In the weeks after your injury, it is important to get enough rest while gradually returning to your usual routine. Try to take it steady, rather than swinging between too much and too little activity.
In this video, Professor Alan Carson explains that after a mild head injury, instead of waiting for the symptoms to go away, it’s better to gently return to your normal activities.
People who are worried that they have sustained serious damage sometimes avoid usual activities. This does not help them to recover, but in fact can lead to loss of confidence and physical fitness and fatigue. It is important to remember that the symptoms of mild head injury improve over time and do not cause longstanding problems or future dementia. Try to gradually resume your usual activities in the weeks after the injury.
Building Up Activities
Be realistic about giving yourself time to recover. Start by planning fairly light activities at first, with low-stress, routine tasks. It may be helpful to limit activities that put you under pressure for a while, for example things that require intense concentration or quick decisions. Try spending a little more time on these sort of tasks each day, instead of attempting to do it all at once.
- Stick to a daily routine
- Focus on one thing at a time
- Have small breaks throughout the day
- Allow yourself extra time to perform tasks
Boom – Bust Cycle
Doing to much in a single day, to start with, might make you feel very tired, maybe even so much so that you don’t feel up to much the next day. If you are someone who is used to being busy and active, getting a lot done, it is easy to get into an unhelpful cycle of busy days with days in between where you feel totally exhausted. When you are in this pattern it can be difficult to make any forward progress and can feel like you are back to ‘square one’ a lot of the time. This pattern is more likely to happen if you dwell on ‘all or nothing’ thoughts, like ‘If I can’t get back to working a whole day and then running five miles, I’m not going to do anything at all.’
> Do You Recognise this Pattern? Read how to gradually increase your activities here
Back to Work
Try taking small steps towards getting back to your regular tasks. If you are returning to work, pace yourself slowly at first, before gradually building up as your confidence and physical fitness improve. Sometimes it may be better to work shorter hours initially. These steps may be especially important if you have a demanding or stressful job.