Mid-Week Listicle: 20 Ways to Bless Your Brain
Hello friend and dearest Reader!
Welcome to our little corner of the Internet AND to the Mid-Week Listicle!
The inspiration for today's listicle comes from a post I did a few weeks ago about investing in yourself. I really love the idea of using our time on earth to grow as much as possible by investing in our personal development, health, skills, relationships, and mind. So I think for the next few weeks we will be doing a series on investing in yourself, starting with our minds!
1. Read the news and current events
I know that a lot of people suggest avoiding the news because it's so depressing, but I truly believe that it's important to stay in tune with what is happening in our world. Sure, it might be frustrating or even a little frightening to learn about what's going on in Hong Kong right now, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't be aware.
Honestly, it's kind of selfish to cut ourselves off from the pain and struggle of others in the world just because it doesn't make us feel nice. Think about how THOSE people feel! Instead of wallowing in the misery of the news, try to take a balanced approach. Become aware of current events and world happenings while also remaining rational and compassionate.
Subscribe to a few different online publications or newspapers and get plugged into the news! Having knowledge of current events is an EASY and productive way to upgrade your dinner party conversational skills. Furthermore, you will have more of an understanding of what is happening, what causes to support, and what to pray about.
2. Read a fiction book
Most people tout self-help books as the key to blessing your brain, but I am here to argue for fictional reading as a priority when it comes to the written word. When I'm deeply invested in a fiction novel, I notice that my writing, speech, and vocabulary become immensely improved, even though I'm not consciously trying to improve.
Choose reading material that is at a higher level of reading than you're used to, and make sure that the actual material is edifying, interesting, and thought-provoking. Reading erotica or silly gossip novels will not have the same intellectual affect that reading a classic fiction novel will. If you need to, work your way up to advanced material, but always try to be reading SOMETHING.
3. Listen to podcasts
This is obviously going to be #3 on my list because you know that I love a good podcast. Podcasts are a fantastic way to do some passive learning. Put one on during your commute, your morning routine, or your chores and begin blessing your brain! We all have to fold laundry, so you might as well learn something new while doing it! I enjoy podcasts that are interesting and informative, while not too depressing.
Try to avoid True Crime podcasts or gossip lifestyle podcasts and stick to more exciting and enlightening ones. I enjoy podcasts about the internet, technology, the economy, the stock market, or really any kind of podcast that helps me learn about things I don't know anything about!
4. Organize an area of your home
Since we were infants, our minds have been programmed to put things in order. Learning about square pegs in round holes or even how to build a six piece Mickey Mouse puzzle all taught us the value of organizing, building, and putting things in order. I highly encourage you to not lose that essential human skill as an adult!
Put your closet back into order and clean out your silverware drawer. Rearrange the furniture and make sure everything is as streamlined as possible. This problem-solving activity will help align your mind on a focused task, AND give you long-term positive results in the fact that now you will be able to enjoy your newly organized drawers, cupboards, and closets!
5. Plan out your budget and monitor it
It can feel good in the moment to neglect your budget, but trust me, if you give into that laziness now, you will be looking at a ton of future anxiety, stress, and grief. Managing your money and keeping tabs on your spending is a fantastic way to ensure that you are getting the most out of your paycheck AND saving the most you can for the future.
Focus on creating a budget that works for you and your family, and then every time you make a transaction, track your spending! Show initiative with your budget and soon you will be much farther along with your financial plan. Bonus points? Budget in something fun for this month like a weekend getaway or a new dress. Prove to yourself that you can save money and stay on track, and don't be afraid to celebrate a little!
6. Use a variety of apps to keep track of your life
Now you don't need to be neurotic, but if you want to track and monitor more things in your life, it can really be stimulating to the brain and even exciting to see your life come together a little bit more. I like to have an app for my grocery list, my weekly activities, my health, my calories, and even my periods!
A budgeting app like Buddy or a calorie counting app like MyPlate can really help you reach your goals. Track your periods and make sure you are getting the most out of your week by scheduling your activities!
