I mentioned in my first blog about my sticky note obsession, and where it came from. Although I have incorporated my journals (a birthday gift from my friend Amanda!) for writing, I still use a lot of sticky notes. At work (the day job), I sat at my computer and counted the sticky notes within view. 16 sticky notes in yellow and pink, in three different sizes. And I need every one of those notes! I am a little upset about the range of colors I have though. I think I may need to branch out a bit.
These little notes are, for me, little chunks of memory. They help me remember those tiny details I would otherwise forget. I don't write down inconsequential things, either. These are vital notes that I need to remember for days, weeks, or months. That is the nature of the "work" notes, though. My "book" notes, I have mostly converted to my writing journal or small writing pad. Those notes are even more vital to me, and I really shouldn't risk losing them on a sticky note.
Right after my horse accident, I realized how injured I truly was when I struggled with the basic level Sudoku, when I usually worked the Super Expert level. You know the one. It has two pages for you to work with and is usually at the back of the book. It was quite the hit to the ego when I had to flip backward through the Sudoku book to get to ones I could handle. The doctor had ordered me to work my brain, so that's what I did. Sudoku was a great brain exercise! It took a few months, but I was able to work my way back up to my high levels and stay there.
Of course, Sudoku isn't really about memory, but about problem solving. The brain is a strange thing, though. It needs to be exercised in various ways, just like every other muscle. If you only ever exercised your arm by doing arm curls, you may have great biceps, but the rest of your muscles would look small and strange in configuration. The brain needs the same variety.
To help, I have tried a few things over the years. First, I take Fish Oil pills, when I remember. It may sound childish, but I take the gummies. They don't make you burp annoying fish taste, and the taste is decent. I also started playing Lumosity. I must say, I think it is well worth it!
The full version has a variety of games to help with memory recall, spacial recall, problem solving, attention and so much more. I have a hard time remembering names, and there is a great game devoted just to that! More than just helping with memory, this helps you become aware of areas you may struggle with. And honestly, if you're going to exercise, you might as well make it fun!
So, whether you do Lumosity, Sudoku, Logic Puzzles or Crossword puzzles, it's all worth it. Don't let anyone criticize you for "playing a game", when you're really just exercising! And let's face it, exercise of the mind and body are both vital to longevity.
People who have seen my piles of sticky notes may know I have a slight obsession. I wasn't always like this, and I am truly trying to contain the cute little post it notes. I used to use them casually, like most people do. Then came The Accident...
That day began with a simple trip to a friend's house to ride horses. Add in a cougar spooking the horses, and you can imagine how it all went down. Running horses, slipping saddle, and two very injured riders.
My memory of the events is hazy. I remember the horse running at full speed, the saddle sliding sideways... then nothing. I woke some time later lying on the ground, bleeding from a head wound. I was sore and ached all over, but it didn't truly hurt. Adrenaline is an amazing thing.
After stumbling toward my friend, and hearing that help was on its way, I promptly stopped walking and slumped to the ground to wait for the ambulance. Again, things get patchy in my memory here. I remember the medic saying he'd have to cut my shirt off, and me agreeing. The shirt was already ruined anyway. Then, in a moment of panic, I remembered! "Wait, don't cut my bra! It's new!" Yes, I said those words to the medic. I can't remember much of his reaction, except a chuckle and his assurance he wouldn't cut it.
At the hospital I got stitched up, stayed a night, then went home to recover. The injury to my head was the worst part, and the blood had matted my hair so badly my husband had to cut chunks of my hair out. That was a sad day.
I went back to work about a week later, and quickly realized I had more injuries than just the physical ones. Physically I had constant headaches, lungs so bruised it hurt to sneeze, laugh or cough, and the cuts and scrapes of course. The real damage was to my memory- particularly my short-term memory. I would work for the first part of the day on auto-pilot, then go to lunch and come back staring at my desk, wondering what it was I was supposed to be doing.
That's when I brought out the sticky notes. Each day before lunch, I jotted down the things I needed to do after lunch. After about a year the headaches finally went away and my memory returned to almost normal. But those sticky notes remained. They had become a lifeline, and a reminder. Those notes had gotten me through some of my roughest days. So, now I keep a stash of sticky notes for when a book idea hits me, or any other random thought. I'm slowly transferring to a journal, because let's face it, sticky notes can get lost easily. But those assorted little notes in their vibrant colors and shapes will always be with me.