Rest After A Concussion
Complete mental and physical rest for the first 24-48 hours is crucial for recovery!
Sleep as much as needed (as long as you are easily awakened) in the early phases. Being careful not to disrupt your normal sleep cycle.
The brain can only heal when you are sleeping.
Do your best early on to reduce demands on your day. This includes physical, mental, social, and emotional demands!
How to breathe mindfully:
Mindful breathing, bringing awareness to your breath, works to calm the nervous system reduce the sympathetic nervous system response and enhance energy available for recovery.
How to breathe or bring awareness to the breath:
- Focus on breathing in through your nose and out though your mouth
- Expand the abdomen first and then the chest – Do Not use your neck!
- Exhale with a “haaa” sound and try to exhale longer than you inhale until completely empty – feel your abdomen contract to push air out
- Pause at the end of exhalation for 3-5 seconds
- Repeat sequence
Take a few breaths with these concepts in mind and focus on each breath
Sometimes, it is helpful to count to slow the breaths down. We suggest to begin with simple focus on above technique for 3 minutes.
Why mindfulness is essential to recovery:
Given the normal, fast paced, multi-tasking life that is common in society today, most individuals tend to live in their sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight system) in driving their lives requiring an enormous amount of energy to keep going.
A concussive injury is a traumatic insult to the individual’s physical, emotional and mental systems triggering an exacerbated stress response and depletion of available energy resources. The injury disrupts normal brain function as it redirects energy to be available for brain healing. Thus, mindfulness forces the individual to stop the merry go round, pause frequently to reclaim energy more frequently and be mindful of self-care and stress management. This is a fundamental concept to embrace for all those who experience a concussive injury.
Mindful rest / breathing reduces the sympathetic nervous system’s response to enhance energy available for recovery.