7. Move more!
This is a obvious solution to brain fog, but the more you move your body, the more you will feel mentally and physically stimulated. If you want to be more vibrant, have greater energy, and in general, feel better about yourself, I highly recommend you move more. Our bodies and minds need stimulation, and it is honestly incredible to realize the connection between moving and stimulating our bodies and stimulating our brains.
Do chores and walk around when you get home from work! Take the stairs and park farther away from the front of the store. Try carrying that heavy suitcase up with you instead of having your husband do it, and take a few trips to bring in the groceries. Sign up for a running club or even just start walking your dog every day. Whatever you choose to do, as long as you're moving, you will get the benefits.
8. Eat well!
This is another obvious point, but I think a lot of people are confused about what you actually need to eat for brain stimulation. I eat a diet high in animal products; protein and dairy are my key food groups! We as humans need Vitamin B-12 which is commonly found in animal products to ensure that we will not run the risk of having brain fog.
Cut out the standard American diet of crazy amounts of carbohydrates and processed foods, and swap it for a diet rich in natural animal products, fresh produce, and homemade bread and treats. Eat as little processed food as you can, and always be aware of how much alcohol, candy, and sugar you are consuming.
9. Engage with your faith
My mind always feels MUCH sharper and clearer when I'm focused on building my faith in the Lord and connecting with His word. He is truly the smartest being in the universe, so the best thing I can do is to plug into his wisdom and words as evident in Scripture, and to think of ways that I can apply His truth to my life.
When I spend time in prayer, I am able to repent, forgive others, and in general, flush the toxic feelings and stress out of my brain to make room for more joy, peace, and serenity. God's word is very clear about how we should live our lives, and any time I need guidance or help in a stressful area of my life, His truth helps lower my anxiety and allows me to make decisions and move forward.
10. Elevate your conversations
Don't sit around gossiping about Meghan from sales with your friends. Forget bad-mouthing your ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend! Try talking about more elevated subjects instead. Talk about health, current events, your faith, or recipes. Talk about fashion or social media or what you've been learning about yourself! Talk about new events you could put together to bless your community, or spend time dreaming about your futures.
Don't waste time on toxic conversations, disgusting anecdotes, or anything vulgar. Elevate your conversations and elevate your mind! Learn how to have deep and varied conversations with the people in your life by truly getting to know them on a deeper level, and always think of new ways to enjoy time with friends without gossiping.
11. Develop your skills
We all have skills and talents, and I think it's important for us to develop them throughout our lifetime! They don't have to strictly be professional skills; it could be your skills as a mother, a homemaker, or even as a wife! Spend time thinking up ways to improve in your skills, and put those plans into action.
Try upgrading your skills with a curling iron, or sign up for an online course to elevate your position at work. Pick up the piano again, or watch some YouTube videos on how to REALLY clean out your shower. Develop your skills in life and never stop learning.
We can be well-rounded women and developed in many areas if we just take the time and energy. It's crucial to grow in our non-professional AND professional skills, so don't forget to learn how to do your makeup a little better or how to cook a turkey.
12. Plan out your month
Planning out your events and activities might come naturally for some of us, but for others, (@me) it can be incredibly difficult to manage everything we have going on AND write it all in a calendar. My biggest piece of advice for this is that if your online calendar isn't doing it for you, try a hand-written one. If that one doesn't work, try an agenda! Just keep trying until you find your niche.
Always try to sit down with your husband and family once a month to remind everybody what you have going on, and what you have to look forward to. Invite their input or help if you need further advice on how to work the logistics on things (like where to put the dog during your vacation) and most of all, try to be consistent. Check your calendar every day, and even consider carrying around a pocket calendar in your purse!
13. Deal with your emotional health
If you want to invest in yourself and invest in your brain, it is CRUCIAL to deal with your emotional and mental health. Many women, myself included, have a difficult time managing their emotions. When this happens, it can make all our hard work obsolete because instead of taking an hour to work on our new skills or relationships, we're spending an hour in a grumpy mood, scrolling online or banging pots and pans around in the kitchen LOL!
Emotions can steal a TON of time from you if you're not careful, so make sure you are managing them well. If you need extra help on how to manage your emotional health or how to deal with your moods, consider some counseling or even group therapy for a little while. Watch videos on emotional and mental health and listen to the podcast "The Savvy Psychologist." Invest in your brain by investing in your emotional discipline.
