5 Fun Ways to Keep Your Mind Active

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Mind Active

Living with an ostomy can mean that sometimes keeping your body as active as you’d like to isn’t always possible. It can be frustrating, but at these times it’s really important to remember that there are steps you can take to keep your most important muscle active; your brain. Keeping your mind moving by learning new skills, trying new pastimes, and generally engaging in novel activities can have massive implications for your mental health. These are some ideas of new activities that you can incorporate into your own routine to ensure to keep your mind active, even when your body can’t.

Learning a New Language

Some of us take enormous pleasure in being productive with our downtime and if you’re one of those sorts of people then learning a language is a brilliant thing to try. Duolingo promises to help you to learn a language in as little as five minutes per day, using games as a learning aid. As well as the obvious benefit of having a whole new language to use, allowing you to visit new countries and converse with confidence, learning a language has a whole raft of other positives. The biggest is perhaps the dramatic effect that it can have on the actual structure of your brain. When we learn new information, connections form in our brain called synapses. These synapses link old and new memories together and allow us to transfer information between them, kind of like a really great labeling system in a filing cabinet. Picking up a new language creates lots of these new synapses, which is great news, particularly for those who are worried about memory loss. In diseases such as Alzheimer’s, plaques build up some of our synapses causing them to fail. Whilst scientists work on finding out how to remove or discourage these plaques from forming, the best thing you can do is to make sure you’ve got plenty of still-working synapses. The best way of doing that? Learn new things! 

Picking Up a New Game

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If learning a language doesn’t sound like that much fun to you, but you still want the synapse-building bonuses that come with it, then don’t worry, it isn’t the only way. These new synapses form whenever you have a truly novel experience. Learning a new game is a great way to achieve some of the same results, without it feeling so much like hard work. If you have a strategic mindset then choosing a card game that you don’t already know how to play can be the perfect place to start. Poker is a popular choice because it is easy to access both in-person and online. Casinos.co.za provides an extensive list of safe and legal sites that offer casino games to play. They’re all checked for security and they list all of the bonuses that are available to new customers. Some of the sites will even allow players to try them out for free, so there’s no obligation to spend any money until you’re sure that you’ve found one that you like. If you’re already a bit of a card whizz then learning a new variety of one of your favorite games can allow you to keep the hobby going, but also maybe you could make a change to other games of the mind? Chess, chequers, and even some of the more complex board games will all help you to give your brain a workout and build that all-important catalog of novel experiences.

Organising Walks

Walking or gardening in the great outdoors helps promote feelings of calm.

If you particularly enjoyed the social aspect of learning the new game that you chose and are feeling up to a little light exercise then getting together with friends and taking a stroll is a great boost to your mental wellbeing. At OstomyLifestyle, we often review exercise regimes, including the couch to 5k via treadmill. Getting a little light exercise is brilliant for us and there are few exercises that put less unnecessary strain on the body than walking. Let your friends know that you’re planning to start taking regular walks and work out a schedule that fits around all of you. Get together in small groups and take a walk around a local green area. We often forget that we humans are animals too and all animals get huge mental benefits from being surrounded by green space. Grass, plants, and trees help us feel more connected to the world, whilst gentle exercise will prompt our brains to release mood-boosting endorphins. 

Growing Your Own Food

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If you found the benefits of being in the great outdoors really worked for you then kick things up a gear. Ensuring that you socialize, learn new things and keep your body moving are all brilliant ways to boost your mood, but the final piece of the puzzle is nutrition. We all know that eating healthy food makes us feel better in ourselves and one of the most rewarding ways of achieving that is through growing your own. Set aside a piece of your garden, or get involved in a community gardening scheme and you’ll reap the rewards of, exercise, community, fresh air and of course, plenty of fruit and vegetables.

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