Brain candy

Chief Human Resources Officer

Georgette Verdin | Chief Human Resources Officer

I’ve been thinking a lot about issues governing our working lives. There’s been a lot of reason to be contemplative this way. Our lives have been upended – how we work, engage, and spend time. To get a perspective, I stepped back and began reading and listening to a lot of experts and colleagues who are also wondering: what changes in our working lives has this pandemic forced and, what next.

We are all dedicated and working hard, and sometimes taking in something beyond our diurnal work is just the thing to stimulate the brain and provide a fresh perspective. I’m going to call this brain candy.

If you, too, are curious about these issues, what some experts are talking about, and in need of a think-piece just to change things up a bit, I’ll be sharing some brain candy gleaned from various sources over the coming weeks and months. They’ll be ideas, issues and topics that we as a community should be thinking about and talking about. If they are stimulating to you, please bring your thoughts to your team, to our “Let’s Connect” meetings, to your Random Coffee 1:1’s. We’d all love to hear your ideas.

I caught Terry Gross’ awesome interview with Sanjay Gupta. The first part talks about the brain, why it’s so critical to keep it challenged and sharp for long-term brain health, and how to do so.  It resonated with me, especially now. I thought of all of us as we continue to work from relatively the same places and in the same patterns. Not new info, but it has an implication to brain health.

Things that stood out for me:

  • Stress is not the enemy, but we need breaks, ebbs and flows, from stress
  • Find new patterns and routines (put on your tie in the dark)
  • Multi-tasking diverts attention that you may not even notice
  • Build new pathways throughout your brain: parts of our brain can improve if we continue to use it as we age
  • A healthy brain is really about happiness, how much joy you have
  • Sleep, diet and exercise are great for the brain. You not only have to sleep well to encode things in memory, but you have to sleep well to forget well. There is a rinse cycle when we sleep that allow us to remove waste from metabolic processes. Ideal is 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
  • Crossword puzzles and brain training exercises are helpful to keep the roads you already use strong; some brain games can increase your processing speed but to build cognitive reserve, you need to do different things instead of doing the same things better and better. Do things outside your comfort zone; the payoff will be better.

OK, I’m switching my toothbrush hand now!