LOOKING AFTER YOUR BRAIN HEALTH
Your brain impacts how you feel on a daily basis. It affects EVERY. SINGLE. THING from your energy levels, to your focus, to how balanced your mood is—as well as directly impacting your quality of life now and into old age.
A healthy brain essentially keeps you at your best, for as long as possible. In real talk, that means:
improved sleep and energy
sharpened focus and memory
better mental health and stress management
less brain fog
protection from cognitive decline
better memory and recall
improved learning and retention
sustained whole-body health
What makes a healthy brain?
Everyone’s brain care routine will be unique. No two brains are the same, in much the same way that no two people are the same. So, what works for you, may not work for someone else.
But there are some basic principles that you can tailor to your individual taste and needs, to maintain a healthy brain, every day.
Did you know that 99% of us don’t get the nutrition our brains need from our diets? It’s really hard to do. Research suggests that the MIND diet is the best one to follow for long term brain health. Based on the Mediterranean diet it encourages foods based on their impact for brain health. This is what it looks like:
Green, leafy vegetables 5x a week
5+ different coloured fruits and vegetables every day
5+ servings of nuts a week Olive oil
5x a week Whole grains
5x a week Oily fish
2x a week or omega 3 supplement White meat/mix of plant-based proteins
2x a week Vitamin D supplement
Minimal processed foods
No more than 1 glass of wine a day
1-2x coffee or tea a day max
2L water a day
Most of us are under constant, chronic stress—always being ‘on’, and juggling work, life, deadlines, admin, social engagements, and home responsibilities can mean that our stress response is triggered many times throughout the day.
Breathing doesn’t take any conscious thought, it just happens, but how you breathe is directly related to how you react, and vice versa. If you’re stressed, chances are that your breathing is rapid, shallow, and only into your chest. Breathing this way is exciting to your nervous system (not in a good way), and triggers a stress response—putting you in a reactive state.
TOP TIP: Try slowing down your breathing every hour by breathing deeply & slowly for 1 minute
3. MINDFULNESS Mindfulness can encompass a lot of different things from gratitude and journaling, to yoga or a really good shower—all it needs from you is to be completely present. Meta study analyses have attested to the effect meditation has on both your nervous system and—just as excitingly—in your brain, from the regulation of stress response to thickening your grey matter in the areas of attention and emotion regulation.
We all need 2-3 litres of water per day—plus an extra glass for every tea, coffee, or alcoholic drink. If you're as little as 1-3% dehydrated, it impacts your focus, memory and concentration. And, by the time you're aware that you're thirsty, or your lips are dry, you’re way more than 3% dehydrated.
We often hear from hospitality professionals the idea of ‘switching off’ for the recommended 7-9 hours each night can feel like a threat to career survival…
We need to stop thinking about sleep as switching off. Quite the reverse. Sleep is an active process for repairing and enhancing brain performance—and is essential for a healthy brain.
Even a cheeky 10-minute nap can improve mood and memory!
The act of caring—either for yourself or others—triggers the parasympathetic nervous system. When this is engaged is when we are at our healthiest. We can positively affect our health by consciously making this shift into compassion, but it does take some work.
Practice makes perfect! With time and practice kindness and compassion can actually shrink the area of your brain associated with the flight or fight response—the amygdala—making room for other areas of the brain to increase in size.
Being genuinely kind and compassionate can even help you to live longer. Seriously.
7. DIGITAL DETOX Our lives are increasingly digital-dependent. But, do you ever consider its impact on your brain and mental health? Apps, notifications, fitness trackers, who you follow, and how you consume social media all have huge impacts on your brain —some good, some not so much.
FIVE QUICK TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED ON A DIGITAL DETOX
Making sure to have some screen-free time in the day
Unfollowing accounts that don’t make you feel good
Allocating “faff around time” and “work time” so one doesn’t melt into the other
Noticing your relationships with your tech
Using different tech for work and leisure
8. SELF CARE
Of course, these pillars are just for starters. Every person is unique, and no-one knows your brain better than you do. So, for the 8th pillar of brain care, it’s choose your own adventure. A random act of self-care that your brain will thank you for. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Go to therapy
Explore new music
Dance, sing or get creative
Spend time with family and friends
We always love to hear from our community - If you'd like to share your tips for self care or a certain braincare routine you find helpful, get in touch with us.