How to train your brain in confinement

Six tips to help train our brains


Reading and Listening Reading is not only stimulating, it is also an excellent form of escapism while sitting on the couch. If you’ve got a pile of books on your bedside table you’ve been meaning to read, now’s the time. Revisiting the classics or an old favorite is also a great way to relive all the positive thoughts and feelings it inspired when you first read it. Listening to podcasts or audio books is another great activity, especially as it keeps hands free for knitting or cleaning out your cupboards!

Try your hand (and your brain!) at crosswords and other word games, even Sudoku is a great brain workout – and often you can find them for free online, or in your local newspaper.

In the meantime, here’s an easy Sudoku to get started:

If you’re confined with friends or family members, pull out the old Scrabble board and start a tournament.


Board games, such as dominoes, checkers, chess or others, jigsaw puzzles or card games are great options when you are confined with others. If you don’t have these handy, look for online options.

Get creative! Nothing boosts our brain like creativity. Hobbies and crafts are great ways to pass the time: drawing, painting, knitting, sewing, embroidery…the list is endless. Check out what materials you may already have at home and let your imagination be your guide. If you don’t have a deck of cards, make one from cardboard scraps and illustrate it with your own drawings.

Teaching yourself to play a musical instrument, be it piano or guitar or a humble recorder, is great stimulation, and you can find countless tutorials online.



The brain is like any muscle: It needs proper nutrition and hydration if you’re giving it exercise. Here are some healthy, nutrient-rich foods that fuel your brain:

  • Green vegetables: leafy greens such as kale, spinach, collards and broccoli are rich in brain-healthy nutrients like vitamin K, lutein, folate and beta carotene.
  • Fatty fish: the best source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy unsaturated fats.
  • Berries: flavonoids are the natural plant pigments that give berries their brilliant hues.
  • Nuts: an excellent source of protein and healthy fat - walnuts in particular. If you are on a special diet for health reasons, or suffer from allergies, do check if you can consume these foods. 

Based on A Guide to Cognitive Fitness, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.

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