Managing your time
When you have a balance and dizziness disorder, your brain is working overtime just trying to keep you upright. It is no wonder that “brain fog” can make it difficult to concentrate and remember things.
Keeping a health diary to keep track of your energy levels can be a key part of successful time management. It can help you notice patterns. This awareness allows you to plan important activities around times when you are likely to have more energy.
Remember to build in time for rest. It is important to pace your activities and not wear yourself out.
Time management tips include:
- Develop an overall structure for your day – you will find satisfaction in sticking to a plan.
- Track your energy level in a health diary – plan activities for times when you have more energy.
- Pace yourself – focus on one activity at a time and give yourself a break before tackling the next one. Remember to change activities or rest before you start to get tired.
- Consider using a timer to make sure you give yourself regular and meaningful breaks – have a stretch or drink some water each time you reset the timer.
- Break tasks into smaller steps – most activities do not need to be done all at once. Order the steps from the most to the least important.
- Use a to-do list to prioritize what needs doing most. If a task is not urgent, leave it for another day. Depending on how important it is, you may be able to do it in a few days, weeks or even months. Or perhaps you can ask for help with a task - or ask someone to do it for you.
- Use a planner or organizer backed up by sticky notes in conspicuous places to reminder you about appointments and key events. You can also set alerts on your phone calendar.
- Have a back-up plan. Dizziness can come on at inconvenient moments. Talk to family and friends about pitching in with food preparation, shopping or childcare when you are not feeling well or need to rest.
- Set yourself a goal of doing at least one thing you really enjoy each day and savour the moment.
- Carve out time daily to relax your mind – do something quiet and enjoyable such as listening to music, reading or listening to a book, or practicing relaxation techniques.
- Work realistically within your physical and emotional energy capacity – ask yourself, “Do I have the time, energy and concentration to complete this task?”
- Focus on what you can do, rather than on your limitations.
- Be “healthily selfish” – learn to say no, or ask friends or family to help with challenging tasks.
- Look at daunting social events in a different way – instead of going to a family gathering for a whole afternoon, drop in for a brief visit and leave before you tire.
- Save energy by using healthy frozen or ready-to-eat meals.
- Schedule shopping trips for times when you know stores are less busy. Limit yourself to one or two stores per trip.
- Beware of the crash-and-burn cycle. If you are having a good day, save a little energy for tomorrow rather than emptying your energy tank and paying for it for days.
The following can offer more help and support for affected individuals and their families.
An iOS app designed to outsmart forgetfulness for people living with conditions that affect their memory. It has colour-coded pathways for three different types of tasks: quick reminders (for example, taking pills, phoning a friend on a certain date, going grocery shopping); guided tasks (step-by-step reminders to do tasks with multiple steps, such as doing the laundry); and appointments (reminders to attend timed events). Endorsed by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists.
Page updated August, 2019.
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