Saba’s tips for holiday survival

BY: SABA RIZVI

The holidays are a tough time for everyone, and this is especially true for brain injury survivors who are often dealing with issues such as chronic fatigue, pain and cognitive fatigue.

Here are some tips I’ve come up since acquiring my brain injury a few years ago on how to get through two of the more challenging parts of the season: holiday dinner and shopping.

Saba Rizvi

 

Surviving the Holiday Dinner

Please let your host, or a trusted family member know about any concerns you may have, such as if you require a break during the event. Do not let the idea of being a ‘burden’ take over, as family and friends should be more than happy to help out.

Find grounding techniques that help you deal with your anxiety or pain levels, such as drinking lots of water and deep breathing when necessary. These little activities can make a big difference and help you sort your thoughts when things get overwhelming.

Don’t forget to take your medications with you in case you need them.

Holiday Shopping

Santas in a mall
photo credit: shaggy359 Which one’s him? via photopin (license)

Malls tend to get very overcrowded, and the increase in light displays and music does not help!

In order to deal with the crowd, you can take a friend with you and have a list of the stores you want to visit, along with where they are located in the mall. That way, you have both support and direction during this process. Having direction while shopping helps you navigate through the crowd and noise by putting it in the back of your mind.

You’re essentially making it secondary to your goal. You can also wear sunglasses or a brimmed hat to help with the light, and earphones or earplugs to reduce noise. If you would prefer to skip the mall altogether, you can shop for your gifts online, but time’s running out for that option quickly.

Again, have a list of the things you need and where you can buy them, and have a friend help you shop online. Happy shopping!


Saba Rizvi was in her second year of medical school when she sustained her Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). She has navigated her way through her TBI with the support of her family and friends, as well as from her knowledge of psychology and medicine. Saba has previously written blog posts for BIST and is currently a peer-mentor at the Brain Injury Association of Peel-Halton (BIAPH). She also promotes positive mental health via her artwork, and curated posts & articles. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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