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Self Care with a TBI to Enhance Healing

Sleep. Work at getting 8-10 hours a night (or more!) of consistent sleep. This is where the best healing of the brain occurs. No medication or activity comes close to the healing properties of sleep - and consistency is the key to the most effective healing. Try to wind down at least an hour before getting into bed.

Drink water. Drink 8-10 glasses a day (or more!) to stay hydrated and help cleanse away inflammation. This will also boost energy to combat fatigue. Drink enough that your urine is a pale yellow color.

Diet. Avoid eating sugary foods and simple carbohydrates like white flour – white breads, pasta, etc. These foods are processed in the body like sugar, which is a toxin to the nervous system. Staying clear of sugar will improve healing. Support your healing with healthy anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and whole grains.

Meditation and Breathing. Take several breaks a day (5 – 20 minutes) to rest and shut down your brain. It’s not possible to stop thinking – but it helps healing tremendously to close your eyes in a dark place if possible and focus your attention on your breath. This is like re-booting your computer when it gets slow or bogged down.

 Walking. Take walks and get gentle aerobic exercise, 20 – 30 minutes a day if possible to increase flood and lymphatic circulation to the brain. This also boosts endorphins to help you heal and feel good. It also helps to keep moving throughout the day. Avoid activities where you have a risk of falling (biking, etc.) or that are overly compressive (running, etc.).

Think Positively. Since your brain is the “computer” that runs your entire body – your thoughts influence how you heal. Don’t lose hope. Fill your brain with gratitude and healing thoughts. Tell your brain  -  “I got this”.

Movement. Trying yoga, qi gong, or tai chi movement classes where breathing is combined with gentle motion will train your ability to stay connected to your breath to enhance healing.

Self Love. Reward yourself for your work - often. The longer you keep this up the more lasting changes occur and you will build good habits for life.

Stay Strong. Healing from a TBI can take months to years. Consistency with self-care is a key to getting through it.

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