Click here to read a great article from Psychology Today on a simple prescription for self-love.
Words. Pictures. Video. Virtual Platforms.
BEST Online Resources are at the ready! Here’s your guide to getting started.
At the Brain Energy Support Team (BEST), sharing our personal stories and journeys are important to us. Finding the words and putting those words to the keyboard or to paper, makes a difference, not only for us as individuals, but to us as a brain injury community as a whole.
Here’s a list of writers and links that we think are just the BEST. We encourage you to read and share their words.
Isaac Peterson: Isaac Peterson is a journalist, public speaker, instructor and stroke survivor in Washington State. Isaac has penned a number of poignant, powerful and clever articles right here on the BEST blog. Click here to see a catalog of his blog work.
Michelle Munt: Michelle Munt is a writer and survivor from the United Kingdom that has become one of our favorite BEST social media friends and supporters. Her honest and thoughtful writing has touched the lives of many in the brain injury community and beyond. Her blog is at jumbledbrain.com.
Debbie Hampton: Is having the best brain possible, possible? According to writer, blogger and author, Debbie Hampton, the answer to that question is a resounding, yes! Hampton is the creator, writer and moderator of The BEST Brain Possible, a comprehensive website of resources, strategies, tips and information about brain health and overall wellness. Hampton, a brain injury survivor and mental health and wellness advocate, has shared her own personal story and her journey forward to healing and happiness.
Rod Rawls: Rod Rawls is the creator, writer, blogger and moderator of A Changing World: How One TBI Survivor and One Family Caregiver is Trying To Keep Up . Rod sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a motorcycle accident several years ago. In his writing, he documents his journey forward after brain injury and offers tips and strategies for fellow survivors and caregivers. He is also a caregiver himself for a close family member and offers his words and wisdom on caregiving, too.
The Caregiver Warrior (Susanne White): Susanne White (Caregiver Warrior) is a caregiver, caregiving and caregiver advocate and supporter, writer, blogger, and podcaster. For additional caregiver and caregiving resources, tips, strategies, and inspiration, visit her website at caregiverwarrior.com and on social media on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.
Dr. Jannine Krause: Dr. Krause is a doctor of naturopathic medicine, an acupuncturist and podcast host dedicated to empowering people to take charge of their own health. Her unique approach is simplifying natural medicine and healthy habit formation. She believes that health starts with what we eat, how we move and how well we manage stress. She wants to help prevent little health issues from becoming big ones down the road. Click here to read her BEST blog article exclusives. Learn more about Dr. Krause here.
Marc Macialek: Marc Macialek survived a traumatic brain injury in spring 2012. After struggling to find good resources to help with his recovery, he was able to connect with a doctor who gave him tools to make the most of his recovery. Now he works to help survivors and caregivers find the resources to make the most to survive and thrive through the recovery journey. You can find more of his writings at his site recoveringfromtbi.com.
Jeff Sebell: BEST friend, Jeff Sebell, penned the highly acclaimed and groundbreaking book, Learning to Live with Yourself after Brain Injury, which was released in August of 2014. He also writes a blog at TBISurvivor.com.
Evie (Redefining Normal): Evie is a Dutch blogger who is the creator of the blog, Redefining Normal (Finding a New Normal, Living with a Brain Injury). Follow Evie as she lives life, tries new things and tackles new challenges. A terrific read!
Maggie DePuye-Phillips: Maggie is a caregiver/care partner for a disabled veteran with a TBI/PTSD. Maggie is passionate about caregiver issues and is an advocate for veterans and individuals with disabilities. She is also a BEST guest blogger who pens articles on caregiving.
Kirsten Short: Kirsten she suffered a concussion in February of 2017. However, she manages to stay positive despite her post-concussion symptoms, chronic migraines and visual snow. When not working on her rehabilitation, Kirsten takes full advantage of her good hours by advocating for brain injury survivors and their families; this is a new passion of hers. You can read more about her story on her blog: Concussions and Lawn Chairs.
Pics and Video:
Visit the BEST YouTube channel to check out our video collection. Click here to view.
Here you’ll find educational video, slideshows, and other material. Enjoy!
