Did you know that you feed your mind every day? Beyond the nutrients found in the foods we eat, our minds need to be fed with information to stay sharp and focused. To be at their healthiest our minds crave variety in the types of information and experiences we take in.
Think about it this way: when we are young, our minds are like blank pages just waiting to be written on. In the beginning we are taught everything we need to know through life lessons, classroom experiences, independent study, and on-the-job training. Robert Fulghum’s book “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” isn’t wrong…as a starting point.
1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don’t hit people.
4. Put things back where you found them.
5. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
6. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
7. Say you’re SORRY when you HURT somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
11. Live a balanced life – learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work everyday some.
12. Take a nap every afternoon.
13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
15. Goldfish and hamster and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
16. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.”
― Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
You just don’t stop there. The beautiful thing about your mind is that it never stops learning! From the day you are born until the moment you die your mind is engaged with capturing and processing new information. The more you do to nurture your mind with new learning opportunities, the better it will work. Whether you are learning new caregiving techniques or reading a best-seller, you are giving your mind a workout! Here is a list from Harvard of things to do to nurture your mind. Not surprisingly, many of them are physical or nutritional! We all know that we feel better mentally after we exercise. We also know now that what we eat has a huge impact on how well our brains work. Your mind is an integral part of your entire being. You must take care of the whole package to maximize your potential as a family caregiver!
Even games can exercise your mind. Some, like crossword puzzles, Scrabble, or Sudoku, work the brain muscle in thought processes. Learning a new language or taking an online course will make your mind work to store new information. Painting, sculpting, or drawing can open up the creative pathways. Scripture study, meditation and prayer even tap into your mind differently. Every new experience or adventure will strengthen your thought processes and make you a better caregiver in the long run.
Betsy and I hope you’ll join us this week here at Heart of the Caregiver and share your heart about things you do to nurture your mind.