Need to re-energize brain. How?
February 18, 2022 8:14 AM   Subscribe

I have a thinky job. My brain is currently fried. How I can rest my brain this weekend?

I've had a super hard time focusing and processing, especially this past week. Just had blood work done a few weeks ago and am physically healthy. I am taking today off and have the weekend off. Any thoughts about how I can rest my brain, get it recharged? Things I should do? Things I should not do? Thank you for thinking of solutions for me. Did I mentioned my brain is fried?
posted by Saucywench to Health & Fitness (24 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Do nothing for the weekend. Veg out. Sleep. Maybe go for a walk or something. Eat food, drink water. Do what you want to do.
posted by warble at 8:17 AM on February 18, 2022 [6 favorites]

Got a bathtub? Access to a pool? Float. Near any trails or ponds? Lie on the ground and watch the treetops sway for a little while. Bring a picnic. Eat. Lie down again.
posted by cocoagirl at 8:22 AM on February 18, 2022 [3 favorites]

Maybe try forest bathing? All you do is find some nature and stay a while.
posted by fedward at 8:24 AM on February 18, 2022 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Thinky job and fried brain here too. I am regularly AMAZED at what a screen-free weekend does for me. Combined with a lot of outdoor activity, preferably in the woods, it’s a really effective reset. Don’t listen to any podcasts either!
posted by HotToddy at 8:31 AM on February 18, 2022 [25 favorites]

All the advice here is super solid and backed by research in attention restoration theory. Get out in nature, do nothing, rest.
posted by 10ch at 8:46 AM on February 18, 2022 [12 favorites]

My recipe would be no screens, no phone calls, no errands or planning if it could be helped - walk or play outside and get as much light as you can, do yoga or stretch, sleep as much as you can. Order in food that you love, or grocery delivery if there’s something simple that it would feel good to make - but simple on the order of avocado toast or Mac-and-cheese and blanched broccoli, rather than a 3-hour soup session. For me, junk food often exacerbates stress, but YMMV. I fully support the no-podcasts, but I know that light listening can be really helpful for re-orienting my brain when it’s stressing about work - maybe take out a light pleasure-read audiobook from the library and only listen to that, or have a playlist ready if soothing music to turn on and keep stress-thoughts at bay. I hope you feel better soon!
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 8:49 AM on February 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

The thing that has the biggest impact for me is sleep: a good night's sleep leaves me feeling as if my IQ doubled overnight. Difficult to control, unfortunately.

If you haven't been getting particularly restful sleep recently, things you might try over the weekend include:

- get outside early in the day, for daylight and exercise (agreeing with everyone else here, in nature if you can manage it: listen to the birds, smell the fresh air, admire the colours);
- don't drink coffee after midday;
- don't drink alcohol at all;
- stop looking at screens when the sun goes down.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 8:50 AM on February 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

B vitamins.
posted by Brian B. at 9:40 AM on February 18, 2022

Is sex an option?
posted by brainwane at 9:56 AM on February 18, 2022 [3 favorites]

You should buy the game vampire survivors. It's $3 on steam and just a great little no-thought fun game.
posted by bbqturtle at 10:08 AM on February 18, 2022

Best answer: If you can stay away from people totally, and not speak or write words for 24 hours -- that's remarkably refreshing.
posted by amtho at 10:11 AM on February 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

I have a very thinky job also, and my brain gets fried a lot. The best solution for me are long, hard trail runs through the woods. It takes a while to build up to it, but so therapeutic for mind, body, and soul. I usually aim for an hour (longer if I have the time, which isn't often). I let the first half of it be a brain dump of sorts. I just sort of let my brain think all the thoughts it wants to and go on whatever tangents. Then my thoughts are thought out, and the next half is just me existing in the woods, running around like a deer or something. Strongly recommend!
posted by sickinthehead at 10:37 AM on February 18, 2022 [3 favorites]

No decision-making. Outsource them if you have to!
posted by danceswithlight at 11:27 AM on February 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

maybe take out a light pleasure-read audiobook from the library and only listen to that,

