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Nine questions to ask yourself during stress awareness month in your neuro rehab journey

April is #stressawareness month and when you have a neurological condition, learning to manage stress in the short and long term is important to your recovery. Some stress can be beneficial to motivate us or communicate to us that our capacity is less than the demands we are facing.

However after a stroke or when you are living with a neurological condition, often the demands of adjusting and adapting to living with neurological symptoms can far outweigh the resources you have, which are often at their lowest ebb.

However by being aware of what your response to stress is, both before and after you starting experiencing neurological symptoms can help you learn to manage your stress. Some people respond to stress by going into overdrive and working hard to manage increased demands. However that can lead to long term exhaustion and can exacerbate neurological fatigue. Other people might respond to stress by withdrawing or avoiding potential demands to protect their precious resources. However that can lead people to lose confidence in their abilities and their lives can become smaller.

If you are going through neuro rehab, here are nine questions to ask yourself if you have started to acknowledge the stress in your life and take steps to address it:

  • Are you managing to look after yourself? E.g. eating nutritious food, staying hydrated, spending some time outside if possible.

  • Are you completing your rehab exercises regularly? Or are you exercising or moving your body regularly?

  • Can you complete everyday household tasks either independently or through the use of aids?

  • Are you thinking about returning to work or previously valued hobby?

  • Can you connect to friends and family in a way that feels satisfying to you and them?

  • Can you use new skills to manage or reduce your neurological symptoms or feelings of stress?

  • Is decision making easier?

  • Are your feelings more consistent?

  • Do you feel able to acknowledge and connect to your feelings?

If your answer to most or all of these questions is yes then that demonstrates you are acknowledging your stress and taking action. If your answer to most or all of these questions is no, then it might be time to think about what is getting in the way of you taking care of yourself and if that feels impossible, you may need to speak to your GP or rehab therapist.

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