Sleep as much as you need! Go to bed early and always try to wind down. Practice good sleep hygiene by making sure you don't have a ton of screen-time before bed, and most of all, remember that sleep is the way your brain can wind down after a full day. Waking up early isn't always the answer for each person.
We are all different, and many of us benefit from different sleep schedules. Being a "Night Owl" is a REAL thing! Many of us have a different circadian rhythm, and it's not necessarily a bad thing if you thrive better at nighttime. Listen to your body and adjust your schedule accordingly.
15. Do some writing
I encourage everyone to write, especially when you need to process things in your life. Making a difficult decision? Take time to write! Need to think some things through? Do it in a notebook! Writing is a fantastic way to really get a handle on what you're thinking and what your options are.
Bonus points? Try writing recreationally. Write a short story or write a little article or essay. Take time to write about things you're learning, and leave something behind for your kids to read when you're gone! Write letters and write journal entries. Write poems, and write lyrics! Write as much as you can and I promise you, your brain will come alive.
I don't think we should stop "playing" when we grow up. Play is actually an essential part of life that can help us gain confidence, build our skills, solve problems, and engage with others. When you use your free time to play instead of just using it to be entertained by Netflix or scroll through Instagram, you can actually develop skills and develop your mind.
Spend time playing a video or computer game, or even take time to play with your dog. Play cards with your husband or family, and never turn down an opportunity for intramural sports. We all have different ways our minds feel like they're "playing." I like to "play" by trying on different outfits in my closet or rearranging the furniture. I did those things for "play" when I was a child, and I'm no different now at 24 years old. Figure out what "playing" is for you, and engage in that wholeheartedly!
17. Do your chores
Yes, you read that correctly. Mama Midwest is coming in hot again with the advice to do your chores! The reality is that no one LOVES folding a basket of laundry initially, but once you begin, we can all attest to the fact that it's never as terrible as it sounds.
So do your chores and allow your brain to rest. I usually like to listen to podcasts or music while I do chores, but I would also encourage you to sometimes do chores without listening to anything. Let your brain rest awhile and make sure you are getting enough time to process your day, your emotions, and your thoughts.
18. Listen to elevated music
I used to blast Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" every time I had an exam to study for in high school. I still enjoy listening to folk or classical music quite regularly. I really think that beautiful music does something incredible to our minds and our emotions. It causes you to reach for an elevated sense of being, far beyond the animalistic beats of pop music.
Listen to music that has elevated purpose even, like worship music. Listen to music that truly praises God, instead of Christian music that just focuses on crying out a ballad to God about "I." Try focusing on the lyrics and see what the song is actually saying: is it praising God, or is it just talking about "I?" So when you turn on Spotify next time, choose music that isn't about sex, drugs, or partying. Choose orchestral arrangements, instrumental music, or even enlightening soundtracks. Elevate your music and elevate your mind: you will be so glad you did.
19. Design or draw some art
Taking time to design and use our hands to create art can really elevate our minds and cause us to think in a different way. We can express ourselves and our talents through the medium of art, but we can also begin thinking about life in a different way when we create. Take out the paints and explore with your mind on paper.
Create sculptures or just beautify the world around you. Do your makeup or decorate a cake! Refurbish a piece of furniture or arrange some flowers. Whatever you choose to design, just know that it is a true investment into your mind.
20. Create a solution to a problem
So we all have a problem right now: I am sure of it. Some of us have relationship problems, money problems, or career problems. Whatever they are, take time today to sit down and sort it out. Write down the problem and all your different options.
Take time to think through the pros and cons and avoid getting overly emotional. Think as rationally as possible and really weigh every option. Sit down with a loved one and figure it out if you can't do it on your own, but whatever you do, I promise you that you will feel so much lighter and better when you figure out your problem. If you can't solve the entire thing, just try to push forward in a small way.
Alright! That is it for me today! I have to finish editing tomorrow's video and working on some other things, but I hope this was helpful! I think it's so important for us to stimulate our minds and grow into better individuals, every single day.
Sending you so much love today my dearest Reader.