In this episode of LivingUpp’s Conversations with Smart People, I talked with author Jennifer Soames about self-care and Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI.
Jennifer lives with TBI and has shared some of her personal experiences in her book Head of Hope*.
So, what exactly is a traumatic brain injury? The Centers for Disease Control defines it as “a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury.”
As Jennifer explains, TBI symptoms can last a few weeks or for the entirety of a person’s life. Part of what makes this condition so elusive condition is that each person’s experience is vastly different.
In her book, Jennifer outlines a roadmap for people healing from a TBI. If you’re wondering what someone with TBI experiences, you can listen to our full interview below.
One of the biggest issues for those living with TBI is low energy levels. Not being able to get off the couch to complete even the simplest of tasks can be difficult to accept, especially for type A's who are used to setting high expectations of themselves.
Once you’re able to recognize and accept that low energy levels are the new norm, you can begin to re-prioritize what matters most, Jennifer explains.
And asking yourself, “What do I absolutely have to get done?” or “Where do I want to spend my energy today?” are simple questions to help you focus your energy.
As Jennifer puts it, “If it’s low on the priority list, it can wait.”
Creating better boundaries is another important focus area for those who live with a TBI. Learning when and how to say no protects your energy levels so you can give your best when it matters most.
And if you want to continue being in service to others, you have to be able to say ‘no’ from time to time. Learning how to honor your body by setting boundaries is a must.
After all, self-care is the art of giving yourself permission to give yourself what you need when you need it.
Support networks are important for all of us, but for Jennifer, having a support network has been essential for her healing process. Knowing she wasn’t alone offered comfort and a sense of community, which was a source of encouragement to her as she transitioned into a new lifestyle. Whether you choose to be part of an in-person support group or connect online, it’s clear that having a strong support network is a vital component of the lifestyle redesign process.
Surprisingly, finding information about TBI wasn’t easy as Jennifer had hoped, which is one of the reasons she published Head of Hope*.
But one resource she did find was the Brain Injury Association of America website, and anyone who is dealing with TBI personally should definitely check it out.
Have a thought about TBI? Leave a comment below.
*LivingUpp™ is a participant in affiliate programs, which means we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases on links to Amazon and other affiliate sites.