The holiday season is a stressful time for everyone with all the planning, preparation and expectations of Christmas taking a huge amount of time and energy.
But for people with brain injury, what is supposed to be a festive season can be particularly difficult. Perhaps problems with organisation and concentration make planning that bit more difficult, or maybe fatigue and difficulties in crowded environments add to the stress of the big day itself. Brain injury can cause additional issues for loved ones too, who may have to take on more of the Christmas jobs while still providing essential support.
There are some things that can be done to make the season a little easier though, and with a change of perspective and approach many people find that it's still very much possible to have a merry Christmas after brain injury!
We’ve put together a few tips and comments from our online communities to help...
So how do people with a brain injury plan for a stress-free Christmas? We posed the question to our Facebook and HealthUnlocked communities and received some excellent tips:
Try not to do everything, accept help, ask for it if needed, try and space out the visits so not everyone all at once or, if not possible, take regular breaks, hour naps or lie down.
- Lisa-Marie Scott
A general tip would be keep it all as simple and cheap as you can and, if you are hosting, ask family to bring a contribution to the dinner.
Don’t be afraid to say ‘I’m going to have a rest now’ then join back in when you are ready.
- Sonia Piper-Notley
The run up before can be overload time so once again plan shopping. I wrap and hide presents – but I have to remember to let someone else know where I’ve put them...yes I have found presents at Easter time.
Circle the calendar or memo your phone to remind you to order meds to see you through until the new year. Present shop throughout the year. Clear at least a few days for wrapping, same again for delivery. As for food shopping, I start adding a Christmas item each week to the shopping for the freezer.
If you find yourself struggling with the stresses of Christmas you might find talking to someone helpful. Please note that the Headway helpline will be closed over the Christmas period, however other sources of support will be available. The Samaritans will be open throughout Christmas and offer a listening ear. Find out how to contact them here.
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