Living with a brain injury is stressful – here are some tips to help you cope with the stress.
If you have acquired a brain injury, it's time to stop pushing yourself too hard! Recognize that this is your only life and you are your life designer. It is up to you. Decide how you want to live your life. Take responsibility for how you feel.
Find out as much as you can about brain injury and rehabilitation. Search the many available websites that offer information about brain injury. Read. Talk to others. Attend seminars and conferences.
Join a Support Group
Locate a local brain injury support group. Take a chance. Get involved. Go more than once. Talk to others who may be in a similar situation.
Maintain & Improve Your Health
Eat balance meals. Avoid eating too little or too much. Avoid alcohol. Exercise. Moderate aerobic exercise helps to decrease stress-induced hormones and reduce tension. Exercise is good for us both physically and emotionally. Choose an exercise that you enjoy. Go for a walk or a hike. Swim. Go to an exercise class. Walk up and down the stairs. If you enjoy it, you are more likely to continue. Get enough sleep. Have some fun. (Check with your doctor first.)
Try Relaxation & Meditation Techniques
Take a deep breath. Slow down your mind. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a relaxing place. Go on a mental vacation. Light a candle. Listen to soothing music. Learn progressive muscle relaxation. Take a yoga class. Take breaks often. Accept that working harder does not mean working better or smarter. Taking breaks can actually help you accomplish more.
Set Reasonable Goals and Expectations
Recognize what you can and cannot do. Learn to recognize what you do best. Avoid taking on more than you can handle. Define your priorities. Recognize what others do best and ask for their help. Be specific with your help requests. Negotiate time lines and responsibilities. Focus on one thing at at time. Work on your toughest responsibilities when you are at your best.
Compose a List of What You Have Accomplished
Regularly review your list of accomplishments. Learn and recognize the difference between what you would like to do and what you are required to do.
Practice Good Communication and Negotiation Skills
Express yourself assertively. Learn to say 'no' to things that are not a priority to you and 'yes' to things you enjoy.
FInd the Humour
In The Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient, Norman Cousins, a leader in research on the power of laughter in illness and stress reduction, describes the positive effects of laughter on tension, pain, breathing and mood. Be aware of how much you smile or laugh. Try to find other people that help bring out the laughter in you As Anna qundlen says in her book, A Short Guide to a Happy Life, "Show up. Listen. Try to laugh."
Build Your Self-Esteem
Tell yourself things that will help. Become aware of what message you are sending yourself. Avoid putting yourself down. Stop pushing yourself too hard. Recognize that this is your only life and you are your life designer. It is up to you. Decide how you want to live your life. Take responsibility for how you feel.
It is important to recognize that no single stress management strategy is right for everyone. You must take an honest look at yourself and decide what will work for you. Many of these strategies can be effective. Choose the techniques that are likely to be the most effective for you and then make the commitment to put them into practice.
This requires a plan of action. Write your plan. Enlist others to support yoru plan. Evaluate the plan's effectiveness on a regular basis. Revise your plan, trying new strategies when the ones you are using are not effective. Stick to it.
Taking care of yourself takes effort. YOU ARE WORTH IT!
(Source: Premier Outlook Magazine)