Staying at home can be extremely boring. It’s very easy to exhaust the number of things to do within just a few days. When I was in high school, our class teacher would tell us, “Don’t just sit at home hanging like a spider for the entire holiday. Keep your brain active.” She said it over and over again until it became instilled in us.
Aside from this, we were also warned about the effects of watching T.V the entire day, because it is literally bad for the brain. Recent research proved this theory to be true. In the experiment conducted, people who watched more than 3 hours of TV per day on average over the next 25 years were more likely to perform poorly on certain cognitive tests, compared to people who watched little T.V, the researchers found.
Back in the days, when we would go back to school after a month of holiday, I found that my handwriting was suddenly not as good as it was before. It was almost like I’d forgotten how to write. That’s how I think of the brain. If you don’t keep it active by constantly expanding your knowledge it might just diminish, even as you age. This is why you might want to come up with some constructive things to do while at home and by doing so, engage your brain in some activity.
Here are a few creative things to do at home.
- Learn new recipes
Aside from the physical aspect of it, cooking teaches patience, perseverance and delayed gratification. There’s a lot of lessons that can be learnt in the kitchen. By following a recipe step by step, you are helping your brain to stay healthy. On top of this, the altruism of cooking for others is good for you.
It’s more than just cooking. In fact, Dr. Sabbah, Director of Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health says that executive functions test our ability to organize, prioritize, sustain focus, solve problems, retrieve memories and multitask. Executive function also applies to another dimension: managing frustration and controlling emotions. You may have to draw on these cognitive resources if your meal preparation goes awry or your dinner falls flat, despite your best efforts.
We all know that writing is not only engaging for the brain but also therapeutic. Writing allows you to release. It’s a form of releasing pent up emotions and discovering yourself even further. Whether you are writing for blogging or just to keep in your wardrobe, I would encourage you to do it. In doing so, you will discover a lot of things through research. But above all of this, you will discover yourself.
A brain imaging study by UCLA psychologists revealed that expressing feelings, in verbal or written words, reduces activity in the amygdala, the brain’s emotional centre, and engages the thinking brain. This brain pattern can make sadness, anger, and pain less intense. According to different research, writing also offers physical and psychological benefits to people by boosting immune function.
- Learn a new language
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I find multi-linguists super fascinating. They appear to me as extremely intelligent. Learning a new language is not easy, and you might just want to challenge yourself to do it. It doesn’t have to be boring. You can substitute regular online classes with movies in that language.
In a study published in the Annals of Neurology, Bak set out to determine if the positive effects of bilingualism on cognition could actually be the other way around: that people who have better cognitive functions are more likely to learn foreign languages. Indeed, he found that bilingual people performed better than expected on intelligence tests at their advanced age, and showed less relative cognitive decline compared to monolingual people.
- Learn about photography and plan a home photoshoot
There’s something beautiful about being able to record the memories of your day to day life. Indeed photography is a great invention. There’s so much to be learnt about photography and that’s the beauty of it. Aside from this, did you know that photography is actually good for your brain?
A study conducted at the University of Texas proved that photography helps the memory capacity to improve significantly. Learning mentally challenging skills, such as digital photography, helps improve memory in older people.
As you are perfecting your photography skills, you can plan to do a photoshoot at home. This is where creativity comes in. You can use a coloured sheet as a backdrop, or even pieces of newspaper that are pinned to the wall. You can actually create stunning images from the comfort of your home, and this will help you to explore your hobby.
- Start gardening
Have you ever taken care of a plant or garden? It’s one of the most fulfilling things to see your plants grow and your flowers blossom. I imagine that it almost feels as good as raising a child or taking care of a pet. Gardening is good for the brain.
A gardening activity with low-to-moderate intensity leads to improved levels of the brain nerve growth factors Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and Platelet-Derived Growth Factor (PDGF), which are related to memory.