Concussions can cause difficulties with attention, concentration and memory.
After a concussion, you might experience issues with attention, concentration, and memory. It may take longer to gather your thoughts, express yourself or solve problems. These are common cognitive challenges after a concussion, and while they usually improve with time, they can be frustrating to deal with.
During your recovery, here are practical strategies to help manage these cognitive difficulties:
Paying attention and concentration
- Focus on one task at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Minimize distractions, like turning off the TV when reading or requesting no interruptions during dinner preparation.
- Work in short bursts with breaks to reduce stress affecting your concentration.
- Plan important tasks for your peak energy hours.
- Choose quiet, less busy places to maintain focus and clarity.
- Maintain eye contact during conversations and ask for clarifications if needed.
- If reading is challenging, read aloud in short, manageable sessions.
- Record essential information using your smartphone, notebook, calendar, or organizer. Always keep these tools with you.
- Keep important items in the same places, like keys, phone, umbrella, to avoid losing track of them.
- Use reminders, like shopping lists, sticky notes, answering machines, and smartphone alarms for appointments, medication and other tasks.
- Utilize external cues, such as timers, for tasks like cooking or laundry.
- Choose appliances with automatic shut-off features for safety.
Problem solving and organization
- Avoid high-pressure situations that require quick decisions.
- Make sure you understand the problem by asking questions.
- Take your time when making decisions, especially important ones. Discuss with a trusted person.
- Pause and count to ten before acting, considering safety and judgment
- Pre-plan activities, like bringing a list of concerns to medical appointments or preparing for unfamiliar trips. Review your schedule each night and every morning to help keep you on track. Also, try breaking the task down into manageable steps prior to starting the task.
Remember that your thinking may be affected by symptoms like fatigue, poor sleep, headaches, dizziness, low mood and stress.
It is critical that you prioritize good, restorative sleep and incorporate rest periods into your daily activities.
Be patient and set realistic expectations for your recovery. Developing these habits takes time but can significantly help manage thinking difficulties during your healing process.