The RICE framework for life: Rest, chill out and elevate yourself


Since I got back from South Africa, I have been laid up due to a torn knee muscle. Sometimes, I just have really bad luck. I just suck it up and keep going. I keep going to work. I had to keep finding a way to get things done. Luckily, I have a good support network which is what you need when you have a hyper-active, chatterbox seven-year old son.


Anyway, those of you that have had some kind of leg or foot injury know about the RICE method that doctors put you on because there is really nothing else one can do bit wait the injury out .  The RICE method is as follows: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Although, arguably, the “C” stands for Codeine.  Lets be real, without some form of pain killer, resting and icing can only go so far when you have torn hamstrings or muscles.


But being laid up gets one thinking about the RICE perspective in general.


Sometimes, our bodies and minds just need to rest.  When you are injured continued strain can cause more muscle damage. The same occurs psychologically in life. These days we are going 24 hours nonstop and under continuous strain. I can wake up at 2am, look at my phone and answer an email. Its dumb of me to do that, I know. Doesn’t mean I don’t do it. Lately, with my injury I have been sleeping through the night. It took a torn muscle for me to stop answering emails at 2am.  This compulsion to respond to emails, of course, reflects both my own disposition as well as that of society as a whole. Sadly, there are times when I email at odd hours of the night and others respond to me fairly quickly.


When your muscle is torn or sprained, it helps to apply ice as the coldness is meant to reduce pain and swelling. The same can be said of life in general. There are times when we need to cool down. Have you noticed how angry everyone is lately?   Why are people so angry right now?  We all have our theories. I attribute it in part that we are constantly seeing horrific situations and uncivil discourse on the 24-hour news cycle. There is a lot to be angry about. I understand trying to tune it all out sometimes. I think we all need a bit of a cooling off period. Whenever you feel you are about to fly off the handle, apply that mental ice pack. I suppose that is where the phrase “chill out” comes from and it couldn’t be more applicable than now.


In terms of my torn knee muscle, I am supposed to compress it and walk around with a knee brace. I feel my movement restricted. Although, I suppose it thus help keeping my knee from being squishy and moving all over the place.  I also, use codeine. Sparingly and just once at night.  Sometimes we need a pain killer. If I could, I would go hiking.  In life, we need painkillers. That is where laughter comes in, I think. Nothing better than a good laugh to realign your world view. Just laughing starts setting you into a better mindset. For Christmas each year, I like to gift laughter to myself and others.  Pay it forward. Next time someone is rude or mean smile at them.

When you have a leg injury you are supposed to elevate your leg. We should be aiming to the same thing to ourselves overall in life. Keep aiming for the stars. I remember a children’s show from many years ago, called Romper Room where one would stand on tippy toes and reach for the stars, moon and planets.  I always took that to mean, you had to continuously keep aiming for better and better. From early on, I knew I had to elevate myself from my situation. I was never satisfied with the status quo.


In a differently worded piece of advice on elevating oneself, First Lady Michelle Obama noted  that “when they go low, you go high.”  Every kid, should be taught this for the playground. Sadly, this piece of advice was meant for adults in our current state of society.


When caught up in a state of injury, be it physical or psychological, try the RICE method. It will help you heal faster.


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