Getting the rest my brain needs has definitely been one of my hardest struggles since the accident. I get the question: how do you relax your brain after a concussion? During my 5 years of recovery, I learned a lot about finding a balance between doing things and resting.
What happens if you do not rest your brain after a concussion?
Well, I think we all know our brain needs rest, and if it does not get the rest it needs, we feel unwell, restless, anxious, or overwhelmed.
When you ignore your symptoms for a longer period of time, it takes way longer to recover from them. If you do not treat your concussion and get the rest you need, you will suffer from headaches, fatigue, sensory overload, nausea, and all the other symptoms for a longer time.
The toughest thing is that we do not know exactly what happens if you do not rest your brain after a concussion. The only thing we know is that it does not make things any better. When we read about experiences from other people, there is not a single person who mentions they did not take any rest and that helped them.
But there are many people out there who did not get enough rest, and that made them feel worse. I hope one day we will know everything about the brain so we can "prove" our symptoms and we are not that lost anymore.
Let me be honest
Let me be honest; in the beginning, I did not give my brain enough rest. I pushed myself too hard to go back to work, to keep up my social life, and to finish all my tasks every day.
Until that moment, I could not handle it anymore and just broke. I changed everything drastically. I did not have a choice. I quit my job, I stopped seeing some people and focused on the things that gave me energy: creativity, yoga, nature, meditation, personal development and only seeing a few people.
Finding that balance between doing things and resting
This is definitely my substantial struggle during my years of recovery. Sometimes it is just like every day is different, so my limits are different too.
On one day, I can handle 10 tasks; on another day, only 1. So it is all about focusing on one day at a time, and giving my brain enough breaks and rest to recover.
My tasks are increasing too, as I am running this community and it is growing bigger and bigger. So it is as if I need to set new boundaries, make new lists, filter out some activities, or add every month (or so).
I also need to focus on resting my brain. I am using a timer to remind myself to take a break, otherwise I am so focused that I forget about that.
How do you relax your brain after a concussion? My 5 ways
Binaural beats. Never heard of this? Binaural beats are auditory illusions that occur when you hear different frequencies of sounds in different ears. You need to use a headphone or earplugs to make it work. My brain feels so relaxed after doing this. I am using the app: Brainwave 35 binaural programs (recommended by my doctor). I use Delta or Theta for meditation (10–20 minutes) in the evening before going to sleep. I use Alpha during the day. There are five different brain waves:
Delta 1-4 HZ. This is the lowest frequency state: deep sleep, healing and pain relief, meditation, cortisol reduction.
Theta 4-8 HZ. For meditation, deep relaxation and creativity.
Alpha 8-14 HZ. For focus and productivity. It helps to relax, reduce stress, maintain positive thinking and increase your learning capabilities.
Beta 14 -30 HZ. For keeping attention, solving problems, energy and action.
Gamma: 30-100 HZ. For attention to detail, memory recall, more creativity, increased cognitive function.
Meditation and yoga (+ affirmations) have been extremely beneficial in calming me down. I do a short meditation every morning just to check in with myself. I do yoga a few times a week when I feel I need more rest. I only do yin yoga and restorative yoga (the most relaxing forms of yoga). >> Read my other blog: Positive Concussion Healing Affirmations.
Breathing exercises: Did you know that if you breathe more than 7 times (inhale and exhale) in one minute, your body is stressed? One of the most important aspects of managing your emotions and becoming more relaxed is controlling your breathing. That is why I focus on my breath during meditation and always make sure the exhalation is longer than the inhalation. This is a signal for your body to relax. I mostly do this rhythm: inhale for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, exhale for 7 seconds.
Floating session/taking a bath: Did you know that when you are relaxing in water, it is a sign that your body is safe? I will save you from the full detailed explanation, but it has something to do with the time you were still in the womb (safe place). I love the floating sessions in a saloon, but do not do them that often because it is a bit expensive. So that is why I love my bath session at home (without my phone or any distraction).
Being alone in nature: I especially said alone because being together with someone is sometimes exhausting for me. You must communicate and cannot do everything your way. That is why I like to be in nature alone so I can do what I want and clear my head. When I want to sit down, that is okay. I can focus on everything around me (mindful) and enjoy the sounds of nature. (gentle exercise like walking is always helping my brain to relax).
Some people mention naps are really helping them to calm down. I try not to nap but if you really need it make sure you don't nap longer than 30 minutes. Studies show that a short nap can be helpful. Napping for too long has the opposite effect.
I hope my five tips will help you. Now I am curious about you. How do you relax your brain after a concussion? Share it with me on Instagram!
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