May 9, 2014

Like Exercise, But for Your Brain?

I'd like to think I'm about health.  Now I don't believe that health is just being free of disease.  Or that it means you will never be in pain.
To me, health is putting yourself into a place to where function is the focus and the ability to thrive is key.

I have focused on food here in the past and some on exercise as well, but I also know that my mind needs stimulation and periods of rest.
I started back to work a few months ago and forgot how much I miss it.  I think that my stint at staying at home full time was worthwhile, but is ultimately not who I am.  I enjoy work and I think that getting out and seeing what real life looks like for others helps to give me some perspective about my life.
I will also add that  I have things pretty good with a wonderful, former-homeschooling boss who allows flexibility within the system.  I'm working weekends while the pack of wild children gets some dad time.
Not everyone has this option, but I am very thankful that I do.

My real thoughts here are that between taking care of my family, including a beyond-spoiled toddler, homeschooling 2 teens, working, cooking and cleaning, exercising.......  I might just need some time to work on me.

I'm not talking about massages, or getting my nails done.  I'm talking about the part of you that makes you unique.... your brain.
Are you taking time to nourish and build it like the rest of your body?

I'm a big believer in mental stimulation.  I'm a big believer in READING.  
I mean, I have a list of required reading for my kids, and why do I do this?  If it is important for them, what about for me?

Since I had been neglectful of this side of me, I decided to make a list.  I'm purposefully not sharing it as you need to make your own list.  I would encourage you, if you are out of the habit, to add a variety of books... not just all self-help or books for women or christian life.   Add some of the classics.  If you don't know what the classics are then look to a list (google "classic books to read")
I was actually inspired by a list off of a facebook quiz.  My total was pretty low so I picked books that I hadn't read yet.

In the past I also read The Well-Educated Mind, a book to train yourself in the way of logical thinking.  I will admit that their consecutive approach was daunting for me, and that I sat and stared at a copy of Don Quixote for a few months straight before just giving up.
I have some books that are lighter and some that are deeper and require more thought.  Some subjects are interesting and some will stretch me.  I have some books that will teach me new skills and help me to become better at the things I enjoy doing in life.

It is also about the habit of reading.  Be strict with your time until it is a part of your day.  The old rule is 21 days to make a habit and that is a good rule to stick with.
I've found that now that the reading habit is established that I am able to add to my list.  That I'm turning off the tv at night and using that time to read.  It's far more interesting than anything that is on, you know.

So while you finish school and look to the next year for the kids, don't forget that you might need to put in some work there possibly yourself.  And don't be all about 'summer' reading.  Give yourself a goal of maybe 2 or 3 books, depending upon their length to get through in the next few months.  Don't set yourself up to fail, but schedule time to read each day for 20-30 minutes.
Don't feel selfish for taking time for yourself.  But don't let the book dominate and take control by keeping you from getting things done.  Personally, I use nap/down time in the afternoon or late at night.

Just like exercise or meal planning, I have found it helpful to add in some time to focus and build my brain through a deliberate time of reading.  I feel like it has helped to remind me that I am more than just all the different roles I have to fill in the day, and that, underneath it all, I'm still me and I'm still here.
It's all kind of like exercise, but for your brain, right?


DeLynn said...

Have you seen this? 1000 Good Books List

I used it a lot when my children were younger (we homeschooled for about 11 years)--and still use it even though we aren't and they are about grown!

Blessings on you!

See the Blue Sky said...

Thanks DeLynn! That is a great site that we've been using for school too. Lots of inspiration there!