Restore Your Brain Today

If you’ve ever driven a long distance for a long-awaited vacation, you easily recognize the stages of your journey. You start out fresh, exhilarated. Once you break free of your hometown, the road unfurls ahead, full of promise for memories and adventures on the other end. Before long, you break the trip into segments. At one fifth of the way there, you take a deep breath and celebrate just a little. That continues through the final stretch. That’s when time and distance seep by like a dripping faucet. An imprint of the steering wheel has to be permanently embedded in your palms.


You arrive. Within minutes, the buzz of traffic and scent of exhaust fumes fade from your memory. The perfect vacation is right in front of you.


That push forward stems from hope. If our effort is worth the sacrifice, we manage to put up with the traffic jams, the college classes that seem irrelevant, or the extra hours and stress at work.


After a particularly hard year of work, I have relied on hope…and a few other strategies to get to the finish line.


Similar to all the times I’ve set out on a road trip with the distance and path in mind, I knew this year would amount to the greatest load I’d ever experienced. Determined and enthusiastic early on, the evenings and weekends rolled by while I churned out reports and spent days in meetings that stretched my resolve. I broke the year into segments, celebrating the first month and the second. By the time I was halfway through, I could sense that the work could get done – I would make it with the support of my team.


With three months to go before the newly hired staff would share the responsibilities, I admit I was burned to a crisp. Without regular chances to break my focus away from work, I couldn’t reset my thoughts and enthusiasm.


Don’t get me wrong, I love my career. School psychology is the best match for me as a calling, not just a job. Yet, it turns out, every working individual needs mental and physical shifts in their work week for overall health. According to Psychology Today, the best balance is a switch of scenery and mental challenges. We are more refreshed and able to maintain our ambition at work when we turn to hobbies and interests that require a separate cognitive experience.


Since I use the analytical, decision-making side of my brain all week, it would be best for me to engage in creative pursuits during off hours. That could include cooking unique dishes, photographing nature, painting, writing a fictional piece, gardening, and traveling. If you draw from your creative potential at work, you may need to engage your analytical side by learning languages, teaching classes, reading, or playing games of strategy.


Our magnificent brains need stimulation in multiple ways throughout our lives to remain at peak performance. If you sense an imbalance in your enthusiasm in an otherwise solid pattern of life, give an opposite approach a try. Now that my year of overload has passed, I have learned the significance of giving our bodies and brains a healthy mixture of experiences. I can’t wait to juggle my career and interests with a more manageable approach. Many thanks to my coworkers and supervisor for constant support and encouragement. We didn’t just make it to the end of the school year, we served our children and families well.


I encourage you to give your brain a healthy workout. Adults need to engage their whole brains by seeking out new experiences just as children need whole brain stimulation for optimal development.


Take on a journey of your own today. Your brain will thank you.

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