Category Archives: Fighting Fatigue

Drink Coffee Only When Tired

I know a lot of you brain injury survivors rely on coffee to assist you through your day. I do the same thing but I have a tip that may be able to help many of you. Now, this tip works for me and like many of my posts helps me so I would like to share it with you.

I don’t drink coffee to get a kick start on my day. Many people I know drink coffee first thing, right when they wake up. This works great…if you need it. If you can carry on with your morning with the absence of coffee then do it! If you don’t need the caffeine then why ingest it, your body only gets used to it. In time it will have less of an effect on your body.

I will go throughout the day without coffee, if i can. If I ever begin to feel the fatigue set in, then I go for the coffee. The caffeine helps me jump start my body, almost helps me wake up my brain when it starts feeling tired.

I don’t drink coffee all the time because that way whenever I am in need of a “jump start” I can seek out coffee or a caffeinated beverage and get it.

See if you keep drinking beverages containing caffeine, your body grows immune to it. It will stop having the effect that we seek, when we reach for coffee.

Sometimes I will be at work and after I train a couple clients or work with the kids in summer camp, my brain feels “full”. I lose my ability to focus and concentrate. In between clients I go to the coffee machine. I press the espresso or latte button on the machine. It dispenses the hot beverage and after I drink it I feel great. I am ready for my next client.

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ADHD Issues

For many of us it is hard to focus once one receives a brain injury. It seems like you have no concentration any more. The slightest thing could immediately move your attention to one thing to another. There are tips that Dr.’s recommend but none of them work, well at least in my case.

I could never, no matter how hard I tried, pay attention in my lecture hall classes at UMass. Granted, this was only two years from the date of my injury. None the less I could not focus on anything. It seem like the teacher/ professor would be up on stage talking about nothing.

No, instead of actually paying attention my brain would start to think about other things. Such as playing baseball again, writing my book, and creating this blog to help other victims with brain injuries. I always felt like I had better things to do then to sit in class and learn about something I did not care about. I would also begin to get tired from attempting to concentrate so hard. I needed to nap after every class!

I went to my doctor with this problem. I told her that I was having a hard time focusing/ concentrating in class. So, she prescribed me Ritalin, like most brain injury victims. She started me off on a small dose because of the addictive nature of the drug and the strong potency of it.

I didn’t feel much of an effect so the doctor prescribed me a higher dose. As time went on, I still was struggling to feel the “great” effects of this wonder drug like everyone had proclaimed it to be. She kept uping the dosage but still no effect.

I just stopped taking it all together. The only thing it would do was not allow me to sleep. My mind still wondered off and thought about other things but my body was wired and jittery, I could not fall asleep. I know this because I had to study for a final so I took some the night before it thinking it would help me stay focus, instead all it did was prevent me from falling asleep!

After I stopped taking it, the only way I could concentrate is by reminding myself why I was sitting in that lecture, to learn! I had to keep telling myself to focus. This was the only way that I could retain any information. I would constantly catch myself thinking of other things and I would remember that I was not in this class to think about girls, I was in this class to learn about sociology or whatever the subject was!

Energy Supplements

I know that with a brain injury you look for all types of things to fight fatigue. One of the many things I tried were energy supplements. I was so tired all the time I tried all types of caffeine supplements to try and stay awake.

It was mainly my mom. She would always come home from the store with some new supplement that was suppose to give you more energy. Some of these types of supplements were gums, pills, drinks, and even mints.You could get these at GNC.

In all seriousness, none of these worked to keep me awake. When I was tired and needed to sleep or needed to “recharge my battery” thats exactly what I needed and nothing could stop that. I had to get somewhere where I could lay my head down.

Now, maybe these things would be able to work for you, but when I was recovering from my brain injury they did not work for me. As time went on though, I found caffeine began to have an effect on me.

Sometimes I would drink (this still happens at times) and begin to develop a head buzz like I would if I had started to drink alcohol or smoke a black and mild. In time caffeine did have an effect on me, just not right away.

It is not the kind of effect that most people have as you can tell. It doesn’t keep me up at night. Just the other night, I drank a Coke Zero an hour before bed and was able to fall asleep no problem.

I am not saying use supplements or not use them, all I am saying is simply they didn’t work for me. Especially, when I was recovering.

Naps

NAPS are going to be your best friend during your recovery. I know they were mine! When ever I would get annoyed by people, when ever I would get tired of trying to focus both mentally and physically I would tell my self that I needed a nap.

Naps are great because you go into your nap as one person and come out a totally different person. One who is rejuvenated and ready to take on what ever the day brings.

Your brain swells when ever you concentrate to much or do to much (have a long day). This causes you to have headaches. When you take a nap your brain stops thinking about all the stressful things, you were thinking of before.

The swelling goes down, you also get more energy. You wake up from your nap without a headache and with energy to listen to what others have to say and energy to do physical things.

Naps help me with everything. I used to do rehab or go to the gym and work out hard; come back home and go right to sleep. I wouldn’t even have the energy to take a shower!

But when I woke up from my nap, I could take on what ever task the day would bring.

I take naps when I’m bored. Instead of watching the television or something I will go lay in my bed to pass the time. I love it because you recharge your battery but you are also in a stress free environment for that time period.

I take naps even before I’m tired. A couple months after my accident, if I was going out and I knew it was going to be a long night, I would take a nap before I would even go out. Almost in a effort to make sure that I went out with a fully charged battery.

Naps helped me through out my recovery, I suggest you take them as well. I mean I still take them. I may be almost fully recovered but I don’t think I’ll ever be recovered enough for a nap. I love naps now when I take them I hardly ever sleep. I usually just end up closing my eyes, but it passes time.

This is unlike when I was initially recovering from my accident. When I was tired I would lay my head down and I would fall into a heavy sleep. Nothing could wake me. When you need sleep, you need sleep. Don’t deprive your body of what it needs.

Recharging Your Battery

I don’t really suffer with fatigue like I once did but when I do, I take a nap. I don’t even have to sleep. I found just closing my eyes and not thinking about anything strenuous helps me. I picture my brain like a battery. When it runs out of power I need to recharge it. I do this by taking naps

They don’t even have to be long naps. I take little “power” naps they may be half an hour long. When you begin to stress and think a lot your brain swells because of this you can get headaches and you get tired.

A lot of times you do not even need to take a nap. I find that if you just lay down for a little bit and close your eyes just to get away from the stresses of everyday life for fifteen minutes to a half an hour or so, you will emerge from your time out rejuvenated.

I found that my brain would feel like it was swelling, if I got stressed out or overwhelmed. I know this because my head would begin to feel full and often times I would get a headache.  Taking this time out to not think about anything for awhile helps the swelling go down.

All you need to do is close your eyes and not think about anything for a little bit. The swelling will go down and you will be able to think clearer.

You need to be able to get away for a little bit. I know when I was recovering people would make me angry if I did not get my way or whatever have you.

When you get tired or stressed out you become cranky and people will be thrown off by this. They will think you are an ass but in reality all you need is a nap or to go rest your head down somewhere.

It is so relaxing, it feels good to just get away from the world for awhile. I also used to meditate to recharge my battery. I would walk into church and I would sit in the pew and just be one with God. I tried to picture me with God.