by Linda W. Arms
Since we’re still in the middle of the holiday season we all need to prepare ourselves to make it through the holidays without too much more fatigue or stress. We need to be ready for that party, dinner, driving to an unfamiliar place, or something else we may not often do. We also want to try to get some enjoyment out of it. Here are some tips that work for me:
- Pace yourself – don’t commit to more than you can successfully handle. Give yourself a quiet day before going to that party or dinner. Take a nap or just lay down and rest.
- Eat properly throughout the day to nourish your brain so it can do a better job for you. Drink recommended amounts of water.
- Determine how to get where you have to go before you leave. I like doing this the day before so I can study the Google map and try to think about it for a while before I get on the street. I even do a “street view” in Google Maps so I can be familiar with the area I’m travelling to. My TBI resulted in me losing the map of where I’ve lived for the last 30 years and not having a good sense of direction anymore.
- Determine how much time you need to get there. Give yourself some extra time since stressing causes an additional load on our brain which we want to avoid. Write down what time you have to leave, what time you need to start getting ready. I have trouble with time and remembering the numbers. I write it down so I don’t have to re-think this 10 times before I go.
- Determine what you need to take with you or what you are going to wear. Doing this well ahead of time saves that last-minute pressure that makes it difficult to function if you have a brain injury.
- Determine, in advance, your way out of the social situation or other activity if things are not going well for you. You may need to find a ride home. You may need to leave early before the dinner is over. You may need to cancel before you even leave the house. It’s good to let others know that you may have a problem and that you just have to escape before you can’t function well enough to get yourself back home safely.
- If you’re going to a new place for dinner, study the menu on the Internet before you go. I found it very hard to focus on a new menu and figure out what to eat when I just couldn’t keep up with the busy restaurant environment and people at the table talking to me. It’s easier to decide in advance if possible.
- Try to get a table in a quiet, less busy part of the restaurant. I often get a table away from the hub-bub and I sit facing the wall so I don’t have to see the movement in the restaurant. I sometimes asked the waiter to turn down the music.
The idea is to save brain energy so you can have a good time.