Ways to Keep Our Brain Healthy as We Age (the Physical)

This is going to be a post on some notes I’ve taken from the book “60 Ways to Keep Your Brain Sharp” by Bonne Beth Sparrman, BSN. The book is divided into 4 sections of: physical activity and related preventative measures, nutrition, intellectual stimulation, and social and spiritual stimulation. This bog post will only be covering select parts from the first section of “Physical Activity and Related Preventative Measures”. In this post I’ll be emphasizing my favorite sections and tips and make short little notes on the remaining bits:

  1. Go Hiking. I love this one, because I too love hiking, I’ve only done it a couple of times, but I’ve loved going every single time. In Sparrman’s book she starts of writing about a Swedish man named Stig (pronounced Steeg and means “pathway or wanderer”). I loved Sparrman’s description of Stig’s childhood surroundings of “Rolling hills, plenty of water, and pine forests surrounded his home, beckoning him to wander wooded paths foraging for mushrooms and wild berries” (p. 16). Clearly hiking has physical benefits, but it does so much for mental health as well including boosting creativity and reducing depression.
  2. Go Swimming (or even better swim in a lake). According to Sparrman the benefits of swimming include: increased blood flow to the brain, decreases depression, improves memory, and is a physical activity that is safe for joints (p. 21-22).
  3. Garden. I’m an on-off gardener, at times I’m out toiling around in the dirt, while at other times I just spend the greater sum of my hours indoors. In spite of my fickleness regarding this activity, I really do enjoy it when I do it. As for what Sparrman writes about gardening, she says that working with the soil gives a boost of serotonin to our brains that improves mood (apparently through the aid of a good microbe called Mycobacterium vaccae). People who garden also have a lower risk of developing dementia than those who don’t and being out in the sunshine increases the production of vitamin D, which is yet another mood booster and even helps to improve our immune systems (p. 33-34).
  4.  Try Pilates. Apparently pilates works not only the body, but the mind as well and has an emphasis on deep breathing. Some of its benefits including healing sore muscles, helps prevent injuries (how I’m not sure), decreases stress, and calms the mind. I’ve never personally tried pilates, but I may try it now and after reading this section of the book I went on Youtube and checked to see if I could find any video that I might want to try and came across this one that I might try to give a go at some time soon (p. 36-37).
  5. Get a Massage. According to Sparrman massage decreases cortisol (our stress homone) while increasing the “feel good” hormones of serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. I’ve only gone one time to a massage parlor and wasn’t too thrilled with my experience there. The lady that massaged me was too rough and didn’t understand English so I couldn’t make any of my preferences known to her. It was a rather uncomfortable experience for me. So far my good massage experiences have only been from family and friends, but perhaps I’ll try a “real” massage again sometime soon and will hopefully have a different experience (p. 55).
  6. Additional Tips: maintain a healthy BMI, stay active, partner dancing, get enough sleep, quit smoking if you’re a smoker, breath more deeply, and always wear a helmet for activities that call for one to be worn.

 

Source:

Sparrman, B. B. (2018). 60 ways to keep your brain sharp. Eugene, OR: Harvest House.

4 Essentials of Housework

This is the list of the essential four things I feel I need to get done whenever I endeavour to clean the house, as a sort of foundational base clean or starting point from which I can later move on to more specific areas. These are my four:

  1. Laundry
  2. Dishes
  3. Floor
  4. Trash

The order matters as well for there is a reason for this order. Laundry is first so that it runs while I work on my other chores, dishes are next because getting them washed clears up more kitchen space and often I can wipe up the counter as I do so and since the next step on the list is the floor I can wipe the crumbs right onto the floor seeing as it would need cleaning next. If the floor space in the house is neat and clean most of the house will already look nice and tidy. Last is the trash seeing as this will have likely filled up as I cleaned and as the day has gone on. This isn’t any sort of deep clean list, this is just a starting point for cleaning generally speaking, at least in my mind these would be the logical first four steps to house cleaning endeavors.

Rule #4: Complain Only Every Other Day

So yesterday when I had breakfast with some of my coworkers I noticed myself complain more than I’d like to see myself complaining, we were all collectively complaining (ex. about people who were rude) and most of our discussions involved good and valid points…but still, I didn’t like seeing myself complain as much as I did. I thought it was unattractive of me to do so. The reason is in part because I reminded myself of one of my least favorite people and didn’t like having that person reflected in myself. I think complaining has its place in this world and can even connect people. Change happens when people think things can be better than they are, that’s why I’m only being allowed to express complaints every other day. On some days one has to allow the world to be as it is and seek out peace, whereas other days one can see the world for what it is and unapologetically seek to change it. This rule is to help me seek out more peace and more self-contentment while not changing who I am or the things I stand for. I’m not sure yet when I’ll first enact my rule for myself, I’m afraid of failing to follow my own rule, but hopefully very soon.

January 2019

“Don’t settle: Don’t finish crappy books. If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant. If you’re not on the right path, get off it.”

Chris Brogan

Using Reusable Gift Bags

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Though I consider myself very far from where I’d want myself to be as far as green living goes I do feel I’m making some small progress, the example I’m giving now is of the reusable gift bags. I purchased 6 so far (three Christmas themed, one floral, one Alice in Wonderland, and one birthday), all from Etsy shops (from Not Paper Bags and Heirloom Gift Bags Plus). The first time I used the bags was for my sister’s birthday and now we’re using it for Christmas again. I told my mom that from now on we’d use the reusable gift bags and surprisingly she was perfectly happy to go along with it, the only problem is I’ve yet to buy enough bags still. It’s definitely made a difference though, as even with an incomplete stockpile of gift bags, the few I’ve purchased so far are able to go a long way. So it’s my hope that my family and I will grow and continue this newfound tradition and it’s my hope that you might consider trying it out in your own home with your family as well dear reader. Also might I add on a completely different tangent that I think my mom did a lovely job of decorating our tree this year with her ribbon arrangement, the gold tassels and the top of berries.

 

The Ultra Late Autumn Season Decor Post

I should have made this post much earlier, but other things were on my mind and procrastination is my specialty. Better late than never though and I still want to make this seeing as today is the last day of Autumn. My mother and I enjoy decorating for this season and I figured I’d share our decor for this year, plus it’ll give me the chance to delete some pictures from my phone seeing as posting them here will result in duplicates.

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December 2018

“The ultimate test of a man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.”

~Gaylord Nelson