I would listen to the audiobook of a book I've already read and enjoyed so it won't matter if my mind drifts or if I fall asleep. Make it as stress free as possible including the stress of paying attention.
posted by Constance Mirabella at 11:47 AM on February 18, 2022

Seconding the recommendation to stay away from screens (as I stare zombily into my screen to type this). It really REALLY helps. If you are inclined to make art, sketching or painting freely in a sketchbook can be really calming. Mixing paint colors. Same with yoga or just simple stretching. I find that going for a walk and really noticing the things I’m seeing helps; no distractions, just whatever is in front of me. And try to get a really good night’s sleep; maybe even wash your bedding, light a candle, whatever makes you feel cozy and comfortable. I hope your brain feels better soon!
posted by sucre at 12:22 PM on February 18, 2022

Response by poster: Although I marked two as "best" these were ALL super helpful. I am going to do the no-screens no podcasts tomorrow. I'd like to do a full weekend, I haven't planned for it, but tomorrow is no-screen day. And we have a greenway here I'll walk and watch birds. I'd like to do the no-people or words, and that might be able to happen tomorrow too, depending on things.

Thanks mefites!
posted by Saucywench at 12:22 PM on February 18, 2022 [5 favorites]

The book Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski talk about completing the stress cycle and it's been revolutionary for my own stress management. (The whole book is worth reading and I hope they will forgive me for very roughly paraphrasing, but in essence, our modern-day constant stress doesn't have a resolution in the same way that being chased by a lion would, so even when your active stress level abates, your body doesn't recognize it.) This excerpt lists some of their suggestions for completing the stress cycle. The main way to do this is physical activity and there are six other suggestions on that page, including creative expression, crying, affection and deep breathing.

Good luck! You can definitely feel better at the end of the weekend than you do now.
posted by kate blank at 3:32 PM on February 18, 2022 [4 favorites]

After your day in nature, make some popcorn, plop down on the sofa, and watch a movie so bad its good.
posted by falsedmitri at 4:33 PM on February 18, 2022

If you feel like you want a mid-day nap, set yourself a 45-minute timer and take a nap. Even if you don't totally fall asleep, lying quietly will help you rest. If possible, avoid the internet for about an hour before napping or sleeping even on workdays.
posted by Tailkinker to-Ennien at 7:08 PM on February 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

If you’re having trouble stopping ruminating about your thinky job, may I recommend something really hard but also kind of low stakes to engross you. This is why I figure skate and go to very paced fitness classes (and not yoga) to unwind. I have also used kayaking this way but not everyone is as terrified of kayaking as me.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 7:22 PM on February 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

(And then whatever hard thing you do, make sure to leave time for a nap after)
posted by Tandem Affinity at 7:39 PM on February 18, 2022

I did a few weekends where I did not look at the clock. So, covered up all the clocks I could see (microwave, oven, kitchen timer), hid the clocks where I could on the computers, etc. (This works better if you don't have anything scheduled clearly.) I found it to be super helpful in being able to stay present, and let myself get entertained with whatever it was I got going on... without feeling like, wow, I just spent the whole morning doing X, why did I do that, ugh. It helped get me out of the "must use my time wisely" mental game.
posted by ellerhodes at 6:42 AM on February 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

For after this weekend: find a park with benches, but if possible no playground, close to your work (if you work from home, close to your home). Make it a point to stop work and go there each day - I used to take a sack lunch and eat lunch in a park near where I worked. The point is to interrupt the brain work for a while. It really helps
posted by TimHare at 7:06 PM on February 19, 2022

Response by poster: Just a final follow up to any who read this later - I did the no screens no podcast Saturday and it was great! I thought it would go so slowly but it didn't at all. I ended up just doing house chores (which I like doing), spending time in my backyard with my dog and then taking a 2 hour nap. I wanted to go to the greenway but actually ran out of time before it got dark. I was kinda sad when the next day my boyfriend was around and the screens came back on. I'll probably be trying to do this much more - at least one screen free day. Highly recommend!
posted by Saucywench at 8:58 AM on February 21, 2022 [3 favorites]

« Older Keeping the home fires burning... and also cool   |   Dealing with medical fear Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.