A surprising way to manage stress – What a concussion taught me
This week’s blog falls under the category of self care, but comes from a different perspective. I’ve mentioned before that my daughter and I were in a minor car accident where we were rear-ended in late July. We are improving in health but my daughter is still dealing with concussion symptoms and has been put on concussion protocol. An unintended silver lining in all of this is that we are learning all about brain health, how to help it heal, how to reduce stress and why it’s important. I’m trying to be a good example for her and model some of the strategies as a way to encourage her. A few surprising ways to manage stress have surfaced.
All the little things add up
When my daughter is experiencing concussion symptoms, her brain shuts her down. She is unable to select appropriate words, mixes up words, can become confused and has debilitating headaches. But we have found that when we manage her stress and energy level, she can avoid concussion symptoms or at least cut down on their severity. I didn’t expect this, but I find these strategies help manage stress and keep me centered. I’m hoping they will be helpful to you, too! And if you find these helpful, please consider sharing this post.
When you are tired, rest. That doesn’t have to mean a 30 minute nap. It might be that just closing your eyes while breathing deeply and slowly for even two minutes might be enough to recharge you. If you rest when you are tired, you’ll bounce back more quickly. When we allow ourselves to be run completely down, it can take double or triple the time to recover. Resting when we are tired often is the first step to staying balanced and healthy.
We live in a world with constant stimulation. Many of us are connected via technology to buzzes, chirps, rings and chimes. We think we have to respond immediately to any communication that comes our way whether its in person, via email or through text. Put down your devices for a while every day. I’ve talked about this before and it’s always worth trying. Even just placing you device on silent and putting into another room can make a difference in your stress level. It’s worth remembering: You don’t have to react to everything that comes through your device in real time.
There are lots of ways to gracefully buy ourselves time so we don’t have to respond in the moment. Explain what you are doing to the other person, communicate how much you value them, and ask them if you can get back to them the next day. Here is an example, “I really want to talk about this with you. I’m having people over tonight and cooking right now. Can I get back with you on this tomorrow?” Simply the act of giving yourself time to respond and think is a very effective way to manage stress.
Turn down the sound. We’ve found that by simply reducing the volume a couple of clicks, my daughter can tolerate a lot more for a lot longer. Now of course she is healing her brain right now. But it does make me wonder how much the volume level we each have in our lives impacts our ability to think and rest. Silence is really a game changer. Our lives are rarely truly silent, but we can shut off the things causing sound. Listen to the birds, the wind, the water, or even just the hum of the refrigerator. The quiet can give us more time to think and reflect.
Put down the devices. True, I already mentioned this above. But this is really important. We’ve learned through concussion protocol that one of the most detrimental things for the healing brain are screens of any kind: iPads, iPhones, TV, movie screens. We sometimes try to tell ourselves we are relaxing with our screens as we scroll through our social media. The scientific data does not support that and in fact says the opposite. The brain is highly stimulated by screens. Screens can cause anxiety, sleep disturbances and even exacerbate stress.
When you get overstimulated
If you find yourself overstimulated, take a break. Turn it down. Close your eyes.Take yourself physically out of the space where you are experiencing the over stimulation. Give yourself permission to meet your own needs. You will feel better, be more effective and regain your creativity.
If you find this useful, please consider sharing ! My mission is so share love and light far and wide.