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Tips to Survive the Holiday Season by Charles Watson


Posted on December 12, 2020

We’ve always associated holidays with taking a break. Taking some time off to de-stress, relax, and restore our energy. But for TBI patients, it’s not the same. For them, it gets more stressful and challenging to manage. Many people fail to understand the gravity of these symptoms that a brain injury victim faces, so not many precautions are taken to make the holiday season bearable for them.

Sensory alerts to keep in mind

Here are some alerts related to your senses that you may feel when something is wrong.

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Difficulty in figuring out the actual distance between objects
  • Light can cause anxiety
  • Trouble balancing
  • Severe headache
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting

These signs can help you, and your caregiver foresees an emergency and control damage. However, other common symptoms also include sudden and violent breakdowns, hyperactivity, chronic fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Many cases also include a weak sense of taste, smell, and touch.

The body may experience the ‘fight-or-flight’ response more frequently since the senses are always amplified. The hypothalamus and amygdala may trigger the secretion of hormones that cause excitement and arousal. Even sounds like a bell ringing or screeching tires can cause commotion inside their head. 

Tips for celebrating holidays with TBI

First and most importantly, make yourself a routine according to the days of vacation. Plan everything to avoid confusion and disorientation. Carry out an experiment to determine the intensity of sound and light you can handle. This will help you and the people around you understand and respect your limit. 

However, below are some tips that you should keep in mind when vacation approach:

  • Avoid going to the local market or crowded places. Try getting your essential items delivered instead of going out.
  • Even if you go out, choose a small, less busy place to do your shopping.
  • Don’t forget to bring your pills with you. You might need them in case of an emergency.
  • Wear a cap, sunglasses, and headphones. Try listening to some soft instrumental music and rest during the ride.
  • If you are hosting a party, notify everyone about the rules and why it’s important to follow them.
  • Don’t overload yourself with work and push yourself to complete it.
  • It’s completely normal to ask for help. It’s better that you get help rather than injuring yourself again. 
  • Somedays are, in fact, depressing and painful to get through. It’s okay to reject an invitation or not to want to go out.
  • Even if you are looking forward to joining the holiday season, then make sure to eat healthily and drink lots and lots of water. A healthy body can help get you through any mishaps.

Nonetheless, be extra careful and take your regular appointments with your psychologist or psychiatrist. If you have more cognitive impairment, then consult a neurologist or behavioral therapist so that you don’t get stressed out. Do some breathing exercises daily and try increasing your focus by closing your eyes and counting up to 7. There’s always a way out, so don’t lose hope!