The Heights list of braincare habits
Want to boost your braincare routine? Take a look at our complete list of the best braincare habits you can start now.
The trick to building a habit is to start small. That’s as true for braincare as it is for anything else. Find something that you can do every day, without fail, and watch the benefits compound, growing disproportionate to the effort you’re putting in. That’s when the magic starts to happen.
We talk a lot about habits and how they relate to braincare. But we’ve now put together a complete guide to the best braincare habits, as recommended by people at Heights.
Why do braincare habits matter?
Braincare can feel a bit of a foreign concept. But it’s just the things that we do to look after our brains. When you put it like that, it doesn’t sound so intimidating. Think about the routines you have already—maybe a skincare routine, maybe haircare, maybe fitness. Whatever it is, we all have things that we do every day, to make us feel better. And given that your brain is responsible for everything we feel, that seems like as good a place as any to begin.
Braincare isn’t something you can try once and be done with. It’s a process, an ongoing series of habits and systems that add up to help your brain—and therefore you—flourish. It’s intensely personal, and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. But we’ve got to start somewhere.
The best braincare habits
We’ve taken each pillar of braincare, and listed a few good habits to get into. That said, there are all sorts of things you can do to look after your brain, and you shouldn’t feel limited by what we’ve listed below. Neither should you feel overwhelmed—you don’t need to start doing all thirty by next week. Even just trying one of these can make a difference.
So take a look, and see what speaks to you.
Slow down—being mindful of the tastes and textures you're experiencing helps you increase the diversity of your diet.
Eat a handful of berries or nuts a day—these are both great for an energy-boosting snack on the go.
Take a minute to recognise your breath, and slow it down—our breathing patterns matter, so we need to be aware of them.
Try a daily breathing exercise—introduce something like humming bee’s breath or lion’s breath to your everyday routine.
Focus on exhaling longer than you’re inhaling—for example, breathe in for 4 secs and out for 6 secs.
Meditate for 10 minutes—we’ve got a guide on how to get started here.
Write down one thing you're grateful for—it sounds corny, but it’s excellent for your brain.
Get creative—even a doodle on a scrap of paper between tasks can get the creative juices flowing.
Drink enough water—that’s 0.5L a day for every 15kg of body weight (also an excuse to buy a pretty water bottle).
Have a glass of water when you first wake up—this will help flush out any toxins built up over the night.
Swap out a cup of tea or coffee with a big glass of water instead—add some fruit or herbs if you want to get fancy.
No coffee after lunch—there’s still 25% of that caffeine sloshing around your body 12 hours later.
Keep your room cool before heading to bed—open a window or put on a fan half an hour beforehand can improve your quality of sleep.
Avoid big meals or workouts too close to bedtime—try to keep the two hours before bed relaxed and calm.
Go for a walk—you could squeeze a couple of 15-minute strolls into your day, or if you’re struggling to find a window, schedule a walking meeting.
Try a series of stretches—you won’t believe how much better you’ll feel afterwards.
Put on your favourite playlist and dance around the kitchen for 10 minutes—living room and bedroom would also be acceptable.
Give someone a compliment—you’ll make their day, and help your brain in the process.
Forgive someone you’ve been holding a grudge against—we’ve all got people we should let off the hook.
Do something kind for someone else—like a compliment, it’ll benefit both you and them.
Learn a new fact, and write it down—by spelling it out, you’re engaging your brain, and helping your memory.
Do a puzzle—if you’ve never known how to solve a sudoku, now’s the time to learn.
Try out a new recipe—learning isn’t just about books. Food works with all five senses (plus you end up with something delicious afterwards).
Charge your phone overnight in a different room—it’ll take away the temptation to check Twitter as soon as you wake up.
Switch off all screens at least 1 hour before bed—this one’s hard, but even if you only manage 20 minutes, it’ll make a difference.
Download a screen-time tracking app—screens can be great, but it’s important to stay mindful of how we use them.
Write down three positive things about yourself—it might be embarrassing to begin with, but you’ll help build your sense of self-worth.
Make time to see a friend or loved one this week—we’re social animals, and interaction is vital for both brain health and mental health.
Listen to binaural beats—this type of sound therapy can help reduce stress and improve your mood.
That’s a lot to take in. But hopefully, there’ll have been one or two ideas that you vibe with. Because this isn’t a sprint. Start with one idea, and try to keep it up. Try to turn it into a habit. Then maybe pick another, and get the ball rolling there. Then a third, a fourth, a fifth… You get the idea.