BEST has created a virtual presence for reaching out to those with brain injury and their caregivers. BEST hosts a variety of social events, small group discussions, workshops, and skills training. Our goal in Second Life is to support those with brain injury engage in alternative and meaningful learning and PEER support. Our office can be found on Etopia Island in Second Life.
Click here to get started. It’s free and all are welcome!
If you haven’t already done so, we’d love to have you join us on our social media platforms. Visit our home page by clicking here. On the top right of the home page, there are icons that, when clicked, are links to each platform: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
Stay tuned to this blog for updates and additional information on other online materials.
What’s the key to self-love?
Being your own best friend.
Our BEST friend, Debbie Hampton, is the creator, writer and moderator of The BEST Brain Possible, a comprehensive website of resources, strategies, tips and information about brain health and overall wellness. Hampton, a brain injury survivor and mental health and wellness advocate, has shared her own personal story and her journey forward to healing and happiness.
Debbie Hampton chronicles her experiences and learning how to become her own best friend instead of her own worst enemy.
Click here to read.
- regard for one’s own well-being and happiness
The definition of self-love shown above is the dictionary definition.
On its own, it’s great.
But how can take the definition of self-love from great to SUPER? How can we take self-love and help it soar to new heights for the real-life superheroes of the brain injury community?
Here are three ideas.
Self-love is empowered and unique. We are empowered to love ourselves in whatever ways work best for us. Self-love is different for everyone and that’s okay.
Self-love is creative. Self-love challenges us to look at new and creative ideas, while keeping an open mind to see things in fresh ways.
Self-love inspires others. When we love ourselves, it shows, and it inspires others to do the same!
For the BEST community, we are passionate about self-love and self-care. And when we work on these things by sharing ideas and supporting each other, together, we soar like superheroes taking flight!
We think that’s the BEST definition for self-love.
(Editor’s Note: BEST welcomes a blog exclusive from Susanne White, Caregiver Warrior! She explores creativity and caregiving in a passionate and powerful way. Thank you Caregiver Warrior for your words and wisdom! KT)
Productivity comes from the mind, but creativity comes from the heart.
Creativity is driven by the need to see things differently.
People who are creative believe the world is filled with possibility.
Caregivers are creative geniuses. No one approaches life as creatively as caregivers do. They simply could not survive without creative problem solving.
Caregivers are constantly forced to think outside of the normal box, because we are presented with a puzzle that changes on a daily basis. Fresh perspective and fluid solutions make us rethink things and approach problems from different angles.
The perfect example of this was the way I had to approach my Dad’s loss of appetite after his open heart surgery. It was really a battle and I was completely baffled. He had always been such a good eater and his doctors had no answers.
In desperation, I began to rethink everything. I knew there must be a reason food was turning him off, and was determined to solve the mystery rather than accept this as the new normal.
I began to ask questions in an attempt to gain a new perspective.
What was influencing him? What was different about his lifestyle? What had we changed during and since his surgery? Thinking it through, his appetite was not too bad post surgery so the answer was in the weeks and months following. Were the the things that were supposed to be helping him, hurting him?
I began looking at his meds one by one and sure enough I found a high dosage medication that had LOSS of APPETITE as a main side effect. When I questioned the doctor he actually told me he wasn’t aware of that side effect for that drug but on my insistence allowed us to lower the dosage considerably. We still got the effect we needed from the drug, but his appetite slowly came back.
Looking at this situation creatively, and believing in the possibility of a solution, I was able to find one.
It should be noted that my ability to think creatively greatly increased when I was focusing on self care. When I was rested, eating healthy meals and nurturing myself, my creativity was so much easier to tap into. When we nurture ourselves, we have the energy and desire to tap into our creativity.
So break the rules, think outside of the box, see possibility, be curious and tap into your ability to see the world differently. Search through choices and decisions and go for heartfelt re-evaluation. Come up with new ideas and be open to trying different things. The creative process is all about opening your mind and heart so you can see and feel things with a fresh perspective.
Be the creative genius that you are!
Susanne White (Caregiver Warrior) is a caregiver, caregiving and caregiver advocate and supporter, writer, blogger, and podcaster. For additional caregiver and caregiving resources, tips, strategies, and inspiration, visit her website at caregiverwarrior.com and on social media on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.
