I’m sure you’ve also noticed (on social media) that March was brain injury awareness month. There even was an international brain awareness week. Hopefully, this contributes to awareness, which is still sorely needed. Not just the awareness of the general public, but hopefully also of lawmakers, scientists and businesses.
For our daily life, it doesn’t really matter whether it’s March or April. We still have to face our own daily challenges and difficulties. But perhaps you’ll miss seeing all the posts and uplifting hashtags on social media now that it’s April. Cause I saw a lot of those these past couple of weeks
Therefore, I decided to write this post in the spirit of #NotAlone, one of the hashtags I came across last month. With any luck, this is a motivational piece and I’ll share some of the lessons I’ve learned, tips, wisdoms or whatever you’d like to call it. 🙂
And so I present to you *drumroll*: The 6 things I learned along the way and definitely would have liked to have known in my early days. Such a catchy title, if I may say so myself ;).
1. You can either be your best supporter or your worst enemy
All your decisions impact your energy level, which in turn determines your attention span, emotional state and ability to handle life. So learn to listen to your body and your gut feeling. Which can be hard, especially when you’ve lost the trust in your body or when you really truly want to do something. Try to do the things that feel right to you. Luckily, every day provides a new opportunity to practice this one.
2. Adjust your tempo
In this case slow is better. If you can take small steps the chance of success is higher. Which in turn means more self-confidence in future attempts. And more importantly, you’ll be able to celebrate more often. As I’ve mentioned somewhere before, truly acknowledge and celebrate your victories however small. Which always provides a good excuse for cake. If you’re having a bad day (or week) you can think back to these moments and see that you are making progress.
3. See how strong you are
Cause don’t doubt it, you are strong. You have to change a large part of your life and learn new ways of dealing with yourself and the world. But, you’re still here! Try to see the good things: being able to walk five minutes longer, having a really good day, trying something new and so on. This new life of yours is definitely not a cakewalk. Bad days will happen, but hopefully they’ll be outweighed by the good ones.
4. Find your new rhythm
Even if you can’t leave your home, try to get a routine. Get up at the same time every day and have something scheduled for the day. Things like preparing food, doing chores or reading. It’ll help to break the day down into smaller periods of time. I even chose to follow a silly daily tv-show, as it would give me something to look forward to and provided distraction.
5. Be kind to yourself
Try to eat healthy, to exercise, to sleep and don’t get caught in an endless negative conversation with yourself. Really hard to do when your battery is empty. My solution, playing a power song on repeat while singing (*cough* crying) along. One of those’ fake it until you make it’- approaches. Try to live in the moment. Worrying about what will be won’t change the future, but will cost you some precious energy.
6. Remind yourself that you still matter
Dealing with all your insecurities, while facing this new reality can be extremely hard. I struggled with this one for quite some time. In the end I realized I just needed to feel like I’ve made a difference. That I made a positive change in the world however small. Smiling at a stranger and having them smile back, sending a card to someone, getting in touch with a long-lost friend or taking care of someone’s pet. If this is a hard one to internalize, write it down and stick the note on your mirror. It will give you a daily chance to practise this one as well.
Together we’re strong
I’m glad I learned this along the way, but I think I would’ve valued a ready-made list in my early days as well. In all honesty I’ll admit that I still need this list. As a reminder but also as a lesson during my not so stellar days.
If today is one of your bad days, I’ll hope this post can help you in whatever small way. Perhaps only in knowing that you are not alone. This brain injury family keeps getting new members every day. We all face similar challenges, while trying to find our new selves. Looking at the numbers, it’s likely that someone somewhere in the world is facing a similar problem that you are facing today.
We are not alone.
Do you have a power song and if so, which one? Do you have another lesson or tip to share that has helped you a lot? Did you do something special for the brain injury awareness month or week?