For many, the holiday season brings time with family, friends and an opportunity to rest. But it also can bring stress and a lot of travel. Whether your scarfing down some favourite foods, watching your favourite holiday film or travelling to see as many family members as you can, it can be tough to keep your brain stimulated during the holiday season. That’s why OES High School has compiled this list of easy and satisfying ways to keep your brain moving this holiday season.
1. Stay Physically Active
December weather is cold, and it can be hard to motivate yourself to get out and be physical. But beyond aerobic or muscle health, exercise is proven to benefit mental health. Go out for a walk, try tobogganing or if the means are available try skiing or skating. Regular exercise is shown to have a positive impact on depression, anxiety and even ADHD. You don’t need to be an athlete to reap the benefits of exercise either. Research shows that even a small amount of fitness can be beneficial. So, get out there this holiday, have a snowball fight and build a snowman!
2. Read a Book
It’s no secret that reading is good for brain development and certainly reading can help keep you mind stimulated during the holidays, but did you know that reading a novel significantly enhances the connectivity in the brain and improves brain function? (2) Reading a variety of types of books can help with cognitive brain stimulation. Reading a novel for example, allows your imagination to take over. It allows you to forget your own daily troubles and travel into a fantasy world within the pages. Reading a non-fiction on a topic you’re interested in, not only allows you to learn about something new, but can be motivational. Try picking up a book over the holidays to let your mind wander a bit from your day-to-day.
3. Play a Game
Games are a great way to socialize with your friends and family, but they also provide a lot of brain stimulation. Challenge your friends to a board game like Scrabble or Chess. Or, try a strategy game like Risk or Settlers of Catan. It’s a great chance to boost your mind and challenge others to a friendly match.
If you’re not the type to play a game with others, there are many options out there for the more solitary of us. Things like puzzles, crosswords, sudoku or metal IQ puzzles are all stimulating ways to use challenge your mind.
4. Eat Healthy Foods
The holidays are full of large meals and lots of desserts, but with all the time spent gorging with your family, keeping a sharp mind can be tough. Good nutrition can help your mind as well as your body.(4) Research has shown that certain diets, such as Mediterranean diet, which features foods like fruits, fish, nuts and oils which promote cognitive stimulation. Although the holiday season brings some extra treats, try to stick to a balanced diet from sources detailed in the Canada Food Guide to keep you mind fresh during the holiday season.
As much as it is important to keep your brain stimulated over the holidays, it’s also critically important to let yourself rest. Resting while awake is fine, but getting some much needed shut-eye will also help recharge so you can absorb and learn new things. Sleep is important for your mind and mood, which helps improve things like concentration, attention and memory. Be sure to take things away from your bed that can be considered wakeful activities. These include things like watching TV or playing on your phone. It’s important to give yourself an hour of screen-free time before bed to allow your brain and body to feel like it’s time to shut down for the night.
6. Take an Online Course
The holidays are a great time to take advantage of free time. Whether you’re off from school, have some extra time off from work, or simply need a break from friends and family, an online course is a great opportunity to learn something new or get ahead in your studies. Online courses offer students the opportunity to learn at their own pace, whether that is fast or leisurely. Online learning also provides you with exposure to more engaging multimedia content and often has more opportunities for one-on-one assessment and discussions with your instructors. (6)
Ontario eSecondary School is an Ontario Ministry of Education inspected online school and offers multiple courses across many subjects. If your school doesn’t offer a prerequisite you need for post-secondary, if you’re an international student looking to get some Canadian credits, or a mature student looking to upgrade a course, we can help.
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Check out our course offerings and we’ll help you get started with your online learning journey to learn at your own pace!