Self-care is all the rage. You see recommendations for spas, facial products, types of massage therapies, and wellness weekends. Where ever I turn, there’s another ad for something to buy.
My goal is to find ways to spoil myself (other than binging on old Star Trek episodes) that doesn’t cost anything. Or, at the least, very little.
Most people think of going for a walk as one way to exercise for free. I think that’s great, but we can incorporate so much more into that walk than simply counting laps around the block. Weather permitting, step outside with your socks and sneakers in hand, not on your feet, and stop to wiggle your toes in the grass out front of your home or in the dirt of your garden. Let it get between your toes. Feel its softness. Remember how much fun it was when you were a kid to run and roll in the grass.
No grass or garden? That’s hard to imagine even in most urban settings, but let’s go with it. Step onto the concrete and feel its warmth, feel the roughness of it under your feet. Look down. Do you see moss peeping up between the cracks? Perhaps there’s an ant scurrying along with a bit of twig on it’s back.
Pay attention to your breathing; in and out. Notice if it’s shallow or deep, slow or quick. Does it fill your chest? Does it go all the way down to your gut? Does it make a little whistle when you inhale? Take a moment to appreciate this life-giving activity.
You may also notice that you feel calmer. You may even be smiling. And we haven’t even gone anywhere.
At this point you’ll want to put on your socks and shoes on and take that walk.
What are some other things that you can do to take care of yourself for little or no money?
Some wellness gurus recommend a good pen and a special book that feels comfortable to write in. Others simply suggest you have a pen and paper. These things are great if, as I do, you like to write. I also love to draw and color and paint. I recommend you have crayons and a blank sketchpad (or use the back of each of those 60-pages of the report you had to print to review).
Reflect on your day, how you felt about it, what you experienced, who you met, and the things you are grateful for, are only some of the things you can journal about. Write a poem about what happened at the doctor appointment. Draw an emotion you had with colors that represent how it felt. Sketch out stick figures of the people you met. Be creative! If you have stickers or ink stamps use those. This is your journal. Have fun with it and enjoy. It’s a wonderful way to let what’s bottled up inside out.
2. Invite two friends over for a potluck dinner
If you’re like me you probably spend a lot of time online. Or you may spend too much time at work. Maybe your situation is such that you can’t get out much. Inviting two friends over is a wonderful way to engage with people face-to-face without feeling over-stimulated. And a potluck means you’re not the only one doing the cooking.
Think about asking them to each bring something different. One could bring a salad and the other dessert. Suggest a leftover night. Everyone gets to bring what’s left in the fridge to share.
Sharing food with friends is one of the best ways to take care of yourself.
3. Volunteer at a local organization you care about and believe in
Volunteering is proven to make us feel good. And feeling good is what self-care is all about. First of all, you stop focusing on you and have a chance to focus on others. This sends endorphins to our brain and lightens our heart.
Which organization should you volunteer with? There are many to choose from and you may already be donating money to one or more of them. Become a museum docent. Spend time at the humane society caring for puppies. Spend time with children in an after-school program at your local Y or community center. Be an usher at the local theater.
Pick your cause. Grab your smile. Head on over to your agency of choice.
4. Say NO more often
Too often we say yes because we feel guilty if we don’t. Or we feel it’s our responsibility to say yes when asked to do something. Saying yes out of guilt or obligation only induces stress. That’s not taking care of yourself. Learning to say no once in a while is a way of honoring your boundaries. It’s also liberating.
So, next time you are about to say yes when you don’t want to, stop and think about why you feel like you should say yes and then politely say no. No explanations needed.
I don’t think you have to sit on a cushion like a pretzel to do this. I do think you need to find a quiet moment and a comfortable space. This is your opportunity to unplug and reboot.
Think of how your computer gets when it runs hot or has been working overtime processing all those chats and pins. Instead of throwing it against the wall, you most likely shut it down and reboot it after a few minutes.
The same applies to us. A great self-care activity is to stop, bring your energy inward, relax, and meditate for a few minutes before moving onto the next task or activity.
These are just a few ideas. If you have other thoughts or things that you do to take care of yourself share them with us.