How to live when brain injury is a factor

Bold claim for the title, but really my blog post can probably be summarized with one sentence: it’s different for everyone.

We were told repeatedly that routine and lists and organization need to become priorities in our life to minimize the work Jason’s brain is doing just to get through each day. And so we’ve spent the last two years trying to refine and adapt our routines and coping mechanisms to make life easy. We aren’t the best at it, and despite the fact that I actually love routine I’ve learned it’s really hard to enforce when you also want to feel like you have a full life.

  1. Life routine. In general, I do not set us up for success in general routine. My work as a massage therapist and as a Norwex sales rep does not have the same schedule week to week and so my ability to help out around the house changes. I have, at various times, considered trying to find an office job or retail with set hours, just to make our life a bit more predictable but frankly my job and coworkers are often one of the things that keep me sane and happy.
  2. Lists. Lists are great. I am a super list maker. I can have lists on the fridge and in my dayplanner and my phone and the car. I make a ton of lists. But do they make sense to Jason? Is my writing even legible? Is he even checking them? Lists are only a great tool if you use them after making them, which is sometimes a challenge. One of our goals for 2017 is to work on using lists more efficiently.
  3. Meals. Despite always being a meal planner, meals are an area we have struggled quite a bit since the brain injury. The exhaustion and frustration that controlled much of our life early in this journey meant that by dinner time we had no ability to cook. Even as we started to get more disciplined with sleep and routine, my grocery list making or shopping often left us scrambling when we didn’t have the right ingredients. We’ve since found a pretty good solution that I’ll discuss in another post.
  4. Relationship. Brain injury stole a lot of our newlywed memories and experiences. We’ve had to rework how we live out our marriage so that it a)helps us both feel loved and b) doesn’t take all of Jason’s energy.

Over the next month or so I’m going to go into each of these topics in a bit more depth to explain what systems we use that seem to help us live out routine. Nothing is new or amazing, I basically just explore pinterest for hours to see what other people do, then try it at home and adapt it 8467 times as needed. My hope is that with this mini series of posts we will be able to help anyone see that a) Brain injuries may require life long problem solving and energy conservation, b) provide examples of systems that may work for others or may spark ideas for others. Every brain injury is different, every family is different so what works for us today, may not work for us in a few months let alone for a family with different challenges.