At some point, it happens to all of us. We feel like we’re losing our mind. Whether it’s old age, menopause, illness, traumatic brain injury, or a myriad of other factors, our cognitive functions diminish. Or downright disappear. I had the trifecta of chemo brain, Hashi brain, and menopause all making me … um… what was I saying? Oh yeah… all making me lose my mind. Literally. These are my favorite brain hacks to help keep you functioning on a daily basis.
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I was that girl who sat in the front of every class and always had my hand raised with the answer. I graduated fourth in my class. I’ve always prided myself on being super smart. And then cancer hit. And chemo. And menopause. And Hashimoto’s. Now… I feel like my mind is a bucket without a bottom. You try and fill it, but it doesn’t hold anything. Thoughts go faster than they come. I walk into rooms and just stand there. I CRS (can’t remember sh*t). Do you ever feel the same way?
The good(?) news is that all of my other health issues have pushed my cognition issues to the bottom of the list of concerns. When I started opening up to my friends in the health industry about this big secret, they shared with me that many of my memory issues can be minimized. I’ve been following their protocols and I’m seeing improvement.
But here’s the deal. It’s still a struggle, and my memory and cognition are not going to show up overnight. I’m sharing my favorite brain hacks that get me through the day. Cheating? Nope. Just a little help from my friends.
It’s Time to Take Those Meds
I’m so over those ugly plastic pill containers. Sara Gorman’s stylish Pillfolds have the top spot on my counter. How can you forget to take your meds when you have something this fabulous to hold your pills?
And if you need an extra nudge or reminder… there’s an app for that! Medisafe Pill Reminder is (according to their site) the “MUST HAVE pill reminder ranked #1 by pharmacists and physicians in independent tests”. The basic version of the app is FREE, and has the option for paid upgrades.
Speaking of Apps…
Just like everything in life, there are going to be apps that jive with your vibe, and apps that don’t. Don’t force yourself to comform to an app that doesn’t fit with your mojo. Check out a few and see what works best for you.
The first two apps MAY actually help to build neuroplasticity in the brain. Neuroplasticity is the malleability of neural circuits, otherwise known as reorganizing of your brain.
Do you remember the original Memory game? The one you played as a kid with the cards you turn over to find the match? The Memory Match app is designed for the preschool crowd. Don’t laugh. Don’t judge. This app is one of my favorite games. It’s so simple. And it has the nostalgic value of the old school game. I use the free version and the animals are my favorites.
The Luminosity app is a “comprehensive brain training program with 30+ brain games.” Used by “over 85 million people worldwide,” it has daily workouts to challenge 5 core cognitive abilities. I like Luminosity. But you actually really have to think! Which… I guess that’s the point, right?
With the Evernote app, you can organize notes and to-do lists, and Evernote automatically synchs between your phone and computer. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of Evernote, but everyone I know raves about it, and it was worth the mention because it’s so popular.
I keep a physical calendar, but I would be lost without Google Calendar. Seriously lost. In addition to keeping your schedule, you can also track to-do lists and goals.
Alexa… Where’s My Brain?
I originally purchased several Echo Dots for our home to use the speakers and music. When I found out what it could do…. GAME CHANGER.
“Alexa… what’s on my calendar today?”
“Alexa… when is my next appointment?”
“Alexa… add [event] to my calendar on [date/time].”
Imagine yourself walking into the bathroom to… well… go. You notice the empty tube of toothpaste. You make a mental note to yourself to add toothpaste to your shopping list. You finish your business… walk past the pile of clean clothes that you forgot to fold and put away. Ten minutes later, you are in the kitchen and there was this ephemeral thought… about… hummmm… oh well. Must not have been important. The next day, you are at the store, and when you are walking down the aisle, you remember that you were supposed to buy something. Eggs? No. Celery? No. Hummm…. oh well.
Has this ever happened to you?
Now, imagine this scenario. Same bathroom. Same tube of toothpaste. While you are doing your business, you speak to the Echo, “Alexa… add toothpaste to shopping list.” Alexa confirms your request. You finish up and see the clothes and carry on about your day. The next day in the store, you pull up your Alexa app and there is your list. Including toothpaste.
Here’s another one. You turn off the lights and kiss your spouse good night. After about two minutes as you are dosing off to sleep, your spouse says, “hey could you do me a favor and pick up the dry cleaning tomorrow?” You drift off to sleep. When your spouse gets home the next day, there is no dry cleaning because… your brain is a leaking bucket.
Now… you kiss and when the request happens, you quietly say to the Echo in your bedroom, “Alexa… add pick up dry cleaning to my to do list.” And it’s waiting on your to do list for you the next day. And a happy spouse has fresh clothes.
What’s awesome is that the features are constantly updated. The latest Echo upgrade even has “routines.” For example, in the morning you say, “Alexa, good morning.” And Alexa can be programmed to turn on whatever you want in your smart house. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a problem turning something on… it’s turning it off that is the kicker. Thanks Alexa!
Are you Inspired?
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Love, hugs, and planning my own surprise party.HERE.