Do you ever walk into a room and forget what you’ve gone there for? I do, and actually it’s surprisingly common. I think it makes us all a little worried but whilst it’s normal, especially when we are trying to do so much during the day, there is no harm in trying to stimulate your mind. As we get older, this is particularly important and once you start to exercise your brain a little more each day, you will definitely notice a difference. Here are our top tips for keeping your brain healthy and sharp this year.
1. Play brain games
Playing games are one of the best ways to keep your mind focused and sharp. Why not play an online word game which might be a crossword or my personal favourite of a word-search. Maybe try logic puzzle games to stretch your brain – I can tell you that they definitely challenged mine. But in all the right ways! Try to make it into a daily routine. Maybe you could play a ‘brain game’ at the same time each morning along with a nice hot cup of tea. Or perhaps it is a good late afternoon activity? Depending on the stage of life you are at, you’ll know what will work well.
2. Exercise is key
Exercise is brilliant for keeping our brains healthy. It is obviously beneficial to increase heart rate and blood flow around our bodies. It also reduces blood pressure. It doesn’t really matter exactly what exercise that you are doing, so long as you increase your heart rate and get moving! My daughter got some roller skates for Christmas and we have been out practicing – she goes on her skates and I run along beside her. It is actually great fun!
As a family, we have been playing quite a bit of badminton in our garden during the warmer months and at the local leisure centre all year round too. I always find it better to bring our own rackets with us in our badminton bags as it works out cheaper plus I prefer playing with my own equipment.
I also love activities like walking or swimming to enable me to process all the busyness in life and by the end of it I definitely feel calmer and clearer in my mind.
3. Read all the way
Reading has so many mental health benefits. It enables us to enter worlds other than our own and it encourages us to use our imagination. You could join a book club which would also offer up social benefits. I think we’ve all realised how much we need human connections to feel at our best mentally.
Why not get the newspaper delivered each morning. It cuts down on screen time if you have a physical paper and you also get to complete the crossword. Curl up in your living room and challenge yourself.
Take advantage of your local library too. Getting out and about to go to the library can be really good for the soul and many of the libraries around here have had massive makeovers in recent years and are a lot more appealing to spend time in. If they don’t have the book you want, you can often order it in.
4. Get creative
Why not try learning a new skill such as knitting or even another language. Mastering a new skill is good for your brain and offers up a sense of accomplishment. By trying new things, you might find a new passion or even a new career.
Staying in touch with people you love, either in person or via phone, is a good boost for your mood and your general happiness. However, even simple interactions with people throughout the day will help keep your brain healthy and sharp. A bit of banter with the person behind the counter at the Post Office or a brief chat with a neighbour when you’re out and about all help keep your brain used to social interactions. Sometimes making small talk can take some effort but the benefits outweigh anything else.