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Importance of Meaningful Activities
Think about gradually returning to your usual activities as treatment. Don’t wait until you are symptom free to start getting back to the activities you find meaningful and important. It may involve meeting friends at a restaurant, going for a walk or hike, or attending your son’s swim meet. Or, you might want to work on getting back to playing a musical instrument, doing live comedy, or making and selling jewelry.
If your calendar is filled with work, chores, and medical or rehabilitation appointments with no time for the activities you find meaningful, it can actually have a negative impact on your well-being.
Why Should I Have a Structured Routine?
Having a structured routine that includes meaningful activities is important for several reasons:
- It can boost your energy or mood.
- It provides opportunity to practice using your self-management strategies and new skills.
- It gives you a starting point from which you can gradually increase your activity levels.
- It may be a step towards a longer-term goal, such as returning to work.
The evidence is clear that being engaged in activities that are meaningful to us, and staying socially connected, positively influences our health.
What Do I Say to People in My Social Circle?
Sometimes an obstacle to connecting with others is not knowing how to talk about your experience living with a concussion. Crafting a short script can be helpful.
For example, “I am recovering from a concussion. I still have some symptoms , but am learning how to manage them, and I am on my way to getting better. And, how are you?"
Taking Action! (Part 1)
If you this is an area you would like to take action, you may want to create an Action Plan to return to one specific meaningful or social activity that you have stopped doing.
Also consider how to gradually return to this activity. For example, if meeting a friend at a busy restaurant for dinner will push you into the “Overdoing It Zone” you may want to consider meeting for lunch at a quiet cafe instead.
This diagram shows the different Activity Zones. If you would like to find out more, take a look at the article Gradual Return to Activities.
Taking Action! (Part 2)
Another way to take action could be developing a script to practice with a friend for how to respond if someone asks how you are doing. Remember, the more you practice the script, the easier it will get!
For more information and tips on how to develop a script, and how to “assert yourself” in a clear and positive way, you may want to review the information in the “Assertive Communication” article in MyGuide: Concussion.