Try these memory-boosting tricks and remember everything you need to get done this season
Buy gifts. Decorate the house. Pick up relatives from the airport. Prepare food for family gatherings. Send out holiday cards. Odds are that this time of year, your to-do list is long and getting longer. Forgetting one thing can cause hurt feelings, chaos or ruined plans. How can you possibly keep track of everything that needs to get done?
Relax. We’ve compiled some simple tricks and tips designed to boost your memory and ensure that you don’t draw a blank when it comes to important holiday tasks.
Write it all down.
Even if you don’t plan to carry around a to-do list, write down the things you need to get done. The act of writing reinforces your memory by prompting you to store two different types of information: the name of the task and the physical act of writing the item down.
Learn some holiday tunes.
This is the year to finally learn the lyrics to your favorite holiday song. Research shows that learning a new song works both your auditory and verbal memory functions, which could benefit your memory as a whole.
When you get stressed out, your hippocampus (a part of your brain responsible for memory) actually shrinks. Give yourself more time to accomplish your long list of holiday obligations. Start shopping sooner, for example, or break up household cleaning tasks over multiple days. The less pressure you put on yourself, the more relaxed you’ll be.
Get some exercise.
Snowshoeing, walking, shoveling snow—any kind of exercise increases the flow of blood to your brain, which can help keep you sharper and prevent forgetfulness. And no, shopping until you drop does not count as cardiovascular exercise. But building a snowman and chopping firewood sure do!
Take your vitamins.
Your brain needs a variety of nutrients to function at its best. Supply them by taking a daily multivitamin containing vitamins A, C, E and B-complex and minerals like magnesium, calcium, zinc and selenium.
Catch some zzzs.
Go to bed early if you want to hit the Black Friday sales. Getting enough sleeps—even to eight hours for most people—helps you consolidate new memories. To combine this with the tip on writing, jot down the most important items you need to accomplish the next day right before hitting the sack.