“I don’t work after 7 pm.  I don’t! No checking emails. No writing. I’m tired. Fatigued. My brain needs a rest. And guess what? Since I have adopted this routine, my business has tripled!” So said Wendy Swires, a presenter at a recent leadership conference.

The audience, and I was one of them, gasped at that statement! How could anyone stop work at 7 pm? Isn’t the routine to go home, have dinner, and then go back to your computer? How does she do it?

Wendy’s answer, “I take excellent care of my brain.” 

Wendy gets 8 to 10 hours of sleep at night. She drinks water regularly (it flushes out cortisol, the stress hormone); she exercises daily, even if it’s a short walk; she never listens to late night news before going to bed; and during the day she takes (what I call) regular “brain breaks.” She day dreams; she pauses to look out the window; she gets up from her computer; she visualizes her next exciting vacation (even if it’s just a fantasy); and, if she’s hosting a meeting, she sprays the room with lavender scent to help set a positive mood. Yes, lavender.  According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “a number of studies have reported that lavender essential oil may be beneficial in a variety of conditions, including anxiety, stress, insomnia, alopecia (hair loss), and postoperative pain.


The results?


Wendy is one focused individual. When she works, she is totally present. She is aware of when her mind begins to wander and she knows how to get it back on track. To say that her working hours are productive would be an understatement.  She is uber-productive.  She doesn’t need to work after 7 pm. She has sufficient mental energy and focus to manage her work flow and complete everything that needs to be done before evening.  (Of course, as several people noted, it probably does not hurt that she is her own boss.)   

Wendy is addicted to promoting good brain health. She says that she will never, ever revert to taking her brain for granted. It has become a way of life for her. Why not? Look at how she functions!

Taking care of this amazing 3 pound mass that we house in our heads should be at the top of our “to do” lists. 


Did you know that: 

·      Our brains are comprised of 73% water? It takes only 2% dehydration to affect cognitive skills like memory and attention. 

·      Our brains are faster than Formula 1 race cars? Brain information moves at 206 miles per hour!

·      Our brains need starchy vegetables? Why? Brain cells can’t store energy.  They require a steady stream of glucose. Winter squash, potatoes, carrots, beets, and yam can provide the brain with a steady supply of glucose.

One more interesting fact when thinking about how to cultivate good brain health.  If you are looking for a reason to moderate your intake of alcohol, consider this:  according to Dr. Aaron M.  White, of the Duke University Medical Center, our brains can’t form memories while drunk.  Now that is a sobering thought!

Actually, what is truly sobering is that neuroscientists are just now beginning to understand the full power of the brain; they readily admit that no one knows for sure what its true capacity is.  Of this, however, they are certain---it is critical that we give the same care and attention to our brains as to any other part of our bodies. It just makes good sense!