As someone who has been living with a severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) for 5 years, I am still learning how to manage it and manage myself during hectic times. My parents and I were busy little elves preparing for Christmas the few days before Christmas. And what I have learned (after I melted down like a snowman ⛄️ on a tropical vacation 🏝) is that I can’t just go, go, go until tasks are completed. I used to do that to myself before the TBI and I wasn’t that successful at it then because of my Fibromyalgia. So for this week’s (belated… obviously) post I have decided to write advice… to myself!
Because I have written posts before with advice but honestly that’s kind of silly because I need the advice more than anyone. (Honestly my previous “advice” posts were really advice to myself!) And since I usually write about writing in my fourth blog post of the month, I have included plenty of advice to myself on managing writing without melting down.
Since we just had Christmas and in the few days prior to it I was really experiencing A LOT of brain injury symptoms I thought this was a good opportunity to give myself advice/a talking to.
Laura: How to Prevent Melting Down Like a Snowman on a Tropical Vacation
- Give yourself grace and understanding. I have been working on being less reactionary (i.e. swearing) towards others (mainly my sweet parents who don’t deserve my brain injury-related wrath) and there is really no reason I can’t adapt this advice for being less reactionary towards MYSELF.
- Give yourself plenty of time to complete tasks and alter your expectations of what you can do and complete. Be realistic with your goals and don’t overpromise yourself and others. I have never been good about setting realistic goals and expectations for myself. When I was dealing with daily chronic migraines and Fibromyalgia before the TBI I had a horrible habit of writing these really unrealistic “To Do Lists” for myself. Now I can look back and see how horrible and self-defeating this was. If I had set reasonable goals I could have achieved them instead of constantly coming up short and feeling like a failure.
- Rest and recuperate! A brain injury needs rest but so does a stressed out body (and brain) and when I add stress and exhaustion to my TBI brain it’s a recipe for disaster and chaos.
- Be proud of your achievements and celebrate them! There were several times during the pre-Christmas preparations that something I would complete would really turn out well. Because I was so focused on my unreasonable “To Do List” I wouldn’t stop to pat myself on the back for a job well done. I think if I had been a little more appreciative of my own successes I would have been kinder to myself and had less of a chance of melting down.
- Stop and smell the roses! There’s a reason this saying is a cliché and that’s truly because it’s true. Stopping to appreciate things makes everything more enjoyable and worth it in the long run.
How am I adapting these tips to help in my writing goals? Honestly all these tips work really well for writing. If I “give myself grace and understanding” in my writing I will have a chance to really see who I am as writer and that will be greatly beneficial in writing my memoir. “Giving myself plenty of time to complete tasks” is a hard one when working on a self-imposed goal like completing a memoir. This is certainly challenging because what is reasonable versus too lenient to actually complete something? (I don’t know the answer to that question.) The last three bits of advice are truly universal so they can easily be adapted for writing advice. Honestly, my greatest advice to myself is really to “take care” of myself. Because if I complete my memoir but destroy myself and all my TBI recovery in the process… will it be worth it?!