Erin Thompson is an artist with a purpose.
She loves to share her work with the community to raise awareness; at the Brain Energy Support Team (BEST), we’ve been honored to be a big part of Erin’s art and efforts.
The artist, who is also a family member of a brain injury survivor, has been volunteering her time and talents with BEST for years.
And she’s only 18 years old.
BEST is delighted and honored to announce that Erin Thompson has been named our BEST Superhero of the Month for December 2019.
Here’s what her nominator had to say about her:
Since she was in junior high school, Erin has been contributing her time, energy and artistic talents as a BEST volunteer.
Erin has been a longtime artist, and has provided BEST with lots of original art used in social media posts, blog posts, and for special events. Erin has assisted the BEST Communications Manager with consulting for Instagram and for other social media endeavors.
Erin has also assisted as needed for special community events. Her biggest contribution to event work for BEST, was not only to contribute original artwork to the Tacoma Art Museum Local Community Art Installation, BEST’s “Superhero” show running from October 16, 2019 through December 26, 2019, she provided valuable assistance in setting up for the show and opening night reception.
Currently a college freshman at the University of Washington in Tacoma, Erin is studying business marketing and continues to create art. She is passionate about supporting BEST and the Washington State brain injury community, and will continue her contributions.
Thank you Erin for all of your contributions to BEST! You are super!
We are now accepting nominations for 2020! Nominate your real-life superhero today by clicking here.
Spent a great morning at the Tacoma Art Museum with fellow superheroes 🦸♀️ on Saturday, December 21, 2019!
Our BEST thanks, love ❤️ and hugs to Heath and Renee (of collidedscopes.com), artist, author and instructor, Renne Emiko Brock, artist and BEST volunteer, Erin T., and Shane N. for hanging out and just being SUPER! Catch our community art installation “Superhero “ before it takes flight! Last day to view is December 26th! ❤️🦸♀️
(Editor’s note: BEST’s own Gloria Kraegel penned an article on different ways to navigate the holiday season while taking care of our ourselves. We’d love to hear the creative ways that you manage this time of year. Send your thoughts to me, Kim Thompson, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you! KT).
Navigating the Holidays
By Gloria Kraegel, BEST Executive Director
It’s that time of year when those of us with a brain injury are challenged, more than any other time of year, to figure out gift giving, deal with increased lights and sound, navigate social events, work on our social skills, and so much more.
It’s exhausting, and yet we want to enjoy the spirit of the season with friends and family.
How do we balance all of this with our own needs?
The first thing I would recommend is to find a way to advocate for ourselves by asking for help, saying no to some things so we can enjoy other things, and to keep things simple.
Ask for help: Everyone needs help no matter what time of year it is. We might need help with shopping, even on the internet. Perhaps we want to bring a simple dish to a family holiday dinner and can ask someone to help us prepare it. Whatever it is, identify who in our circle of support would be the best person to ask for help. Not only that, if someone offers to help, let them.
Saying no: Saying no is a healthy way to save energy this time of year. Actually, learning to politely say no is a good practice any time of year. We don’t have to accept every invitation, allow every visitor, engage with everyone at an event. If the lights are too bright, ask to turn them down. If the music is too loud, ask to turn it down. Remember that we engage with others best when the stimulus is low.
Keep things simple: All the decorations, rearranging furniture for that large tree, and everything else a lot of us think are necessary for the holidays really isn’t. A smaller tree, simple decorations, and less lights all help to reduce stimulus, thereby reducing overload and creating a quieter holiday we can fully enjoy.
Eat well: That doesn’t mean eat a lot, or to eat everything offered to us. Eat smaller portions of healthy food. We know that our food choices affect our brains and cognitive abilities. Too much caffeine and sugar are unhealthy. Nuts, fruits, and vegetables provide the nutrients our brains need to function at its best.
Sleep well: Often after a brain injury we find it hard to sleep regular hours. This can be especially true during the holidays when we may have more to do or be a part of. It’s important to keep a regular sleep schedule (and personal quiet time) to help us get the most out of our holiday activities.
Plan: Finally, and this always helps me get through the holidays; have an idea of the things you want to do in advance of doing anything. Plan which events are most important to you and that you would enjoy the most. Attend those and say no to the rest of the invitations. Have what you want to wear to these events already picked out and put together in the closet. This way you don’t have to worry about what’s clean or ironed, or which sweater goes with what pants.
These aren’t the only ways to reduce stress and navigate the holidays. If you have tips that work for you, please share them with us and have a safe, peaceful, enjoyable holiday season.
The Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) has just witnessed the most beautiful art of sharing and caring.
Thank you for helping to support the empowerment artists of the brain injury community and their families.
With your generous help, you are providing the support for more learning materials and educational opportunities to tap into creative tools, resources and strategies for brain injury survivors to live the BEST lives possible after brain injury.
You put the “giving” in Giving Tuesday yesterday, the international day of giving back to causes that make a difference in the lives of others.
Click here to contribute on our fast and secure donation page.
Donations of any amount are welcomed and greatly appreciated.
As we reflect on 2019, the art of living our BEST lives possible in beautiful color and texture was evident.
Through our large support group network in Washington State; Our BEST Space activities, educational opportunities and events; widely attended educational symposiums; the Washington State TBI Conference; Brain Injury Awareness Month; camping; picnics; barbecues; the Tacoma Art Museum, TAM Local Community Art Installation: “Superhero” show featuring BEST artists; Second Life online support and activities; and BEST community outreach, the art of sharing our care and supporting each other was nothing short of magical.
Looking forward to the new brushstrokes of 2020. Thanks for making 2019 so special.
That’s why at BEST, we help people, who have a canvas at the ready, with the tools, strategies and resources to help them tap into their own kind of creativity and empowerment that works best for them.
Add that to the exciting idea of the power of being an actual artist.
We see our community as Empowerment Artists, and there is no such thing as failure.
We’ve already begun with success by being (empowerment) artists already.
Together, let’s make beautiful and important empowerment art on our journey forward after brain injury.
Here’s your chance to practice the artistry of sharing your care, along with supporting others on their empowerment journey.
The Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Giving Tuesday is Tuesday, December 3, 2019.
Our theme? The Art of Empowerment.
Our goal is to raise $5K to fund the learning materials for online and in person educational opportunities and special events to help empowerment artists practice their craft.
Donations of any amount help.
While you are invited to contribute on Giving Tuesday itself, you may make a secure and fast online donation right now by clicking here.
You are also welcome to send a check by mail to:
Brain Energy Support Team (BEST)
3800A Bridgeport Way W. #393
University Place, WA 98466
Thank you for being a generosity artist! We appreciate YOU for your time and interest.
Would you like to some BEST artists in our community? Learn all about them and a special BEST art installation at the Tacoma Art Museum this fall.