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Why Taking a Vacation After a Brain Injury Can Be Stressful

Why Taking a Vacation After a Brain Injury Can Be Stressful

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Hey, guys. It's Adam. I'm about to read an email that I recently received. Since my husband got back from Iraq, he can't seem to take a vacation--even a long weekend. I thought traveling somewhere for a change of scenery and routine would do him good, but it just seems to bring him more stress. Any ideas for happier family getaways? First of all, yes--thanks for asking. I can definitely understand personally how it's been difficult and challenging for your husband to go in kind of new and unfamiliar places. There's the lack of predictability. There's the lack of familiarity with each of those places as well as huge populations running around unsecure around your husband. That can definitely cause a lot of stress and put a lot of perceived challenges on your husband. One thing that I found helpful to kind of reconcile that is starting slow. Start with places that you are familiar with or that he is familiar with. Maybe you'd take a trip to the post office or the supermarket. Maybe you go on a picnic in the park--something like that. Then slowly over time--it doesn't have to start off with a long weekend even though that may seem short to some people. A long weekend is 48-72 hours in an unfamiliar place and an unfamiliar setting. So, start slow. Just go on a picnic. Go on a lunch. Go on a breakfast. See how that goes, and then the next time try to build up a little bit more. Maybe take a walk around the park and a picnic--something where it adds a little bit more time in that unfamiliar area, but your husband still feels safe. If at any time he starts to become uncomfortable or his tension or stress level starts to rise, just go ahead and punch out. Go ahead and get on out of there. Pick it up next weekend. I think that'll really be a good workaround for you. So, I hope it helps. Take care.

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For people with combat-related TBI, being in unfamiliar places can be very stressful. Adam suggests starting slowly with a picnic or a walk and building up to longer getaways.

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Hi, I’m Adam Anicich

I’m a former Army Sergeant, a Department of Veterans Affairs employee, a service-disabled vet, and someone with a brain injury. I’m here to share my story with you — along with some practical tips — and I hope that I can help you in your own journey of recovery.

Learn more about Adam >



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