Hitting Your Reset Button
Once you’ve taken care of the immediate issues after your child’s injury accident—and hopefully taken time to engage in self-care—you can start taking steps to climb out of “crisis mode” and regain a sense of control. Generally speaking, this stage is about hitting your own “reset” button and organizing thoughts, tasks and “to-dos” so you can map out a strategy for the days ahead.
Do a “Brain Dump”
Also sometimes called a “mind sweep,” a brain dump is a technique popularized by organization guru David Allen, author of the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology. In effect, it involves getting the thought-clutter out of your head by placing it somewhere more tangible—like a journal or a piece of paper. This exercise differs slightly from journaling your feelings as we recommended in the self-care post; rather, the brain dump is more about processing and organizing all the little distracting details we have floating around in our brains—and in a crisis like you’re experiencing, those details are everywhere.
Mike Vardy of Lifehack recommends using actual pen and paper for a brain dump, rather than typing it into a computer or other device. “There is something about writing something down that makes it stick,” he says. “You connect better with the tasks, projects and goals you have on your plate when you write them down rather than enter them into a device.”
Start by jotting down in list format everything you can think of that you need to remember or that you need to do. Don’t worry about putting things in order just now—that step comes later. For now, just get it on paper. Details of the accident, where documentation is stored, who you need to call, what needs to be done at home, meal planning, what you need to ask the attorney, what you need to discuss with the doctor—everything you can think of that is taking up mental space, write it all down. Revisit the list as other things come to mind. This exercise helps your brain stop working so hard because you no longer have to try to remember everything. It’s now down on paper where you can visualize it and process it as needed.
Organizing and Prioritizing
Once you have your “brain dump” list, you can begin organizing these details by order of priority, timetables, etc. If you’re comfortable with the GTD model, feel free to use it—but there’s no right or wrong organizing tool here. Just figure out a system that works for you, but stick with it. You’ll likely need to repeat this brain dump process multiple times as your child starts to recover and as you begin to move forward with your case.