Anniversary: Your Second Chance

The anniversary of your injury is a time to celebrate your second chance at life. How do you acknowledge your injury anniversary?

The anniversary of when a brain injury is a day your life changed forever. A few days ago marked 26 years since my brain injury. It is not much of a big deal other than the fact it is my birthday.

The sole reason I don’t view it as a huge deal because I didn’t have a life before. While it is not a big deal for me, others view this day differently.

As I said earlier, this day is the day one’s life changed forever. It is the day where your old life ended, and your new life begins.

The way you handle the anniversary is vital to your happiness in life. I understand it is tough to see your life change. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.

While you may not understand why your brain became injured, but it did. Now there is a new purpose in your life. It is time to get excited about what the future can hold.

It is okay to mourn the life you used to know; however, you need to be able to pick yourself up after some time. After you are done recovering, find things you enjoy doing.

Celebrate your Anniversary

If you can find something you can do and enjoy it, begin to do it. While creating your new life may take some time, you can create something you look forward to.

When the anniversary of your new life beginning arrives, you can take time to remember the life you used to live. I would encourage you to make a list of suitable items you accomplished throughout the year.

Your anniversary can be a rebirth. You can celebrate it like a second birthday. Celebrate with friends and family or do something special for just yourself.

I would suggest not allowing the day to just being another day in your life. At least acknowledge what the day is and its importance.

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Physical Health: Staying Active is Good for You

While mental health is important, but you also need to focus on physical health. Here are some tips to get you up and move while stuck inside.

This week let’s talk about physical health since the last time I discussed mental health. When both of these are a focus, life’s challenges do not seem as big of a deal.

I specifically mentioned last week that exercise could help with your mental state. Physical health not only means exercise but also means eating well, sleeping enough, relaxing, and keeping good hygiene.

Some of these listed were included in my mental health post. It turns out they are very closely related. This, at least, gives you less to do to stay healthy.

The obvious answer to staying healthy physically is being active. Exercise and being active are not the same. It is important to do both. Exercise is more intentional and repetitive actions, while physical activity is any movements your body makes throughout the day.

Physical Health Tips

We don’t all have the time to exercise every day, but we can all make sure we are physically active. The activity can include doing chores, working in the garden, and playing with your kids.

I personally go outside and play with my dog a couple of times a day. This doesn’t feel like a chore, but it gets me moving and outside.

This tip is something we have all heard before; part of physical health is eating healthy. The classic saying is we are what we eat. But our energy is what we eat.

While healthier food is not as exciting as candy or chips, or even fried food, it will give you more energy. This will give you the energy you need to stay active.

The last thing I want to discuss to address physical health is relaxing. When you become stressed or worried, it affects your mind and can have physical changes.

Stress can increase blood pressure, cause stomach ulcers, increase tension in the body, and so much more. One of the ways to combat is to practice relaxation.

There are several ways to relax. One quick and easy way to relax is to take a deep breath. If you stop for two minutes, close your eyes, and slow your breath.

When breathing in, count 7, and do the same when you breathe out. This will help release the tension in your body.

Explore ways that make you feel relaxed; it could be turning off your phone and watching a funny movie.

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Needing A Break: Understand What You Need

When there is so much going on globally, taking a break from doing things you love is necessary and okay. Everyone needs a break at times.

It has been a while since I posted. I guess without knowing it, I needed a break. When you have a brain injury, it is important to know your limits.
This has been a tough year for everyone. A lot is going on in the world, and our lives all look different.

I ended up needing to take a break from writing this blog. The thing about needing a break, sometimes you do not even know you need it.

I never thought to myself, ‘okay, I need to focus on other things right now.’ This just got pushed to the back of my mind and while I am bummed, I must have needed it.

Sometimes, with a brain injury, you need to slow down for a bit. It isn’t easy to know when you need to step back.

I knew because I didn’t take the time to write and create posts. Another way you can know is that you lack motivation for something that you are passionate about.

If your activity was fun and gave your life meaning, but now it is work and a growling task, you may need to step back for a bit.

There is no shame in taking time for yourself, as it allows you to recharge and decide what you truly want to return to what you are taking a break from.

There is no set length of time of how long this break should be. I have run into issues of people not understanding why you need to are taking a break.

I have made so much improvement that people forget that I am carrying an injured brain, but I try to remember that it is not their fault.

Helping Others Understand Taking a Break

People who do not live with a brain injury get tired, but I believe that they also get tired and need time. It just may be less frequent and take less time.

