How to manage fatigue when it comes to cooking

This week our Occupational Therapy students take a look at fatigue management and share with you some tips on how you might manage fatigue while cooking.

Over to them to explain more!

“Hello, it’s Jo and Callum here, the OT students. Thank you for your response on social media to our last post, we loved your recipe ideas and are keeping a note so we can try some of these out over the coming weeks. It was also great to hear some of your own personal experiences of getting back into cooking and meal preparation following a brain injury. Sharing your stories really demonstrates what can be achieved and helps motivate others in their journey to living well with brain injury.

We’re keen to let you know what we’ve been up to this week whilst doing our placement with Headway, and hope to hear more from you too!

Coping with fatigue

This week we were fortunate to join in with one of Headway’s online daytime support groups with Gill Richards joining as a guest speaker. Gill is a qualified counsellor and a great supporter of Headway, and is part of the new counselling service at Headway. The topic was ‘Fatigue Management’ as part of Headway’s Living Well with Brain Injury Programme. Gill made it a really interactive session, sharing her knowledge and expertise, and inviting discussion and participation amongst the group. We learnt a lot about the impact of fatigue on peoples’ ability to concentrate, think and plan, and how this effects their capacity to do daily meaningful activities. It’s hard for many of us to understand the real impact that fatigue has on everyday life and appreciate really just how difficult it can be to live with if you don’t have the right techniques and tips in place to manage it.

Baking made easier

We were lucky to be able to meet in a socially distanced way this week to practice our first cooking session; chocolate banana bread!

We reflected on the experiences of completing everyday tasks which you have been kind enough to share with us, including the challenges and strategies to overcome these.

This, combined with the knowledge and tips Gill Richards shared with us at the support group session, encouraged us to think of ways in which cooking banana bread can be adapted so that it doesn’t cause the baker excessive fatigue and is an achievable recipe which can produce satisfying and (hopefully) tasty results.

Tips you might already be aware of include:

  • Pacing the activity by preparing ingredients beforehand (including leaving butter out to soften)
  • Taking breaks, having a stool or chair near to rest when necessary
  • Conserving energy by using an electric whisk if you have one (Callum and I definitely found this helpful!)
  • Compensating for one sided dominant limbs, by placing the bowl on a non-slip mat to reduce movement.

Banana bread has been a popular choice during the course of lockdown, but hopefully you’ll enjoy our take on it with the chocolate twist!

Here’s the recipe so you can try it yourself.

Let us know how you get on and what you think of it on social media. You can:

  • Post your update on Facebook and tag us in @HeadwayEastSussex
  • Compose a Tweet and tag us @HeadwayESussex
  • Take a pic and share with us on Instagram @headwayeastsussex

If you have any other recipe ideas or are currently accessing Headway services and would be interested in attending our online group, please do get in touch – either on our social media channels or at info@headwayeastsussex.org.uk.”

Thanks to Jo and Callum for sharing their update this week, look forward to hearing more from them next week! If you’ve enjoyed making their banana bread, don’t forget to share your efforts on social media and tag us in, and if you want to help support us, please consider making a donation to help us continue to provide services that enable people with brain injury across Sussex to Live Well