There’s nothing more discouraging than doing hours of work recovery from a stroke or brain injury and not seeing results. And even though we know that practice makes perfect, and that putting in the therapy hours should help, sometimes it’s easy to get discouraged.
Whether you just started therapy for your stroke or brain injury last week but haven’t seen any gains or whether you’ve been at it for years and just aren’t noticing that same improvement any more, therapy burn-out can hit anyone. But keeping at it with your therapy is key for your continued recovery, so we’ve got a few tips to help you avoid that burn-out to begin with, or to get back on track if you’ve hit a plateau.
- Track your data. Data is your friend. It doesn’t lie. It might feel like you just got a million questions in a row wrong, but when you actually check, you might have just gotten 5 more right than last time! Constant Therapy will calculate how many questions you got right and will show you your improvement over time, so use that data as motivation! Remember, if you just went up a level or task in difficulty, you might not get as many right – but think about whether you could have even done that level of difficulty last year, or even last week!
- Celebrate successes. If you went to your brother’s Super Bowl party this year and were able to say “Your team is going to lose”, but last year talking was so tough that you didn’t even manage to go to the party, that is a victory! You may not be debating the pros and cons of putting in player X versus player Y, but you can get there with more practice – you’ve already come this far!
- Ask friends, family, and therapists if they can see a difference. And ask them to be specific. There’s nothing like a specific example, such as “Yes, I have noticed a huge improvement in how well you can get your point across in writing”, or “Are you kidding, a year ago you couldn’t think of the word for “table” and now you’re carrying on conversations!”
- If it’s not working, switch it up. Try new therapies! Try new tasks! Give group therapy a try. If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, try something new to get you motivated.
- Seek support from others with your communication difficulty. There’s nothing like talking to the seasoned guy with aphasia in a support group and hearing that yes, he did keep improving and still is everyday. Google and social media are great tools if you’re feeling isolated but can’t find or get to a nearby support group. Join a Facebook Page (check out Aphasia Recovery Connection or Aphasia and Aphasia Caregivers Exclusive (ACE) for Aphasia, or the Wounded Warriors Project for a start). There are many groups and other blogs out there – search for “support group”, “discussion”, or “blog” along with your communication difficulty and see what’s out there that can motivate you.
Got any tips we’ve missed? Tell us about your best tips for staying motivated in therapy on our Facebook page!