BrainPower with Lisa Branch: End Your Day SMARTLY

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Hey Friends!  Over the last few weeks, we have been talking about having a GREAT BRAIN DAY every day! We have discussed what it looks like to set yourself up for a successful day of thinking and responding by waking up in the morning prepped and ready to maximize your thought processes, what a great BRAIN breakfast looks like, and how to avoid pitfalls like the television or video games before heading off to school or work.  We also discussed how to wake up your brain midday by switching things around, learning something new, and getting outside if possible.  SO… how about we finish our day off with our brains being strong and continuing to efficiently learn and process information rather than just collapsing somewhere between 9:00pm and midnight?  While I know many of you are thinking, “End my day strong?  After picking the kids up from school, I’m running to feed them, get them to one of the three activities that are going on tonight, doing homework in the car, oh, and dropping off that meal for a friend who desperately needed my help… efficiently using my brain isn’t even something I have time to THINK about!!!”  LOL-I GET IT!  That’s why I’m sharing this with you!

Ending your day on a brain friendly note doesn’t have to be hard.  It has to be purposeful, planned, and prioritized.  Here are some tips to make that happen.

Tip 1-Schedule it.  I know you have tons of activities and commitments on your agenda; however, overscheduling is just as bad as not having your family involved at all.  Neither of those options are really beneficial.  You and your children need to be involved.  They need sports, team activities, dance, and church.  You need to volunteer and have a part in the community.  You also need downtime.  Statistics show that it takes most people at least 60 minutes after arriving home to “settle”.  That doesn’t read “go to sleep”! This is just the time it takes for you to transition to being home, begin to unwind and move towards relaxation.  Then you face all of the chores that come with ‘family”.  Homework, food, dishes, laundry-those are just the tip of the iceberg!  Setting aside a few evenings each week that you go home right after school or work is a must for survival! 

Tip 2- Food!  The kids, and most adults, are starving the minute they hit the door.  Plan ahead and have some healthy snacks ready while you prepare dinner and they do their homework or help around the house.  Protein is key! Add some water rather than juice so that the brain is hydrated and they don’t fill up on sugary drinks.

Tip 3-Play a game!  Board games are one of the best time investments that parents can make.  Interacting around the table while planning your next move or helping a kiddo count the spaces they are supposed to move not only helps them practice their skills, these activities excel at connecting thought patterns in the brain!  I have to count, reason out the best move, plan my strategy, and go for it!  All of these activities in the brain are bonding together to produce faster thinking in the face of questions that need solving the next day.  An additional bonus is that games often help your child to open up about their day and just talk to you in ways that they will only do in a relaxed and fun environment where they aren’t having to ‘concentrate” on the problem, but where there is freedom to just say what is on their minds. 

Tip 4- Turn off the Screen!  Studies now show up that we should eliminate screen time at least one hour before bed.  The enormous amount of stimulation that is being delivered to the brain through the pixelated screen needs time to reduce its effects on the brain-especially for young children and those with ADHD.  If television or video games are a must for your family, let them happen as early in the evening as possible.  Have a designated time that they are turned off and done for the evening.  Bath time, snack, and brushing teeth can consume the last minutes before tucking them in with a bedtime story.    

Tip 5-Last but not least, if you or your child struggle to fall asleep, remember to address all of the senses possible.  Is the room cool enough, sheets or blanket comfy enough?  Try spraying a lavender scent on the pillow or in the room. (Hit me up if you have monsters that linger in your kids’ rooms-I have a trick for that one!) Add a white noise machine that can be adjusted to play through the night. 

Boosting your Brain before Bed?  Yes!  It’s an all-day thing!  Just like breathing, eating, and drinking water.  Being mindful of the way you are helping your body and your brain to function properly helps you win today, tomorrow, and every day to come!

Lisa Branch, LearningRx and author of BrainPower

Lisa Branch, the Director of the LearningRx Huntsville Brain Training Center, extends a welcoming hand to those grappling with learning difficulties. Whether it’s an individual or a loved one facing challenges, the center is eager to provide assistance. Learning struggles often lead to a multitude of questions for both individuals and families, and the team at LearningRx Huntsville is fully prepared to offer solutions and answers. Learn more about LearningRx at