Junior speaks: Keeping the brain busy, even during break

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Most of us can already hear sleigh bells and feel the warmth of our beds at home. The end of the semester is upon us, and we are so ready for a break. However, vegging out the entire winter break could make coming back next semester a difficult transition. Here are some easy ways to keep your brain stimulated without doing actual schoolwork:

1. Read

I’m not suggesting you bust out the newest edition of Business Methods 101, unless you are truly interested in that. Any kind of book that would draw your attention is perfect for keeping your brain functioning well. Even reading the newspaper or articles online can help.

2. Routine

Having a job over winter break, if possible, is a great way to maintain a routine. If you can’t find a job, volunteering is a good alternative. By having some responsibilities, it helps keep you up and moving. Plus, working provides situations requiring thinking on your feet. A bonus is you can be paid while you do it. Try to mimic the sleep routine you would have during spring semester. This way, when the semester comes along, you already have a steady sleep schedule.

3. Play Games

What? This can’t be right. Games? Yes, games! A lot of games that require strategy can keep your brain healthy. There are some great brain game apps, such as Lumosity, but there are other games you can play, like Tetris, that can exercise your brain. By focusing, matching, memorizing and strategizing, you occupy your mind by using much-needed brain training.

4. Learn Something

You should consider taking up an artistic hobby you’ve been neglecting during the semester. If you haven’t had time to paint, write, photograph, etc., now is a good time to focus on what you like. And to learn something new. Learn a new shading technique, try writing another genre, or even try baking something complicated. Allowing yourself to do what you want, but also learning about it, cannot only keep you motivated, but also happy. iTunes U provides lectures that may be useful for learning new things. Or YouTube. The Internet is ever-expanding, so there are plenty of places for you to find information about the things you enjoy.

5. Language app

Learning a language is beneficial for everyone. Studies have found being fluent in two languages can prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. And if you ever plan on traveling, it’s good to know how to communicate with the people you are with in their native tongue. There are many language learning app choices; my favorite is Duolingo. Using the language skills you already have is a good way to maintain and remember what you have learned during the semester as well, not to mention help you begin the next.

Maintaining an active brain can be fun. You don’t need to stress about how to beat the winter break brain drain when you exercise your brain. Break is meant for you to focus on yourself and explore new learning outlets. So go forth, and do something you enjoy.

 

–Rena Carman

Junior communication studies major

 

Printed in the 12/09/15 issue.

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