Coming soon (NEW): BESTies will have more superpowers online through the BEST website!
On May 22, 2020, we’ll be sharing a new website feature that supports the brain injury community in a super and fun new way.
Stay tuned! 💚😉
Looking for some free things to do online?
Here is a guide with links with some virtual ideas on activities and educational opportunities.
The Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) is proud and honored to have connections with so many fantastic writers in the brain injury community throughout the world. From brain injury survivors to caregivers, to subject matter experts and community partners, our writers cover a variety of topics close to our hearts. Click here to view our article on these writers and be sure to check them out. You will be glad you did!
Our most popular topic on the BEST blog? Self-care. Click here for a library of articles and ideas on self-care on the BEST blog.
Looking for a terrific library of brain injury awareness and caregiver articles? Try these sites (click on the words below to view):
Our wonderful BEST friend, the Tacoma Art Museum has a terrific at-home program right online. By clicking here, you can view exhibits, learn about art, get art resources, and create your own DIY project.
Looking to do some more art museum tours? Click here for a few of the most iconic (and free) virtual art museum tours in the world.
Looking for the ultimate staycation, where you can travel the world virtually? Click here to do just that.
Enjoy poetry? Our BEST friend, brain injury support group facilitator and instructor, Jennifer McCarthy, shared her poetry for a special poetry challenge at her college, Big Bend Community College in Washington State. Check out the beautiful virtual book of poetry the school is putting together by clicking here.
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 learn more and join us today.
Looking to learn something new? Click here for 25 options for free online education.
Virtual field trips are a great way to learn and have fun! From theme parks to zoos, take a trip from the comfort of home by clicking here.
Check out self-care programming from spas, including virtual spa retreats, as well as yoga and wellness programs by clicking here.
Listen to a book. Click here to learn more about libraries of free audio books.
Love listening and/or watching musical or theatrical performances? Check out this article by clicking here for some great links and ideas on just that.
Move and Breathe:
The Love Your Brain Foundation has free yoga videos to check out. Click here to view.
Interested in meditation? Click here to learn about beginning mediation classes that are online and free.
So, we will leave it here for now. We know there’s a lot to digest here.
Have additional ideas? Share them by email with BEST Communication Manager, Kim Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org as we are going to continue to expand this guide or create additional guides in the future. Thank you!
Social media means lots of things to lots of people.
Here’s a list of just some of the key elements of why people use social media:
Needless to say, social media is important and is deeply ingrained in our community and cultural landscapes.
For those of us in the brain injury community, whether we’re survivors or caregivers, social media can serve an even more vital purpose. Not only can it serve us well in the six items noted above, it can be a terrific and helpful way to connect to other brain injury community members across the world. For some of us, social media offers hope, community, and even a lifeline.
So, social media is pretty perfect, yes?
Unfortunately, no. In fact, it’s far from it.
While social media can bring out the best in people, it can also bring out the worst.
Arguments. Ugly and/or uncomfortable posts and tweets. Negativity.
So, what does a social media user do to balance the good and the not-so-good things that come with social media use?
We’ve broken down some helpful tips and strategies to help you manage social media successfully, safely and positively. We have even provided personal tips from a social media expert at the end of this article.
Let’s get started.
Keep your social media safe with these important tips from experts:
Keeping Social Media Positive
How do you keep social media a positive experience?
Here are some important things questions to ask yourself about your social media use:
After you’ve thought through these questions, here are some tips to keep your social media use positive:
The beauty of social media, and the most important thing that we can remember, is that we do really have control over what we see and who we interact with.
With that, use your social media tools to filter out the bad, and bring in the good. If there’s a person, group or page that bothers you, you can unfriend, unfollow and/or stop seeing their posts temporarily and/or permanently (depending on the platform). Please consult the help section of your social media platforms to learn more specifics.
Remember, you are in control and you know what’s best for you; don’t feel bad about taking these actions.
Once you’ve determined what isn’t working, add more of what is! This is one of the really fun parts of social media. Add the people, groups, things and organizations that really give you a positive spark.
