Load up on B vitamins
When you think of the brain, think of the letter B––as in B vitamins. Many people think of B vitamins for the way they can boost energy. But in the brain, they do more than just that. This is especially true if you’re suffering from brain drain. Stress can deplete B6 and folate (also known as vitamin B9) stores. Those vitamins, along with B12 and thiamin, are essential for making brain-balancing neurotransmitters and regulating cortisol and mood. (Be sure to watch for these silent signs you’re not getting enough vitamin B12.) So for brain drained individuals, they can actually help you with 3 things: 1) they will boost your energy, 2) help you deal with stress, and 3) help you manufacture feel-good neurotransmitters… naturally!
Schedule long jogs
If you are severely brain drained, you may want to practice power yoga or long jogs. I often tell my patients, “You are the true expert of you.” In my book Heal Your Drained Brain, I describe the 4 subtypes of drained brains. If your brain is healing after trauma or you have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue, interval training may not the form of exercise I’d start with. If you’ve had a long, stressful day, I’d also say that’s a day for yoga or a long jog. Meditative movement (e.g., yoga, tai chi) can help heal your mind and body. You can even jog mindfully. As you’re jogging, bring your attention to your five senses. Can you feel the temperature of the air on your cheek? This can help reset your brain after a stressful day––or even for those who are recovering from more intense stress like losing a jog.
Move with intention
When researchers looked at different types of exercise, aerobic exercise was the best as increasing the size of the hippocampus. (This can help to undo some of the damage that years of too much sugar has done to the brain––since sugar can shrink this part of the brain.) Exercise also helps to improve sleep quality. And to all those people wearing wearable devices that track your activity, that’s great. But there’s something even better about “intentional” exercise. If you’re a new mom running up and down the stairs or a businessperson running across town from meeting to meeting, researchers found you’re not getting all the benefits of “intentional” exercise. “Intentional” exercise means you are setting aside 30 or 60 minutes aside just for you. Someone is watching your child. Your phone is off. You’re at the gym, in that yoga class, or running by that lake. These forms of exercise are more healing for the brain that just the “unintentional” moving that comes from being busy.