7 ways to keep your brain active while at home
24th September 2020
Spending a lot more time at home over the last few months has been enjoyable for some more than others. Trying to find things to occupy our minds can be a struggle, especially for those who may have limited mobility or are reliant on aids like stairlifts and walk-in shower units.
Keeping your mind active as you get older can benefit not only your health but your mental wellbeing and mood. There are hundreds of ways you can occupy your mind, but it can be difficult to know which one will work for you and ones that you can work on at home.
Health Line released an article about why keeping your brain active is important, they reported: “According to the Alzheimer’s Association, research shows that keeping your brain active increases its vitality.”
Asa Johnson, Activities and Memory Care Project Manager at Sunrise Senior Living UK explains a little more about why keeping our brains active is so important and some of the simple ways you can do so: “It is important that as we get older, we keep our minds active, and as the saying goes, ‘variety is the spice of life’, so combining familiar activities with new experiences is not only interesting and enjoyable but can also have a positive impact on our brains.
This article will go into a little more detail about ways you can keep your brain active whilst in the comfort of your own home.
7 simple ways to keep your brain active while at home
- Keep a routine
- Start puzzling
- Start a journal
- Eat the right things
- Get into the garden
- Make sure you’re getting enough sleep
Keep a routine
One of the best ways to keep a positive mindset, whilst keeping your brain active and alert is to stick to a daily routine and a routine that works for you and your body and mind.
“Some people love to have a solid daily routine, while others shudder at the thought of having a predictable schedule. During times of great stress, however, maintaining structure and routine can help you feel more organised and in control. Having a routine can be helpful at any time, particularly if you are trying to establish healthy habits, but these routines can be particularly important when aspects of your life feel uncertain,” Very Well Mind reports on their website.
If you often find yourself looking for things to do or ways to occupy your mind, you’re probably in the need of a solid routine that you can stick to on a day-to-day basis. Of course, a routine can be subject to change, but having a base down on paper will certainly drive you through the day a little more.
Find a notepad, use your phone or your iPad and start your day by jotting down things you want to get done throughout the day. You can add tasks as simple as making breakfast, making the bed and getting dressed, the satisfaction and accomplishment from ticking off your tasks will provide you with a great sense of fulfilment.
We are all aware that reading is a great way to switch off the brain and detach ourselves from the troubles of everyday life. Whether you love getting stuck into a fiction or non-fiction book, the process of reading is one of the best ways to keep your brain active without you really having to do anything.
Glad Readers agree and reported about the topic on their website: “One of the basic reasons why reading is important is that it helps you grow mentally, emotionally and psychologically. Every book gives you an opportunity to learn new things and explore new ideas. Reading books increases your knowledge and makes you smarter.”
If you’re unsure of what book would suit you and your tastes, take a look at this article all about the best books for older people, with a little more detail about each one.
Some of the best books for older people
- The Girl on the Train
- A Spool of Blue Thread
- All the Light We Cannot See
An idea that you may not think of initially to keep your brain active is puzzling. Something we have all done at some point and a cheap and non-committal way to keep yourself and your brain occupied for longer periods.
Whether you enjoy physical puzzles or love working through a book of word searches or Sudoku, you might not be aware of the benefits it is having, but your mind will. The process of focusing on a puzzle is the ultimate way to switch off the mind and allow it to focus solely on the task in hand, making it especially good for those who may overthink or worry a little too much.
Puzzles to enjoy
- 500 or 1000-piece puzzles
Start a journal
Ever find yourself having nowhere to express your thoughts? If you often feel like you can’t express your feelings or want to get things off your mind, then journaling is one of the best ways to keep your mind clear and at ease.
“Journal writing allows you to write down your experiences and thoughts and use them to identify your future goals and aims. Writing down even everyday experiences helps in identifying various mistakes that have been made or decisions that have proven to be unfruitful. This exercise will allow you to clarify the future course of action that will enable you to achieve your goals.” Spreeder reports on their website.
If you’re thinking of starting journaling or maybe keeping some form of a diary, then there really are no rules, but a great place to start is to either write down how your day has been in detail, explain what you enjoyed, what you didn’t and maybe things you are grateful for.
Eat the right things
What you put into your body is often one of the factors that contribute to how you feel and the sort of mood your body produces in return. Your health and wellbeing can have a huge impact on your brain function and your ability to concentrate for longer periods of time, so it is important to make sure you are eating the correct things.
Harvard Health Publishing reported about how eating the right things can aid your brain, their website reported: “Like an expensive car, your brain functions best when it gets only premium fuel. Eating high-quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourishes the brain and protects it from oxidative stress — the “waste” (free radicals) produced when the body uses oxygen, which can damage cells.”
Green vegetables are packed with vitamins and nutrients which are associated with brain function and memory. It is also reported that plant-based foods are associated with slower cognitive decline in older age.
Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids and healthy saturated fats that promote brain function. Try eating low mercury fish at least twice a week to boost brainpower.
Nuts, but Walnuts, in particular, are a super source of protein and healthier fats and especially high in omega-3, much like fatty fish. Walnuts are a great addition to salads, pasta dishes and cakes and are a really easy way to add omega to your diet.
Get into the garden
Your garden or outdoor space is a great place to relax and unwind. The outdoor, fresh air and greenery is the perfect way to relieve stress, tension and empty your brain of any negativity. Gardening is a popular past for those who have a little more time on their hands and want to get active as well as improving their quality of life.
You can start off small depending on the amount of room you have, you may only have a balcony or windowsills that you can fill with your favourite plants or flowers. Pick plants that suit your space, if you have lots of room you can pick some plants that’ll fill the space, the same with smaller spaces, pick small plants that’ll stay small and compact. Allow yourself an allotted time every day or every other day to tend to your plants or just enjoy your outdoor space, the fresh air will instantly improve your mood and clear your mind.
Find out which plants are perfect to plant in the last couple of weeks of summer by reading this article called 5 plants to plant this summer.
Exercising at home
If you want to get a little more active than just being in the garden then trying a new sport or enjoying some of your local walks is a great way to stay active whilst at home, as Asa explains: “Physical exercise is not only good for our bodies, but good for our mind as well, and sports that require both mental engagement and physical activity, such as badminton, tennis or dancing, can be a very helpful combination. Spending time outdoors can also be beneficial, so try exploring new routes to familiar sites or go for walks to places you haven’t visited before.”
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep
One of the best and most important ways to improve your brain activity is to make sure you are getting the right amount of sleep. Sleep is hugely important to our wellbeing.
Sleep Foundation explains why our bodies need sleep a little more on their website: “Sleep is an essential function that allows your body and mind to recharge, leaving you refreshed and alert when you wake up. Healthy sleep also helps the body remain healthy and stave off diseases. Without enough sleep, the brain cannot function properly. This can impair your abilities to concentrate, think clearly, and process memories.”
It is recommended that adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night to aid brain and body function and to allow you to work at full capacity with plenty of energy. If you find it difficult to sleep, there are plenty of ways you can aid sleep, many of these are included in this article about why you aren’t getting enough sleep.
Our brains are one of the most important parts of our body, and without them, we wouldn’t be alive, so it is so important that we look after it and keep it as active and young as possible for as long as possible. All of these tips will aid you in keeping your mind at peace no matter what age you are.
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