You also have another great superpower on social media: encouraging others. Reinforce great posts and give others kindness, inspiration and hope with likes and positive comments. Model the kinds of posts you want to see, by creating great posts of your own.
If you are the recipient of a negative comment or find yourself in a tense exchange, here are some great tips to help defuse the situation.
Here are some final strategies to keep your social media experience a positive one.
Tips from a Social Media Expert
As the BEST nonprofit communications manager, a big part of my job is social media creation and moderation for the organization.
Let’s just say I see lots of social media posts on multiple social media platforms each day due to my duties, and of course, from my own personal social media.
The best part is that I get to see social media at its very best and brightest.
However, I do, more regularly than I’d like, get to see the worst it has to offer.
So, when it comes to my own personal social media, I’ve learned a lot professionally and personally over the years.
I post the things that I love only: beautiful photographs (especially nature), family memories, holiday and every day best wishes to others and things that BEST is doing in the community.
I have also decided some time ago what conversations and topics are best had privately in private message, voice to voice or in-person. These are the kinds of things I don’t engage in on social media and chose to engage in by the other ways I noted earlier.
When it comes to social media shares, I ask myself the following questions before I put something online in social media.
1. Do I have a clear goal with my post (like entertain, enlighten, educate or engage)?
2. Do these words honestly and accurately represent who I am as a person and can I stand behind them?
3. Are these words as such that they won’t cause hurt or damage to others?
4. Am I willing and able to accept feedback and conversation about these words from those I know and from those I don’t know, even if I don’t agree?
If the answer is no to any one of these questions, I invoke one or more of the four Rs:
I also use the four Rs when it comes to contemplating a response to someone via public social media, especially if the material is sensitive.
While perhaps this may seem overly cautious for some, and while not perfect, for the most part I’ve found this strategy successful and it gets my words out there in the best way possible.
I think it’s critically important to put our best and most earnest efforts into our online written words and social media shares, today and every day. It makes a difference in our personal and overall well-being and the well-being of others.
Words are tools in a toolkit of our own making. Use a thoughtful process to share your words. Embrace the magic, meaning and power of the written word and use it to good purpose. You won’t regret it, I promise.
For many in the BEST community, writing offers an opportunity to explore new ideas, tap into creativity, provide a healing salve to work through emotions and issues, and/or an important form of self-care.
As we work through this unprecedented time in our history due to the pandemic, writing can be more important than ever as an activity and coping mechanism.
New to writing? Been at it awhile? Whether you’re a beginner or old pro, here are some resources you may want to explore to the help you share the written word with yourself and/or others.
Blogging is a great way to share writing with others online. There are blogging platforms available that are FREE and simple to set up. All you need is computer access, some basic online skills, and you’re ready to go! Here are some options to check out:
Perhaps you’d prefer more of a private journaling experience. Here are two free resources to explore this very activity.
Writing and Journaling (Not Online)
The beauty of writing is that you can do it anytime, anywhere. All you need is something to write with and something to write it on!
Maybe that’s a colorful bound journal or perhaps a simple notebook with lined paper to write on.
Either way, writing can happen anytime.
Recording Your Thoughts
For some, physically writing something is challenging or not desired. You can still do an audio version of your thoughts and words. If you have an electronic device such as a cellphone, laptop or tablet, there are recording apps where you can record your voice and save the recordings.
Click here for a good article on audio.
What To Write About
There are many resources on writing and/or journal prompts to help aid you in your writing. A prompt is typically a question that is posed to the writer to give them an idea where to begin and start thinking about topics.
Here are some links to writing and/or journaling prompts.
Also, feel free to check out the BEST Pinterest page and peruse our Life Tools and Self-Care boards for really good infographics on this topic.
Tell us about your writing and/or journaling. What are you working on right now? What kinds of tools work for you to write? How is writing helping you during the crisis?
We’d love to hear your thoughts for a future article on writing. Reach out to Kim at email@example.com to share.
Thank you for your help and participation in advance.