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Avoiding boredom after a brain injury

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Avoiding boredom after a brain injury

Boredom is frequently an issue in the long recovery period after a brain injury. 

A lack of activities is a common problem after the official rehabilitation period has finished a person settles back into their home environment but

is not in a position to return to work or study. It is important to have a structured series of activities to each week to avoid boredom and depression. 


Make a weekly timetable

Structure is very important after a brain injury, but often it is the missing element during the recovery process. A regular routine makes life much easier for your brain which will have trouble planning your day, prioritizing activities, making decisions, getting started on tasks, and realizing when you have pushed yourself too hard. A weekly plan can do all this for you.

Draw up a chart for your week and make time slots throughout each day. Examples of activities may include:

  • Exercise
  • Rest breaks and short naps
  • Social activities
  • Meals
  • Reading
  • Crosswords
  • Personal rehabilitation exercises
  • Housework
  • Hobbies.


Pace yourself

It is important not to overdo things as the resulting fatigue can take a few days to recover from. Work out how long you do physical, mental and social activities for and stick to time limits. Also, plan these for when you feel most energetic, and if necessary take a short nap or rest in the early afternoon. 


Rehabilitation never finishes

Unless a brain injury has been very mild, it is likely that you will have some ongoing effects for the rest of your life. Don't assume the hard work finished when you stopped seeing the rehabilitation team. People who are very motivated to continue their own personal rehabilitation often find they are still making progress years later after their brain has healed itself. Work out what issues you still face, and possible strategies to compensate for them. Work these into your timetable.


Break big things into small steps

Having a project to work on can be very motivating, but a common problem after a brain injury is feeling overwhelmed by the details, or not knowing where to start. Break it down into small manageable steps that you can work into your timetable.


Develop those social skills

This area if often neglected in rehabilitation. A brain injury can cause the following issues:

  • Talking constantly and not listening to others
  • Asking intrusive questions 
  • Self-centred behaviour
  • Inappropriate comments and behaviour
  • Standing or sitting too close to others.

Regaining lost social skills is critical to retaining friendships, making new ones, keeping healthy family relationships, and any eventual return to work, study or community involvement. If you have any of these issues, talk with close friends or family members about ways to relearn social skills and work these into your weekly plan.


Celebrate the small things

A brain injury can be very humbling e.g. the former CEO of a multinational company who cries with joy the first time he manages to dress himself without help. Celebrate the small things, because in reality they aren't small things at all. Usually only another person who has a brain injury can understand the incredible effort and willpower it has taken to accomplish those "small" steps.


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