During the past couple of months most Americans spent more time at home than they have done in years.  This offered times of reflection, reconnecting, and even discovering new hobbies and activities to enjoy.  Personally I was able to do some extra reading, planting seeds for my garden earlier and developed a new morning routine that has made me feel more centered, sleeping better and in turn increased energy throughout the day. 

Many individuals have discovered the benefits of being home and has allowed for more creativity in balancing family life with work and school.  Simplicity in many ways has come out of this.  I wanted to share some simple steps for you in keeping your brain healthy. This list will be on my website in the next month as a PDF you can download for yourself. 

1. Gargle every day.  Gargling stimulates the vagus nerve which connects our gut to the brain.  The vagus nerve is responsible for stimulating motility in the gut, helps with constipation,  increases digestive enzymes, promotes good kidney function and generally helps with the mind body connection.  You can Humm or Sing as an alternative as these activities also stimulate the vagus nerve. 
2. Balance on one foot each day.  Begin with 30 seconds and try to increase to do for 1-2 minutes. 
3. Eat one of the following foods daily to power your brain.  Be sure when eating to be mindful  Chew each bite 10 times to stimulate digestive enzymes to aide in the digestive process. 
     a. Avocado
     b. Almonds, Walnuts or Nut Butters
     c. Salmon or other fatty fish 
     d. Eggs
     e. Blueberries
     f.  Broccoli
     g. Oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, or MCT oil having 1-2 Tablespoons a day 
     h. Leafy greens including Spinach, Kale and both red and green lettuce. 
     i. Include 1/2 cup of beans such as chickpeas, navy beans or lentils.  These are referred to as the pulse foods and 
        individuals who live in the blue zones consume these.  Blue zones are where people live to 100. 

4. Sleep 7-9 hours every night.  Sleep is a way for the brain to detoxify and remove   
        the “crud” and allow you to feel energized the following day. 
5.. Enjoy your favorite movement daily.  This may include a walk, YOGA, Pilates 
        Weight lifting or Aerobics.  It is good to vary your movement from day to day.                                     
6.  Sit less.  If your job requires you to be sitting at a desk consider a standing desk.  
         If that is not possible set a timer to get up to walk or stretch every couple of hours. 
7. Play games.  Consider Soduko, Crossword puzzles, brain games such as lumosity
        Or Brain HQ.       
8.  Decrease the sugar. Diets high in sugar and processed carbohydrates “drain our brain”.  Our brain functions much better when we consume foods higher in good fats and lower in sugars. 
9.  Manage your Stress.  Do you currently have a daily practice that helps you to manage stress?  There are some techniques such as breath work, meditation and prayer.  Doing Yoga and Tai Chi are also beneficial.
10.  Learn something new that brings you joy.  Maybe you always wanted to learn that instrument or enjoy painting or photography.  When we have a hobby or activity  that we enjoy it reduces stress which keeps a happy brain. 

Resources: 
www.headspace.com
www.lumosity.com
www.brainhq.com
https://www.mindful.org/

Daily Calm on YouTube
Yoga with Adrienne YouTube

Ten Simple Sustainable Steps for a Balanced Brain

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