4 things you can do to supercharge your progress over Christmas.
Updated: Dec 6, 2020
As we head into the Christmas, if you have an acquired neurological condition, you may find that your normal support, activities and perhaps therapy sessions are reducing over this period.
You may start to feel concerned that some of your recent progress may be lost or frustrated that you can't continue your normal routine to aid your recovery.
However, one therapeutic principle which is useful to think about when you feel like this is "Self Management".
Self management is taking control of your own health, goals and aspirations for your recovery. It does not replace specialist advice or intervention but it can help you to maximise the progress you've already made and plan for your future rehabilitation.
So here's 4 basic principles of self management for you to consider:
1. LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF
Christmas can be a wonderful time spending time with family, changing your routine and enjoying all the festive food and drink, if you are able to. However, it can also become overwhelming and exhausting, especially if you have underlying health conditions.
If you do suffer with fatigue or becoming poorly when you have overdone things, make a plan for looking after yourself so you feel your best in January.
Before the festive period, start thinking about what makes you feel good. What do you feel like on a good day and what are the things that make you feel like this?
Do you need a routine, rest or activities spread out rather than all in one day? How are your fatigue levels when you socialise? Do you need a day "off" to recover?
What kind of food makes you feel good, alert and at your best? How much water do you need to drink to feel awake and energised?
Does being active and getting fresh air provide you with some much needed energy and blow the cobwebs away?
What activities can you do that you enjoy and take your mind off any worries or stresses you may have?
2020 is like no other year and we should all be thinking how we can not only stay well physically but also mentally. Think about what type of things that will make for a jolly holiday and how you can feel refreshed for the new year.
One priority in your rehabilitation journey is becoming knowledgeable about your condition. Understanding why you have the difficulties you have, what effects this can cause, how you can manage these and things you can do to progress.
Taking an active approach and information gathering from either credible sources such as The Stroke Association and Headway are a good place to start. Asking your therapists to provide you with some accessible information or guidelines may also be useful so that you can remember them and also share with others.
If you are spending time with different people than usual, remember that they may not fully understand your health condition and sharing information that they can understand and process is important too.
Becoming your own expert is essential to self management.
Not everyone has the picture postcard Christmas, with lots of family and friends around, particularly this year in the UK when we are still so restricted by COVID.
Even if you are with people you love, you can still feel isolated in a social situation if you have a communication disorder or swallowing difficulties.
Connection with others going through the same thing as you may become very important part of your support network during rehabilitation. Sharing stories and advice together can be a real mood booster.
It can be daunting to start with as it may not be something you would usually do but keeping in touch with friends from hospital or your support groups, connecting with local charities, joining forums or groups online or following inspiring people on social media, may help you to feel less isolated at this time.
4. GOAL SETTING
How about setting yourself a small challenge to complete over the festive period? This will not only continue your progress in your recovery but it can provide focus for times where you are out of your normal routine. It will also get you thinking about what you want to achieve in the new year.
Maybe ask your therapist in your sessions leading up to Christmas to think of a Christmas "homework" challenge for you.
Or choose something you want to be able to do at home. For example, if you want to be able to make a phone call to a friend but don't know how to use your phone, make the call or what you would say, try to practise this. Break the task down into the smallest task e.g. can you turn the phone on/off and then work your way up from there.
Share what you want to achieve with your family or carers and see if they can help you too.
If you have therapy apps that are sitting on your tablet, use them if you can. Set yourself score challenges.
Think about where you are now, what you would like to be able to do and break this down into small achievable steps to complete over this period.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from Castlepoint Independent Speech and Language Therapy xxx