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12 Ways to Spend Your Time During a Concussion

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When I sustained a concussion, I stayed home for four months. My symptoms hindered my ability to go to school, exercise, play sports, go in the car, and read. However, throughout my concussion, I was able to and enjoyed doing the things below. Every concussion is different, but I hope some of the things on this list will help relieve your boredom or inspire other ideas for how to spend your time. I would like to thank all of my family and friends who introduced me to these different ideas that allowed me to improve my health and grow as a person. I would also like to especially thank my family for putting up with the hours of UNO, Texas Holdem and complaining.

1. Audiobooks

During the first month of my concussion, I was unable to do much of anything. Since reading books strained my eyes and head, I listened to the Harry Potter books. This was a good choice for me because I had already read them numerous times, so I could easily comprehend them.

2. Magic Sand

For the first month of my concussion, I had severe light and sound sensitivities, along with nausea, balance difficulties, and debilitating headaches. I slept for most of the day, listened to audiobooks, and played with kinetic sand (a lot). Playing with the magic sand was calming, and the texture was very stimulating to my concussed brain. I played with the sand throughout my recovery, whenever I needed to rest my brain and relax. I highly recommend it!

3. Listening to Music

I would listen to what my family would refer to as my “chill playlist,” which consisted of calm and quiet songs at a low volume. This helped calm me, especially when I was having a bad headache.

4. Silly Putty

Silly Putty was good for rebuilding my strength, and also proved to be soothing.

5. Podcasts

Following my concussion, my convergence insufficiency (double vision) became worse, so reading became difficult and caused severe headaches. As a result, I began listening to podcasts, including The Daily and Hidden Brain, because they were intellectually stimulating without causing headaches.

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6. TV

In the second month following my concussion, I was able to use screens. I would watch TV shows that did not require too much focus, including “The Good Place,” “Hart of Dixie,” and “Master Chef Junior.” It took very little to entertain me.

7. Card Games

As I got better, and my energy level improved I would convince my family members to play games such as Texas Holdem, UNO and Scrabble. This required me to stay focused for long periods, and to practice thinking ahead.

8. Cooking/Baking

As I regained strength in my third and fourth months after my concussion, I was feeling well enough to start cooking and baking. It started with simply making my own breakfast, but later on, I would attempt to follow recipes and make more complex dishes. Doing activities that I would do prior to my concussion helped me feel more like myself, which was essential to me returning back to my normal lifestyle.

9. Mini Projects

About a month after my concussion, my brother wanted to create a youtube channel called, “Cooking with Parth.” The first and only video he made explained how to make pancakes, and I videotaped him. Now, this was not as simple as it may seem, as it took over 10 takes and a lot of pancake batter. One time, he forgot the butter, another I didn’t realize I never pressed record, but by the end, we had created a video explaining how to make a pancake. While this doesn’t seem like anything special, or extraordinary, it was. In order to do this, I had to have the coordination to videotape, to follow him around the kitchen, and to multitask. That day I made improvements; sure, it wasn’t standing on one foot, but it was a step in the right direction.

10. Arts and Crafts

I would draw and do coloring pages. This helped me rebuild my mind and body connections. It helped with the recovery of my eyes and my double vision. Most importantly, it made me happy, and whenever I would finish something, I would feel accomplished.

11. Robot

For my 11th birthday, my aunt and uncle had bought me a robot to build. However, I never had enough time to put it together. Now, I find myself with so much time that I do not know how to spend it. I decided to invite one of my friends from school to construct it with me. This was a great activity because I was doing it with someone else, and they could help me with the things I found to be challenging.

12. Escape Room

As I got better, I would invite one to two friends over to hangout. During this time we would do a board game version of the escape room. You would have an hour to escape the room and would open clues whenever the box beeped. This was perfect, because it felt like a normal social experience, without leaving my house and being in an environment that was overstimulating.

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Getty image by Wavebreak Media.

Originally published: June 17, 2020
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