

You’re taking the time off anyway, so make the best of it. Visit areas of your life that you normally neglect. Pick up a hobby or new skill that you wouldn’t normally have time for. 

Unfortunately, some injuries can be a sports-career ending but it doesn’t have to end you. Once you’ve recovered, even if you can’t play the sport you’re used to playing, you can still compete, coach or choose to be active in something else.

I’m not just a professional MMA fighter. I’m also a personal trainer, business woman, aunt, supportive friend, daughter and so many more things. The sport you play isn’t your identity, and although it’s a huge part of your life, you’re so much more than that.

A big thing to keep in mind is that this is temporary, and you will fight through it. You can still come back and oftentimes, come back even stronger!


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