Neither is better than the other. There needs to be an understanding between everyone to allow each other the time to rest and recharge.

I would try to communicate with my family members and friends. Let them know what you need and how they can support you in it.

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Songs: An Inspiration when Life gets Tough

Music is a big part of my life. These are a list of songs that get me through difficult times in my life. They inspire me to keep going.

When you are faced with a difficult day, songs can help turn the day around. Several pieces are my go-to when I feel I can’t handle what the day is throwing at me.

These songs allow me to remember that it does get better, and everything I am going through is for a reason. Music can inspire me to continue and push through.

Songs: The List

The first song is Who I am by Nick Jonas and the Administration. This song is all about wanting someone to love you for who you are and who you can become. I have been through relationships, and no one has genuinely accepted my brain injury. I believe that my brain injury does not define me, but it is a part of my that is never going away, but I long for the day that someone accepts all of me. This song gives me hope.

On my way here by Clay Aiken, speaks to me beyond levels. The critical line is “to fly; I have to want to leave the ground,” take chances. There is no guarantee, but you do not know what you can do until you try. The struggles you face from your brain injury only makes you stronger. When you conquer them, you proving to everyone that nothing will hold you back or stop your dreams.

The next song is Worth It by Danielle Bradberry. This song reminds me and hopefully reminds you that we are here for a reason. We are worth every breath we take. It is vital to know our worth because there are times that others do not. They may want to give up on us and walk away, but we need to remember that we are 110% worth it.

Who Says by Selena Gomez, and the Scene shows me that there is no reason to listen to the doubters. Who cares what they say, all that matters is what you think of yourself. Nobody is perfect, but people tend to believe they are more perfect than us. That is not okay, but we need to believe in ourselves before expecting others to think we are perfect.

Stronger by Kelly Clarkson can remind us that we are stronger because of our brain injuries or whatever else you have gone through. It didn’t kill us, so the only other option is that it made us stronger. Nobody said it was easy, but we have fought back and come out on top due to our strength.

I was introduced to Fight Song by Rachel Platten through someone at my hospital. I fell in love with it for the first time, because we are now fighting a battle for the rest of our lives. We are fighters, we are survivors, and we are fighting every day and need to believe in ourselves. We have gotten this far, lets we can keep going.

The last song is Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield. I decided to end with this song because our brain injury is just a few chapters of our lives. We still have many chapters to write. Our wounds do follow it, but we can decide what we want the rest of our book to say. We can choose if it will be an inspiring tale or if you decide just to give up.

These songs can connect with people who have suffered any type of hardship. If you have not suffered from a brain injury but are suffering from something else, replace the word brain injury with whatever you are going through. This is not a complete list of songs. Let me know if you have a go-to song. I may write a part two later on.

I do not own rights to any of these songs, please search and listen to them so the artists can get credit for their hard work.

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De-stress and Relax during this tough time

With everything going on in the world right now, it is easy to have fear and be stressed. It is important to de-stress and stay healthy.

In this crazy time we are living in, it is essential to find ways to relax and de-stress. The world’s situation is changing every day. There are fear and worry in the world.

I have experienced various symptoms that are closely related to being stressed.

In a time where it is vital to stay healthy, one way to stay healthy is not to stress or be tense. This is not an easy task.

De-stress ideas

One primary way I have found to de-stress is to take time for me. I have been quarantining with my family. This means being in close quarters with others.

What you do with your time is entirely up to you. One option is to read a fiction book. Fiction books can allow you to escape to a different world.

For just part of the day, you can be in a world without the stressors of your current world.

I have also found that writing has helped me. It is better to get your feelings out and not keep them bottled up. If you are unable to talk to your loved ones about it, write it down. No one has to see it, but this will allow you to get your feelings out of your mind.

Do something creative. Drawing or coloring is quite relaxing. You can put music on or watch a show while you do it. If you are doing this activity as a relaxing activity, make sure others know not to disturb you.

Get outside. The fresh air will be good. The sunshine will provide you with natural vitamin D. Just remember to distance yourself from others and be safe.

My final suggestion is to not look at the news all the time. I have gotten into the habit of looking at the news in the morning and evening. This allows me to know what is going on in the world but not get overwhelmed or stressed about the state of the world.

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Patience: No need to get frustrated

After a brain injury, your life changes. The process of relearning everything requires patience. It is important to not be frustrated with yourself.

It can be tough to be patient with yourself when it takes longer to complete a task. This can especially be true after sustaining a brain injury.

