Well, firstly, it should be said that if you have a concussion you should not be reading this. I know how hard it is to completely avoid screens, we communicate with our employers, clients, friends, and family all on screens now and how can you tell people that you have a concussion or ask for help to read this blog post without a screen (assuming like me you live alone). I acquired my concussion at curling and to be completely honest other than that I have no clue what happened, there are several seconds immediately before and after that are a complete blank (if you also don’t remember what happened when you fell or hit your head, and haven’t yet seen a doctor and are able to, please, please go see a doctor).
To manage my screen time while also continuing to keep my friends and family in the loop that I was still alive (I was also continuing to work, because there is no break for public health workers in a pandemic). I set a timer for for 3 minutes every 6 hours. You can accomplish quite a lot of texts, WhatsApps, and Facebook messages, or Google searches in 3 minutes, but you can’t scroll through social media in any enjoyable way in that time.
So how did I fill my evening and weekend hours with when I was so sensitive to light that I kept the curtains closed and wore sunglasses all the daylight hours and didn’t have my usual 6 hours a day of screentime?
So this was one that I had to do later on in the week, because I couldn’t focus well enough to follow a recipe for the first few days. But once I could, I followed a couple of the recipes my mom had written out for me. So this does kind of require that you have recipe books, printed out or written out recipes so that you aren’t looking at a screen.
Cleaned out my closet
This was a peak frustration and I want to be productive moment. But I went through every piece of clothing I have in my closet and tried them all on. I did this pretty recently, and it was definitely more of a body checking moment than a clean out moment. But it kept me entertained for several hours.
Polished my shoes
This is one of the tasks that you know you should do, it is good for your leather shoes, and it makes them last a lot longer, but you still put it off forever. And then it’s summer and you feel like you don’t have to polish your shoes in the summer. But my shoes are gleaming. I did run out of protective spray (which if you live in a region that doesn’t really get winter you may not be familiar with, but when you live in a region with snow and therefore salt and your shoes need to be protected from the elements) so I wasn’t able to fully complete the task. But it was satisfying.
This task could probably also be expanded, are you at a family member’s house and they have silver or other fancy cutlery, you could polish the silverware. Although I would say save that for peak boredom and literally nothing else to do.
So I have to admit that I didn’t actually do this one, because I don’t own any puzzles, but if I had had a way to get a puzzle to me quickly I would have 100% done a puzzle. Not one of those 5000 pieces of madness puzzles, but a nice 100 piece puzzle would have been perfect to pass the time.
Every concussion is different, but my neck and upper back were so sore in the days after my concussion. And not in their usual slept wrong or tweaked something way. The muscles at the front of my neck were sore. I spent several minutes every few hours gently rolling my head around and trying out different ways to stretch my back to get some relief.
Go for a walk
Like most of these, this has a lot of caveats. My balance was off for the first few days and it’s icy where I live so that was a no. And I was very light sensitive so I only wanted to go in the evenings. I would also maybe recommend finding a buddy for this, just in case you fall and hit your head again.
Talk on the phone
This was great because I was able to ask Siri to call someone on my contacts list, so I didn’t have to look at my phone to call someone. Fantastic.
A paint-by-numbers, drying oranges for garlands, knitting (an easy pattern), colouring, all of these would be great activities.
Practicalities of a concussion
Now that you have an idea of ways to keep yourself entertained, there are some parts of being concussed that you will need to take care of. I bought myself frozen meals, a frozen lasagna, a frozen casserole, toaster waffles, tinned soup. So that I could easily heat something up to feed myself without having to get out knives while my hands were shaking or worry about following a recipe when I couldn’t focus. And the President’s Choice frozen lasagna I got was actually quite good.
Take time off work. Especially even if you just work from home. This is more of a do as I say, not as I do. But I should have taken more time off work. I just felt like I couldn’t because of Omicron and being a public health worker in a pandemic. But I would probably feel a lot better now if I had take a lot more time off work, and in general it probably would have taken me a lot less time to feel better. So listen to your doctor and take time off work.
Also, unfortunately, you will have to be bored. It’s super frustrating, and it makes it harder to rest and heal, but you are going to be bored. And it sucks, a lot.
Heal up, be bored,