Accepting Ups And Downs
As a TBI patient some days you will wake up feeling great, other days you don’t feel like getting out of bed at all.
Some days you wake up feeling pretty good. Maybe your headache isn’t as bad and you are feeling strong and energized. These are the days it is easy to overdo it though!
Reminding Myself Of My Limits
For example, a few weeks ago I woke up with a migraine and also had physical therapy as well as two doctors appointments that day. I was determined not to go to the doctor in the wheelchair, so I used my walker in and out of both appointments. That was a ton of walking, through the parking lot, and back twice. Also in and out of two different buildings to two different waiting rooms. At the time, I didn’t feel too bad. Even with a headache, I was pretty excited that I persevered and went into my appointments with my walker rather than being pushed in the wheelchair (I’m so over that!).
By the time I got home, I was done in. I felt bad, but not terrible. I slept for the remainder of the day. The following morning, I woke up with a terrible migraine (like 7-8 headache pain) that lasted for almost a whole week. After that one day of exerting myself, it literally took me a week to recover. I lost a whole week that I couldn’t work out or write or get out of the house at all. That was the first time that has happened to me in a few months.
So it was progress that I made it through that day, but felt discouraging that I fell back into my old way of overdoing it. I overestimated how much I can do.
Balancing Act Between Rehabilitation and Real Life
So what to do? We have to go to doctors appointments and we have to do our PT workouts. Not to mention, we want to try and have a life. To be able to go out of the house and do things with friends. How though? It sometimes seems impossible!
I felt like for a long time, I couldn’t figure it out. I never quite got it right. Now, almost a year after my accident, I have finally started to understand. It is all about planning and balance.
Learn To Plan Ahead
Planning is an easy thing for me. I have OCD and make my way through life with like 5 different journals and a calendar. Writing things down and scratching them off is therapeutic to me. I like to plan. That way I know how I’m going to get my necessary things done for my recovery. Things like PT workouts, cognitive exercises, etc. This allows me to plan how I’m going to do the other things that I need and want to do.
I don’t work out at home on days that I have PT or doctors appointments.
Rest Up And Be Smart Scheduling Social Activities
I would not plan social activities with friends on these days. Knowing that my batteries will be running on low at the end of all that. I don’t
On the days I don’t have plans to go out of the house, I work out as soon as I wake up. That way, I’m working out when I have the most energy. Not to mention, I will have time to rest before the rest of my day.
I’m not working right now. I do teach a few riding lessons a week in the evening but my main work is writing these days. I try to write when I’m feeling well, and when things come to mind. That way, I’m always ahead! If I wake up feeling bad, all I have to do is hit publish on something I already wrote and go back to bed!
The More You Plan, The Better Balance You Will Have Between Life and Rehab
I also try to write a blog plan on Sundays each week. I try to stay ahead of schedule with my writing. I always jot down ideas, even if I don’t have time to write a whole article.
I feel like you can apply the planning thing to any job you might have, even if you do something different every day. You can plan to make it as easy on yourself as possible. Try not to plan doctors appointments or time out with friends on work days. If you have free time, do what you can in advance so you can get ahead of your work. You will feel so much less stress and pressure this way!
It Helps With Improving
The more you plan your rehab activities into your daily life, the faster you will start to gain more tolerance. Before I planned, I just flew by the seat of my pants. That would inevitably cause those crash days. Trying to let my brain and body recover after a crash day is physically and mentally difficult. And frustrating s
The thing is, with TBI and PCS, we can never be quite sure how our bodies and minds are going to tolerate things. We do our best to try and figure it out. We try to plan for it, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out as we had planned.
Go With The Flow, Don’t Get Frustrated
Be flexible in your plans! I plan obsessively. I scratch things off my list obsessively and stare at my calendar for the week. I’m just trying to figure out the best plan and even with all that, I still have crash days.
Know in your mind, that it is okay if you have to change your plans. It’s okay if you can’t scratch everything off your list today. Hopefully, by planning and being aware of what your body is telling you, you will be more successful. It should also help improve your tolerance.
By writing everything down, I feel like it helps my brain. Then my brain doesn’t have to work as hard to keep things straight and remember things. That is not the only benefit though!
Tracking Your Progress
Having things written down on paper, allows you to be able to look back and see how far you’ve come. Every day is a new normal with a brain injury, and sometimes we need a little pick me up. Reading back over your journals and planners, seeing what you could do a few months ago compared to now can be a real pick me up. Trust me, I know! When you are in the thick of it, you don’t notice the small victories until you step back and look.
By writing things down and planning, it will also allow you to see patterns of what works best for you and what doesn’t work. Knowing what doesn’t work is just as important because it allows you to know how to plan better next time!
Life with TBI & PCS feels like a bumpy road. The more you can do to make it easier on yourself to do your rehabilitation activities, the better!