Things to do When Thinking Hurts Your Brain

I have been busy, so very very busy, this week. And several months leading up to this week. Taking care of this, that, the other, and way too many things I never, ever wanted to have to do for someone else. I think we’ve finally gotten things to the point where if Murphy goes sideways tomorrow, we’re more-or-less covered. And the repair guy’ll be back with the parts to fix the fridge on Tuesday.

…My brain hurts. *Flop*

So. What are some of the best things for TLC to a worn-out mind? Especially if you are not exactly rolling in enough cash to say screw it all, I’m heading to Bermuda.

Here’s a few things I came up with.

Chocolate. Cocoa, extra dark, brownies, you name it; however you like your theobromine delivered. Besides being tasty, there is a small but significant amount of several minerals in it. Calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, zinc – all of these are nutrients you will use up under stress. It’s worthwhile eating foods to replace them. Plus, hot cocoa is just soothing, especially if you’re stressed enough to be on the edge of sore throat.

Fluff. Fluuuuuuffy manga, books, or fic. AO3 has a tag for that. I tend to gravitate toward various fantasy light novels and/or manga, maybe a cozy mystery or two. It’s even better if there’s slice-of-life stuff involved. Charlotte MacLeod’s Peter Shandy mysteries are particularly good at taking you out of the everyday without straying too far from a “realistic” setting. Some recent manga that fill the bill are Accomplishments of the Duke’s Daughter, Dungeon Builder, An Archdemon’s Dilemma: How to Love Your Elf Bride, My Room is a Dungeon Rest Stop, and Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody. Anime include Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody, Welcome to Demon School Iruma-kun, and Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs.

Monster encyclopedias and/or monster manuals. *Ahem* I admit this may just be me. But reading entries – especially ones with pretty pics – of various fictional/folkloric monsters lets the brain weasels grab onto “how might I use that in a story?” and maybe stop bothering me so much worrying about things I can’t fix.

The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons by Matthew Meyer is one of these. Yes, the paperback version is pricey. It’s also easy on the hands and absolutely lovely, and you can keep it on the bedstand to look through when you have a Catapult Nightmare, without worrying about dropping finicky electronics. I also have the second book. And there’s now a third one out, ooo….

Movies. Light stuff, or lots of action and not so much thinky. Definitely not Message-films. Ones I’ve gone through in the past few weeks include Spaceballs the movie! The Meg, and The Hitman’s Bodyguard.

Beading, or any other craft where you can do it mostly by muscle memory and eye. Works best with a repeated pattern; the diamonds pattern of earrings is easy to knock out when my brain hurts, the waves take more concentration.

So. Those are a few things that work for me. What’s your favorite brain-soother?

8 thoughts on “Things to do When Thinking Hurts Your Brain

  1. Knitting or crochet. If I want to distract myself and still have a tiny bit of brain that won’t stop, needle tatting (aka lace making. That one doesn’t happen often.) I’ve been thinking of branching out into learning how to work a drop spindle, mostly for fun and the desire to know how. Cling to the one (1) tumblr I’ve found that I would designate a safe space. (Person does not do politics, avoids anything with an ‘m’, and has great headcanon posts for AUs in fandoms I’m only tangentially in. Heaven, it’s an oasis in a desert of spite and scorn.) Cling to your posts/books. Sometimes practise with my fountain pens, mostly to try and improve my handwriting.

    Thought about taking up calligraphy, but I don’t want to invest in the slant tip pens, my fountains are good enough. Listen to a favorite audible book, one I’ve read and listened to before. (While doing something with my hands. I am incapable of just sitting and listening without being bored or feeling like I’m not doing anything.)

    Used to do latch hook rugs and use ribbon and plastic beads to make geckos and alligators. Think I even remember how to do that, maybe wait a few years and teach my niblings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read that in Peru, it is traditional for women and girls to take their spindles everywhere. Because of this, they wind up spinning more per week than if they used wheels. I have found a book on Amazon, Secrets of Spinning, Weaving, and Knitting in the Peruvian Highlands.

      Also, you might be interested in nalbinding. If I’m reading Loopholes correctly, you should be able to imitate not only twisted stockinette, but slip stitch crochet with an eyed needle.


  2. I latch unto food, especially restaurants. I like being alone during these outings where I don’t think much and just indulge myself in the tastiest food I can find. The “being served” part is a bonus since my job is usually serving others, so it’s a definite change of pace. Lots and Lots of reading too, or being read to. Oddly enough my recent escape from reality has been horror (more specifically “The Magnus Archives” because the format is short enough, like an anime episode and I can listen to it in the bath or during my 20mn pause at work). Kitten videos. Yeah. Lots of that. And my cat is super clingy, which suits me just fine when I need to empty my brain and my dose of fluff. Generally all of these work for me, restaurants being the more instantly efficient in case of crisis.

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  3. Video games generally, but specifically, putting in one of the recent Zelda games and just riding around Hyrule – horse, wolf, or boat, there’s just something soothing about traveling at speed and enjoying the scenery. Or, alternately, putting in Hyrule Warriors and slicing and dicing my way across the field.

    Shows about building or making – people doing things competently and with skill – are also nice.
    If they’re taking out the kitchen cabinets with sledgehammers and playing up the human drama, it does not count as either of those.

    Fluffy manga? Skip Beat. Fluffy anime? Cells at Work, lately. Though I do wish that there were more than the 12 episodes on Netflix.

    Exercise. I do have to go the gym for the full benefit, but half an hour on the bike, and another three-quarters doing physical therapy exercises to loosen up my back and shoulders is marvelously refreshing. This does pre-suppose that the mental exhaustion hasn’t been accompanied by physical exertion.

    Sleep. The longer the better.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like Disgaea or similar. A good book or fanfiction is also good, and just browsng Sufficent Velocity often helps. A good happy dog to pet is good, but Ymmv.

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  5. Music is a big one for me. What kind of music, like country or classic rock, depends on my mood. When I’m feeling really fried and can’t stand dealing with reminders of people, either instrumentals or things like ocean waves are best. If I’m feeling restless, Facebook has a couple of games that basically amount to fill in colors to make pretty pictures.

    I usually can’t concentrate well enough to settle into a book if my brain feels fried, and trying has made me wall more than a few otherwise interesting books.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My brain freaks out without stimulation. Even when I’m tired an trying really hard to sleeeeeeeep. I’ve found that sometimes noise helps. MyNoise is my preferred noise generator, as it has zillions of options, each with sliders for the elements, so if some element bugs me, I can turn it down or mute it.

    I also like re-reading fanfic that I’ve already read and enjoyed, but that can backfire and oops, how has it been 7 hours, I REALLY NEED THE BATHROOM AND I’M STARVING AND SUPER THIRSTY.

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