If you sustained an injury in the middle of your life, you probably remember how easy something was to do. From what you remember, reading a book only took you a few days, but now it takes you weeks.

That is okay. Since you sustained an injury, your life is going to be different. The joy of the brain is that it can be rewired to relearn what you used to know.

The thing about the rewiring of the brain is that it takes time. It can be and will be frustrating. I have found that it can help if you break up your big goal into small feat.

If your goal is to be able to walk again, start with a simple goal; maybe it is standing or being able to take a step. Something small that progresses to your goal.

A small goal will help you see progress. It will hopefully keep your spirits up and make you know that you are making progress.

Patience: Injury before memory

If you sustained your brain injury before you have memories of before, you need a different kind of patience. The thing I have found is that my patience has come into play because people around me get things faster than I do.

It is not easy seeing your friend or little brother understand math or read a chapter book before you. For me, it was extremely frustrating.

Not matter what age you are, seeing someone close to you succeed in what you want to achieve in can
be demoralizing.

In an earlier post, I discussed how we are all on our own timelines. This stands true for life events or learning how to do a task.

Make sure you break what you want to succeed in, into breaking it up into small accomplishments. This will help you be patient with the more significant task. Patience is a virtue.

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Bedtime Routine: Relax after a long day

After a long hard day, it is important to start to wind down and get ready for bedtime. To get a good night sleep, you need to be relaxed.

After a long, hard day, I have found it necessary to have a bedtime routine. This routine helps slow your mind down and prepare you for a restful sleep.

A night of restful sleep can allow you to be ready to be productive for the next day. There are many benefits to a good night’s sleep. This routine has proven excellent for me, but it may not work for you.

Take some time for yourself to figure out a good routine to help you relax after a long day. It took me many tries to figure it out. Be patient.

Bedtime Routine: Shower

I start after dinner. To begin my routine, I take a nice warm shower. This helps wash all the dirt and grime off of me. I can feel the day washing off and begins my relaxation.

The warm water also helps relax my muscles and can help release some of the tension I gathered during my day. Another reason I find showering at night helpful, I find brushing my hair soothing.

Bedtime Routine: TV

After that, I watch an episode or two of the current show I am watching. The show allows me to escape from the happenings of my world for a bit.

If I am really into the show, I do watch more episodes. When I begin to get tired, I start writing in my journal. When I journal, I have a few different sections that I write about.

I always start my entry by writing one thing I am grateful for. This keeps me finding a good thing even after a bad day.
I then do the classic, write about my day. I write down anything memorable and I have two prompts that help my self-discovery.

These prompts are to help me figure out what I want and who I am. I write down a memory from the day that I want to remember.

Reading

Once I am done with my journaling, I turn off my show and grab a book. I always make sure I read, even if it is a few pages or half the book.

Once I am done reading, I turn off my light, do a crossword puzzle on my phone, and go to sleep. I find a bedtime routine is crucial. It helps the body know that it is time to go to bed.

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Schedule: Find normalcy during quarantine.

With the current stay at home orders, happening, schedules have changed. It is important to keep a sense of normalcy in a world of uncertainty.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, our lives and schedules have abruptly changed. Our daily routines look different. It is essential to find some sense of normalcy in your everyday life.

The idea is to work from home. For some, this can be difficult. There are many more distractions around. There is a chance that productivity can decrease.

I have found that sticking to a schedule or close to a schedule keeps me productive. If I schedule my day correctly, I can complete everything I need to do and still have time for leisure activities.

I start with a consistent wake-up time. I find that with a regular wake up time, I can plan out my day, so I know my day won’t be wasted because I slept in too long.

After I wake up, I go through my morning routine (which I will discuss in a later post). I eat breakfast and then figure out what I need to do that day. I am in school, so at the beginning of the week, I decide what needs to be done each day.

Schedule during the day

Based on the amount of work I need to get done that day, I decide when I will take a walk or do household chores. I have found that I work best when I break the homework with the housework.

Before any work begins, I shower and get dressed. It puts me in the mindset of working. I also move down to the dining room. Wherever I move to, I get off my bed.

Throughout the day, I do my homework and my schoolwork. I put my phone on silent, so I don’t have the distraction of people trying to communicate with me.

I have found an app that has made my schedule does work for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. After doing 2 hours of this, I take a 15-minute break. This has proven to work for me. But you need to find a routine that makes for you.

At the end of the day, around dinner, I change into comfortable clothes and do what I feel like doing. The only scheduled thing about my night is when I go to bed. Going to bed at a consistent time allows me to wake up and not be tired.

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