As the year winds down and we start to head into party mode, it is no surprise that some things just go straight out of our heads. It is almost as though the brain is full from a year of work and once the parties and the alcohol start to flow the rest of our memory soon follows. I was once on holidays on an organised tour, where the tour guide told us about how he believed all tourists developed “vacation brain” where even simple tasks become complex. For example:
Tour guide – “Our bus leaves at 8am tomorrow”
Tourist – “So we should be downstairs with our bags before then?”
Tour Guide – “Only if you want to get on the bus!”
So here are our 8 tips to keep the grey matter functioning at its best during the Christmas festivities (and of course you can do some of these when you are teaching as well):
- Keep up the exercise – I know it is hard to fit in the gym while we have Christmas parties to attend, but our brains love motion and the extra oxygen is a great way to keep the brain operating at its best
- Repeat things you want to remember – the brain sends memories to many different locations in the brain, repetition helps them to be moved into long term storage where you are more likely to be able to retrieve them again
- Sleep well – try to get your usual amount of sleep and don’t reject the idea of the “nana nap” when you have some free time. A sleep deprived brain doesn’t get to do its maintenance if you keep it up all night!!
- Reduce stress – too much adrenaline damages your brain cells – crippling your ability to learn and remember.
- Use visuals when talking or explaining anything – your brain likes to think in images and patterns, so any sort of visual, even the worst drawn picture gives the brain additional information to add to what it is hearing
- Eat Healthy – OK so snacking at the party is part of the fun but in between time a balanced diet, rich in omega 3 fatty acids will give your brain a boost.
- Play a game – games keep the brain interested and are fun too. We learn about the things we pay attention to, so if you are doing this in training, make sure it relates to the content you want your participants to remember.
- Change it up – do something different to what you usually do eg write with your opposite hand, try mind mapping instead of taking notes etc. the brain likes the new and unusual so give it something to keep it stimulated.
Author: Melinda Zanetich - Director & Master Trainer - 4MAT 4Learning - Asia Pacific Region