Roberta Whitney Hughes
Supporting Your Brain Health with Self Care
Updated: Mar 30
When my youngest son was in the fifth grade, he got his first concussion during a soccer game. The doctor told us it was mild and that it would be best for him to rest and wait two weeks before playing soccer again. We followed the protocol, then went back to soccer two weeks later. In the first game he played after being released, he collided with another player and had another concussion. This one was more severe.
What we didn’t know at the time of the first concussion is that the brain takes time to heal. We also didn’t know that once you get one concussion, you have a higher likelihood of getting more concussions during your lifetime, especially if you play sports. I didn’t know enough at the time to support my son’s brain health. Unfortunately, he suffered a total of four concussions between the ages of 10 and 15 years old; the fourth being the worst and requiring the longest recovery and treatment plan.
Every brain injury is different. The severity of each person’s unique injury will determine the treatments that will work best to help the brain heal. Throughout the time I helped my son heal from concussions, I realized that the protocols we practiced can support our brain health even if we have not been injured.
Here are a few simple ways to keep your brain healthy and support the healing process after an injury:
Get Plenty of Rest: Restful sleep at night can increase your brain's ability to heal itself. Create a bedtime ritual to make sure you get a good night’s sleep.
Limit Screen Time: Screen time stimulates the brain and tires you out. Allow your brain to rest during the day by taking a break from your computer, tablet, phone and TV.
Increase Activity Gradually: Even though it may be tempting to try and return to pre-injury activity levels quickly, it’s important not to push yourself too hard. Instead, gradually increase activity level over time with light exercise such as walking or swimming.
Work with a Pilates Teacher: The first exercise program my son was released for after his second concussion was Pilates. Pilates builds core strength, improves coordination, helps with concentration, and encourages memory.
Write Things Down: Brain injuries can lead to memory problems which can make it harder than normal for things to stick in your mind. To help with this, carry around a small notebook or use an app on your phone where you can write down information that you need or want to
Avoid Substance Use: Substances like alcohol and drugs have negative health impacts and can interfere with your healing process. It’s best to avoid them altogether but if not possible then use moderation when consuming these substances.
Eliminate Caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant and can overwork your brain, causing increased stress and anxiety.
Eat Brain-Healthy Foods: Foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3s, vitamin B12 and other essential nutrients support healthy neural pathways, increase oxygen flow into the brain, and can reduce inflammation– all of which aid in healthy brain function. A few of our favorite brain foods are spinach, kale, salmon, tuna, almonds, and dark berries.
Stay Hydrated: Water is essential for helping cells function properly, so make sure you're drinking enough each day. As a rule of thumb, you will want to aim for half your body weight in ounces of water each day. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, work toward drinking 75 ounces of water per day.
Reduce Stress: Stress can wear on your brain health. Use self-care techniques to help you lighten your stress load and give your brain the opportunity to rest and restore.
Following these tips will support your overall brain health and will also give your brain the best chance of making a full recovery after an injury. If you or someone you love has suffered a brain injury, it is important to follow your doctor's instructions and consult with medical professionals to ensure that you are getting the best care possible. For more about brain health and healing from a brain injury, visit Plasticity Centers.
Plasticity Centers is teaming up with PeaceFull Living to offer a special April package that will
provide you with all the neurological brain treatments you need in conjunction with a wide range of services designed to leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed. After your in-office treatment at one of the three Plasticity Centers locations, they will provide you access to vital tools from Roberta, an experienced health & wellness Zoom coach, who will hand-select video content that will help you and your care team continue self-care and total body health at home. With this holistic approach, we guarantee to help you reach your highest level of
restoration and well-being!