It’s really important to exercise our mind. If we don’t, it’s weakened. For example, after graduating with my Bachelors at age 20, I traveled and learned a new language. Because of this, I was studying often. When I got back to the US, I stopped studying and took a few years off from anything academic. Then I decided I wanted to go back for higher education and enrolled again for the university to get pre-reqs. completed. There was a huge difference in my ability to learn!
After two full years of not studying, going back to school was extremely difficult. It was so hard for my brain to learn so much in a short period of time. At midterms, I had scary low grades. I had an average of a D+. I remember seeing my report, walking quickly to my car, and once getting inside crying.
I decided then that because I’d never averaged lower than an A- before, I could and would do it again! I had to learn how to study and retain knowledge all over again. I buckled down, learned how to study, and really applied myself. It was hard work, but I ended up getting a 4.0 that semester!
After this experience, I learned that even if I’m not in school, I really need to exercise my mind on a continual basis. I promised myself that I’d try to never let my brain get rusty like I allowed to happen those few years of break.
I wanted to share what I’ve found to accomplish this for you. Here are 7 ways to keep your mind sharp when you are not going to school:
1- Play educational games and apps. I know many of us use our smartphones to relax, unwind, and pass the time. Instead of using them to watch videos on YouTube, why not play an educational app like AlphaBetty Saga? It’s a super fun word game that has you learning and looking for words, calculating the best moves, and having fun while you exercise intelligence.
2- Read. Reading is very important to keep your mind sharp. From books and educational sources to Google, and newspapers, reading contributes to your intelligence.
3- Watch educational programs. Television and movies are another great past time. If you are like me, many purely entertaining films can, at times, feel like a waste. By watching entertaining productions that increase your knowledge you keep your mind learning while being entertained.
4- Plan educational trips with the family. We often plan to go to the lake because we love it. But sometimes we’ll switch it up and go to the zoo, aquarium, historical monuments, etc. I’m always amazed at how much I learn when I choose to spend the day at an educationally-based place.
5- Research the questions your kids ask and you aren’t sure the answers to. As kids we’d ask questions like: “Mom, how do airplanes stay in the air?”, “How fast is the earth spinning?”, “Why does my book and small toy hit the floor at the same time when I drop them? The book is heavier, so why is it landing at the same time?”, etc. If you don’t know (or can’t remember) the answers and aren’t at a place where you can look up them up, jot them down and revisit them when you have downtime. I always loved it when we would ask a complicated question to my parents and then they would gather us all together and give us a lesson answering them.
6- Learn new skills. Set a goal once a year or month (depending on intensity and time) and work at learning something new. It could be a sport, a crafting skill, a tech skill, or anything. Learning how to master something new will help keep your mind sharp.
7- Be healthy. Getting sufficient sleep, eating healthy whole foods, exercising, and drinking lots of water will help your brain work optimally. If you’ve ever gone a few days without much sleep, then you’ve experienced brain sluggishness. Or if you have ever been dehydrated you’ve probably noticed difficulty thinking straight. Prioritizing health will help you keep your brain running optimally.
What are some ways you keep your mind sharp despite not being enrolled in formal education, I’d love other ideas?