Nine ways to keep your Noggin on track

Whilst the news is telling us that there will be some return to ‘normal’ over the next few weeks and months, we still have the day to day to get through.

My ability to focus on getting tasks ticked off that to do list whilst at home feels harder than ever and on talking to friends, it seems I’m not alone. 

Whether it is a work deadline, a home school project or just trying to complete an online shopping order, even the smallest of tasks can seem to take forever to get done. 

How can we help ourselves get back on track and get the job done?

Get moving – get up, get moving and do something. Exercise can help with our ability to pay attention as well as being all round brilliant for brain health 

Nap – sometimes we don’t need to get going, we need to wind down. Cat naps – somewhere between 10 and 30 minutes have been shown to help improve our brain’s ability to function. 

Nature nurtures us –  research published this week questioned whether time in nature might be as good for us 10,000 steps a day. The evidence suggested 2 hours in nature daily was recommended for improving wellbeing, reducing stress and reducing blood pressure. Whilst that might not be practical in the middle of a work day, even 10 minutes outside in a natural space can be helpful for our well being. 

Drink up – so simple but dehydration can be a huge factor in our difficulties concentrating. A glass of water for every tea or coffee you have during the day is recommended to prevent this. 

Talk to someone – pick up the phone, chat to a neighbour or see if someone is free for a natter in your household. Talking to others has been shown to reduce stress and help with our work productivity. 

Laugh – if you can share a laugh with your chat partner even better! A study done in California showed that older adults who watched  a funny video had lower levels of stress hormones and improved scores on memory tests. 

Read – taking a break from your screen and indulging in a chapter or two of fiction can also help with brain function. If you have any fiction favourites let us know! Along with millions of other fans,  I’m loving ‘The Thursday Murder Club’ by RIchard Osman right now

Doodle – putting pen to paper and allowing yourself to scribble notes or draw something has been shown to help restore our attention. These small creative tasks, or letting our minds just wander for a short period, causes our brains to change gear and helps us refocus when we go back to what we have to do.

Keep well, Dr Clara Russell