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Cognitive Strategies for the Holidays

by | Dec 4, 2013 | Brain Health, Integrative Expert Team | 0 comments

Cognitive Strategies To Help Keep You Focused this Season!

Holiday ChecklistCognition refers to the way we think, learn, remember and use knowledge, and is needed for participation in daily conversations and tasks. Our cognitive skills can be impacted by illness and injury, as well as exacerbated by stress, anxiety, depression, lack of sleep, and other unplanned events.

When planning for this upcoming holiday season, I often hear clients reporting that there’s too much to do and not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Consider using some of these cognitive strategies to offset the challenges, and help you enjoy more of this holiday season:

  • Make a list and check it twice. Spend 5-10 minutes generating a list of everything you need to do. Break the list into daily, weekly and future tasks. Then, try dividing the list by categories: medical, errands, gifts etc.
  • Select 2-3 tasks to do each day and plan out when you will complete these items. Success is achieved over time, so break tasks into the smallest parts possible prior to starting. Sometimes it works best to spread a task over a few days.
  • Estimate how long a tasks should take to complete and add 15-30 minutes for natural distractions. This will help with pacing yourself and remaining realistic to what can be done in a given day.
  • Take breaks every 30-45 minutes or when feeling / exhibiting fatigue.
  • Create a schedule and try to stick with it. Include a balance of activities such as opportunities for home tasks, errands, exercise and social outlets. Modify it throughout the day based on unplanned for interruptions. Move incomplete items to the next day’s list.
  • Set alarms through a kitchen timer, cell phone etc to help stay on track.
  • Be kind to yourself. All the above mentioned strategies take time, discipline and awareness of what needs to be done. If still feeling overwhelmed or unable to complete your list, consider enlisting support from a friend or professional.

Happy holidays!

Amy is located in the Greater Boston Area, but can Skype or consult via telephone from anywhere. To schedule a consult or appointment with Amy, please call 978.352.6349.


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Dr. Diane® Roberts Stoler, Ed.D.
7 Hodges Street
N. Andover, MA 01845
Phone: (800) 500-9971
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Dr. Diane is a catalyst for change

Image Credit Elaine Boucher

Within each person shines an inner light that illuminates our path and is the source of hope. Illness, trauma, suffering and grief can diminish the light and shroud hope. I am a catalyst for hope and change, offering a way to rekindle this inner light.

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