Feeding Your Brain at Home
There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has changed our day-to-day lives and schedules. Chances are, you’re spending more time at home, maybe even working from home. As a society, we’re used to being on the go. So, how do you adapt and keep things from getting mundane while stuck at home? One of the keys is to vary your activities. When you’re at home, create breaks from monotony and add in activities that stimulate your brain.
Fortunately, we have access to more methods to keep our brains occupied and challenged than ever before, with the added benefit that many of these are also brain-boosting activities.
The internet and prevalence of smartphones and other mobile devices offer a fantastic array of activities to keep your mind busy.
When you get moving, get listening
It is common knowledge that exercise helps your mind. Take breaks from work for a change of scenery to go for a walk or run. When you do, listen to that audiobook you haven’t had time for. There’s no better time to learn than when you have the time and audiobooks make it easy and convenient.
Add some perspective to your chores
At some point, you’ll be doing the laundry or cleaning the house—perhaps even more than usual. Listen to a podcast and challenge your perspective on an interesting topic.
Listen to music
An easy way to increase your creative brainpower is to listen to music. According to a 2017 study, listening to music facilitates divergent thinking compared to being in silence. This helps get your brainpower and creative juices flowing.
Take a breather
Daily meditation can help calm your body, slow your breathing and reduce stress/anxiety. There are several apps you can download to your smartphone to help with this and many of them are free. Five minutes a day spent meditating is said to help fine-tune your memory and increase your brain’s ability to process information.
Get a brain coach
Like a personal trainer for your brain, there are smartphone apps specifically to train your brain. Created to help with concentration, memory, processing speed and mental flexibility, these apps are entertaining as well as useful.
When good old-fashioned methods are preferred, there are still many entertaining activities that are proven to offer brain-boosting benefits.
Read a book at lunch
Reading not only helps with fluid intelligence but with reading comprehension and emotional intelligence as well.
Learn a new skill
Many people have jobs that keep them mentally active, but pursuing a hobby, learning a new skill or volunteering for a project at work that involves a skill you don't usually use can help improve cognitive skills and memory.
Break out the puzzles
Puzzles aren’t just for kids. Whether you’re putting together a 1,000-piece image of the Grand Canyon or a smaller puzzle you’ve swiped from your kids, jigsaw puzzles are an excellent way to strengthen your brain. Doing jigsaw puzzles exercises both sides of the brain at once and improves your memory and visual-spatial reasoning.
Tease your mind
Research shows that brain training could lead to improvements in global cognition, memory, learning and attention, as well as psychosocial functioning. But this doesn’t need to happen in front of a screen. Try things like strategy games—think Battleship, crossword puzzles and card games. Or try deduction games like Clue, visualization puzzles and optical illusions to train your brain and have some fun.
Drawing and painting stimulate the creative side of your brain. As an added benefit, researchers have found that drawing pictures of information that needs to be remembered is a strong and reliable strategy to enhance memory. Participants often recalled more than twice as many drawn than written words.
As Sniff and Scurry from Who Moved My Cheese learned in the famous parable by Spencer Johnson M.D., you too can learn to deal with change, so that you can enjoy less stress and more success in your work and life. Feeding your brain during this period of more time at home is a great way to do that.