Doing more

The best thing you can do to help your mood is to get active. On the days when you do feel a bit better, try to give something a go. There is a lot you can do to start feeling better.

Often when you have pain and a brain injury, you do not feel like doing much. This could be because you cannot do the things you used to do, or your pain is too hard to manage. It might also be because you feel down, tired, fatigued, less interested in things and less able to enjoy activities.

After feeling like this for a while, you might stop doing everyday tasks, stop caring about how you look, stop tidying up and even stop leaving the house and over time, doing simple things can feel too much.

Luckily there is a lot you can do to change this and start feeling better.

Get active

The best thing you can do to help your mood is to get active. There is a lot of research that shows that you can improve your mood and reduce tiredness when you do more enjoyable activities. Getting more active might seem like the opposite of what you want to do when you are feeling tired, down or in pain, but it works!

More energy

Just doing a small activity can give you energy. You might feel too tired to do anything, but the tiredness from fatigue is different from normal tiredness. When you are feeling this way, resting doesn’t give you energy, but doing more does over time.

Start small

Make sure that you start off small. You don’t need to pack your day full of things. Start with one small thing that you can do consistently, then build this up slowly over time.

Add in rest breaks

When you are starting to do more, add in plenty of rest breaks. Add them in before you normally get tired or your pain gets worse, so you can keep your energy levels up and your pain down. Check out the Pacing tool section for more tips on how to do this.

Make a plan

Make a plan and then just do it. Motivation is helpful but it comes and goes, and it is often hard when you are feeling tired and in pain. Instead, build up some momentum – start by planning just a small part of your day, maybe five minutes, and build up slowly over time. By making a My doing more plan, your brain will want to do the things you planned, and it will not be so hard to get started. This is how momentum builds.

Don’t wait for motivation to come, you need to build momentum to get better.

Now you need to make a 'My doing more plan' for yourself.

When you are making your plan, there are some types of activities that you should try to include:

Care for yourself

Have you stopped caring about how you look or cleaning up around the house? These aren’t the most fun things to do but when you do them, you feel better. It is a good idea to put time into taking care of yourself. Make sure you have a shower every day, get on top of the housework and get a regular daily routine.

Move more

It can be hard to get enough exercise when you have chronic pain but some exercise, even a simple 5 or 10 minute walk can boost your mood and energy. If you pace your activity level, this will not make your pain worse. Remember, over time a little bit of exercise done often is better than too much or too little exercise. Check out the Getting more active tool for ideas.

Add some fun

You also need to put some fun into your plan. Think of the things you enjoy doing now and those that you did before. Are there a few things you could add into your plan now? You might not feel like doing these things at the start, but give yourself a chance. Many people find that if they start doing something, even for a few minutes, they enjoy it more than they first thought. Look at the Getting back into leisure tool for more tips.

Make it meaningful

You need more than just fun things to really start to feel better. You also need to do some activities that give you a sense of purpose or that you are good at. This will be different for everyone, so find something that is meaningful to you. It can be small things like making your bed or something bigger like starting an online course or a DIY project. Find out more in the Changing roles tool.

Check out the Doing more guide, then you can use the tools and tips to make a My doing more plan and learn to Be Pain Smart.

Use the links below to download the files