10 ways to recharge your mind

04 January 2024

Like your body, your mind needs to be recharged regularly to stay on form.

By freeing your mind from tension and giving it the opportunity to relax and unwind, you are both supporting your cognitive function and helping to regulate your emotional state.

How best to achieve this will depend on your lifestyle and personal preferences.

But whatever you like to do to relax, you should find some inspiration from these 10 easy ways to recharge your mind.

Recharge your mind

1. Get enough sleep

Both our bodies and our minds need sufficient sleep to work effectively. That's why sleep deprivation is often linked to burnouts and poor health.

But how much sleep is enough? For adults in generally good health, doctors recommend getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night.1

It's not always easy to do, especially if you suffer with insomnia - but the benefits are tangible.

One way to increase your chances of getting a good night's sleep is by trying to go to bed and get up at a similar time every day.

2. Exercise

While late-night exercise is not always conducive to falling asleep, exercise in general is extremely beneficial for your mental state, as well as your physical health.

It makes you happier, due to the release of hormones such as endorphins, and has even been shown to improve your overall brain function and ability to process and retain information.2

You don't necessarily need to work up a sweat to feel the impact of exercise on your mind, though. A short yoga session or walk in nature can be enough to feel refreshed.

Know your numbers

The NHS recommends doing 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity) every week.3

3. Relax and reset

In this age of television, social media, and online meetings, our brains are often bombarded with information and images from morning to night.

And while having these resources at our fingertips is great, being on all the time is exhausting after a while.

To keep your brain functioning properly, it's therefore important to give yourself time to zone out and reboot away from the many screens in our lives.

If sitting and thinking is not your style, a quiet activity such as colouring or doing a jigsaw can help to pass the time.

4. Make a change

"A change is as good as a rest," the saying goes. And this is just as true for your mind as it is for your body.

So why not treat your brain to a new challenge?

From learning a language to taking up a musical instrument or simply trying a new recipe, doing something different will recharge your mind and refresh your spirit.

Did you know?

Learning new skills also helps to forge new neural pathways that should help you to fight conditions such as dementia in later life.4

5. Write a diary

Keeping a diary allows you to externalise your thoughts and feelings without causing tension in your family and friendship groups.

As such, it's a big help when you’re feeling stressed or anxious.

If you are unsure how to tackle a particular problem, simply writing about it can also help you to work out the best way to solve it.

What's more, keeping a diary can be done at any time and should only take a few minutes a day, making this an easy adjustment even if you have a busy schedule.

6. Get creative

Let your creative juices flow and put your time to better use by making something rather than staring at your phone.

Painting, drawing, writing a story or a song. There are lots of way to express yourself through art and it's a great way to free your mind and escape the stresses of everyday life for a while.

If you have younger children, arts and crafts are also a fun and rewarding activity you can do together.

7. Let it go

Forgiving and forgetting is not always easy. But holding a grudge is more likely to damage your mental health than that of the other person or people concerned.

Anger, hatred, and sadness are heavy emotional burdens to carry around.

By letting go of these feelings and emotions, you ease the pressure on your mind and should start to feel stronger, happier, and more motivated.

The same is true of accepting past mistakes and focusing on your accomplishments and goals for the future instead of what's gone wrong.

Fact or fiction: Holding a grudge is bad for your health?

Fact: unresolved resentment can cause depression and may even lead to physical health problems such as high blood pressure.5

8. Be kind to yourself

When you're juggling work, family, and social commitments, it can be easy to forget to make time for yourself.

So, try to get into the habit of regularly setting aside a bit of time for some self care. What this looks like will depend on what you're like as a person.

While a hot, fragrant bath or a massage are one person's idea of heaven, a solitary run in the park could just as easily be the key to mental quietude.

The important thing is that it's something you enjoy.

9. Prioritise positive relationships

While seeing some relatives and friends leaves you feeling joyful and rejuvenated, spending time with others can have the opposite effect.

This doesn't mean you should ditch loved ones who are having a tough time and need support; in fact, helping those in need can give your mental health a major boost.

But it does mean limiting the time you spend with the people who bring you down.

If the way you're being treated by a loved one is causing you pain, expressing your feelings - and hopefully finding a new way to move forward - can also be a weight off your mind.

10. Seek professional help

If you continue feeling tired and worn out even after taking steps to improve your sleeping and eating patterns, the fatigue you are experiencing could be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

Rather than struggling on regardless, you should therefore make an appointment to discuss your symptoms with your GP who can prescribe further tests or sessions with a specialist.

Did you know?

Fatigue can be a sign of numerous medical conditions, including anaemia, diabetes, and the menopause.6