January has begun, which means that the holiday season is officially over. We’ve survived all the excitements, activities and festivities! I hope that you can look back on a couple of good days and have some good memories to look back on.
I certainly have some good memories. This Christmas was the best so far, well since my brain injury. I managed to heed my own advice better. And thanks to all the blogs and articles with tips and tricks that appeared in the preceding weeks, I kept being reminded that I certainly have a measure of control.
As a result I (finally) realized that I had been setting the bar too high. Which wasn’t helped by the gazillion Christmas movies I saw last year. Watching all those movies made me have some Hallmark expectations of Christmas. But where things always turn out to be okay at the end of the movie, real life is less perfect.
This year I let go of my expectations. I had three activities that I wanted to do and hoped to enjoy; having a Christmas dinner with my family, to prepare a course and to take a walk in nature.
This made the festivities a whole lot more manageable. Besides choosing three activities, I also made another change. In the preceding years I would try to ignore my brain injury. However, as Christmas dinners often turn out to be (very) long events, that wasn’t the brightest idea.
This year we started dinner in the late afternoon and I rested at least thirty minutes between each course. I also made sure that these breaks not only consisted of a recharging-the-battery-moment, but also contained an enjoyable moment. I’d stay a little longer in bed and also listen to an audiobook or watch a bit of a series.
Maybe it wasn’t truly relaxing, but being alone for a moment and doing something that I enjoyed felt good. So was it perfect? Not entirely, I still overtaxed my brain, but that’s okay. I still had a good holiday.
Find what brings you joy
This made me think though. Maybe I could make life with a brain injury a little bit more enjoyable in general. If I would combine the changes I have to make to accommodate the new me with something that I enjoy, maybe I can change my attitude. Maybe I can turn my brain injury and all the resulting changes into a more positive experience.
Like those breaks during Christmas dinner. Rather than separating myself in a dark room to recharge, I could also choose to do something during that break that I enjoy. So I decided to go forward with this approach.
My solitude during New Year’s was made enjoyable by getting a facial. The staying indoors and hiding in bed when all the fireworks went off, got a lot more enjoyable by listing to an audiobook of Harry Potter while enjoying a French cheese platter.
Naturally it doesn’t have to be elaborate at all. You can allow yourself to enjoy a second hot shower during a bad day in order to relax. Or decide to stay in bed with a cup of tea, a book and something sweet when you don’t feel like facing the world. Or wear that beautiful dress (or suit, shoes, etc.) that you bought on impulse but never wore on a day where you can’t go outside.
As it happens to be the start of a new year, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to continue on this path and make it my New Year’s resolution.
I think that this will also help me with living a more balanced life. To stop fighting myself every other day. If I change the way in which I see my brain injury, maybe I can allow myself to take better care of myself.
Finally I hope that this will encourage me to keep practising gratitude. Instead of focusing on the things that make me angry, sad or frustrated because I can’t do them, to focus on the things I can be thankful for. On the things that I can do that make me enjoy life a little more.
I hope that this can make my life a little more happy, positive and enjoyable. And who knows, maybe it can really change the way in which I think about my brain injury. Maybe someday I won’t think of my brain injury just as a disability, but can also see all the good that has come of it. Maybe I can, at some point, just be happy and thankful for what is has given me. Well, time will tell.
How were your holidays? Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?