Five Tips for Surviving the Holidays and Overstimulation
With the holidays upon us, many will find themselves facing more overstimulation than normal, which can cause additional brain fatigue and stress — as well as causing fear and panic to set it in in some situations.
Overstimulation is one of the most common symptoms and can come in any combination of sounds, images, light, smell, taste, and touch. Because overstimulation can’t be “seen” it can be a mystery to those who have never experienced it; and cause frustration between someone going through it and their loved ones who don’t understand it.
What Can Be Done to Help Prevent Brain Overstimulation?
I have compiled a list of five simple things you can do to make the holidays easier on yourself, or a loved one who is dealing with overstimulation.
1. Keep Hydrated. The brain functions best when it is fully hydrated. When you are out shopping it is easy to become dehydrated rather quickly. You can combat this by always having a water bottle with you and refilling it often. As tempting as it is, drinking alcohol and caffeine will also cause you to get dehydrated, so it is best to avoid those types of drinks when you know you are going to be faced with overstimulation.
2. Get additional rest. While this one seems obvious, it is sometimes hard to do with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Rest is critical to helping our brain recover from overstimulation. Take a nap before or after your big outings, and do your best to get a good night’s sleep each night. Give yourself a designated bedtime and stick with that schedule throughout the holidays.
3. Keep additional stimulation to a minimum. Decrease the amount of stimulation in places that you have control of it. If you know you’re headed to the mall or crowded restaurant, don’t watch television before heading out or listen to the radio on the way there. If you’re going with a friend or loved one, explain to them that you might not be able to have a conversation while you’re there. Bring your sunglasses and earplugs with and use them if you need them.
4. Take shorter trips. If you have a lot to get done, you may want to consider breaking it up into smaller trips. I find it easier to do one errand each day, rather than trying to cram five things into one outing. It may take longer, but your brain will thank you.
5. Write Lists. Use sticky notes and shopping lists. Having a plan of exactly where you need to go, and what you need to purchase at each location will help keep your stress levels down and keep you organized.
Overstimulation May Be Related To Something Else
The inability to deal with overstimulation may be related to untreated whiplash injuries to the neck or concussions that occurred years before. Consider getting an evaluation at my office to learn of treatment options to improve your brain function. It’s never too late. Call 480-951-5006 or visit drburdorf.com to schedule your free consultation.