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5 tips to feel less isolated when recovering from stroke or brain injury at home

Constant Therapy | Mar 25, 2020 | Traumatic brain injury, Stroke

During stroke rehabilitation and recovery, many survivors describe feeling lonely, whether or not there are other family members in the house. For example, it can feel difficult to explain the complexities of brain injury to friends, co-workers, and family members. You might even feel self-conscious about your condition, worrying about feeling different or less capable. In addition, communication problems stemming from your injury, like aphasia, can make relating to other people and explaining your thoughts and feelings seem difficult.

In addition, the feelings of social isolation we all have from the mandated closures and social distancing of the COVID-19 pandemic can make brain rehabilitation at home seem extra lonely now. But keep up your home therapy – you will get to a better place.

In the meantime, try these 5 suggestions to feel less isolated at home and more hopeful about recovery.

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  • Schedule social time in your calendar: Make social commitments even if it’s virtual – it could be a phone call or video chat- but if you say you’re going to reach out to someone, then there’s an external motivation to keep that commitment.
  • Make a social goal measurable: For example, “This week, I will reach out to 3 people I haven’t talked to in a while.”
  • Find an online support group or community: Online support groups are a great way to connect with others recovering from brain injury or stroke – without having to leave your house! Find one that works for you here.
  • Learn a new skill: Take an online course – there are free courses at places like Coursera. Or, sign up for virtual adult education through a university.
  • Share new information with your network: Did you just read a good book? Cook a good recipe? People want to know what you recommend! Communicate your ideas and recommendations to target some of your speech, language, and/or cognitive goals.

As always, check with your healthcare provider to make sure you’re not battling clinical depression. Some level of feeling down is normal during recovery but potentially debilitating depression affects a significant number of survivors. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Stroke showed proof of the correlation between stroke recovery and depression, but also demonstrated that treatment for depression can be fairly straightforward and successful if the symptoms are recognized and managed early on.

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