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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My thoughts on balance

Today I went skiing in Park City, Utah and it felt great! The slopes seemed empty (maybe people are cutting back on ski trips due to the economy?). I gracefully wiped out only three times, which I don't think is too bad considering this was my first time skiing this season.

Skiing is great exercise for my body and for my mind because it requires me to multitask. I'm balancing on skis, paying attention to where I'm going, making sure no other skier is running into me or vice versa, on top of remembering to pole plant and lean forward in my skis. Sounds like common sense, and it should be considering that this is my third season (in addition to the ski lessons I took at BYU, which almost doesn't count because it was so long ago and it was pre-injury), but multitasking is challenging for a brain injury survivor.

Anyway, while skiing, I started thinking about balance, and how important it is for me, as a TBI Survivor, to keep everything in balance. I can't do too much of one thing because I become overwhelmed (aka cognitively exhausted). For the first ten years after my accident I would NEVER have been able to ski comfortably. Okay, admittedly once I went skiing in MN but it was not comfortable nor was it fun, and that was also when I was still learning how to adjust my lifestyle to my injury so I was out of balance: I worked full-time, went to graduate school at night, exercised at the gym, and constantly took little short cat naps in ridiculous places because I was utterly exhausted (the toilet, the staircase, the library, on the floor of an empty office at work to name a few).

But now that I've reduced my work load, quit graduate school, and I go to bed early, my entire life runs smoothly. My head doesn't hurt nearly as much, I almost never have vestibular problems and I love skiing! I credit 75% of this to my own efforts to keep myself balanced. Time and luck share the other 25% as my body and my brain have healed over the last 14 years. That statistic may be inaccurate but it sounded good to say 75% my own efforts. :)


veganwannabe said...

Wow! Jennifer, I'm impressed. I'm wondering how you overcame the fear of falling. Or perhaps you didn't encounter that? I can't really imagine getting to a place where I would consider skiing, though I wasn't a skier before. I'm not really willing to try new things that carry further risk or do some things that I used to do, ie: scootering. I don't really want to even live in a place where there is snow. There's something in me that kind of feels: haven't I gone through enough, hasn't my body been through enough. I suppose if it was something I really loved doing and I had the opportunity, I would do sledding...but no more scootering and I loved that.

Jennifer Mosher said...

Vegan- I overcame my fear of falling only with practice and time. I used to think I was going to fall and kill myself every time I walked down a staircase! But now I'm over that. You are right, if it's something you love, you'll want to overcome your fear (i.e I still think I'll kill myself when sledding, therefore I hate it, and don't do it).
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