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Staying sharp academically without sudoku.

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DoItTooJulia Mon 02-Feb-15 21:27:54

I'm 35. Im busy, with demanding career, kids yada yada, and I just feel a bit, well, I don't know, is it bored? sluggish of brain? Out of the loop?

Basically, I miss having interesting stuff to learn about/get into.

Part of my problem is a reading drought, I'm just not reading for fun like I used to and I miss it, but I do read some journals like New Scientist and the New Humanist. I do get the odd London Review of Books, but tbh, I've found it a bit impenetrable at times. I'm not hugely cultured (theatre is a huge turnoff for me). I read the news, I'm interested in politics, but still this feeling of brain lethargy persists.

What do you do to stave this off? What can I try?

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Wed 04-Feb-15 22:10:00

Come and join us on the Fifty Books thread, Julia. grin

Listen to some Ted Talks podcasts, maybe? Some of them are good.

JohnFarleysRuskin Thu 05-Feb-15 13:44:34

Book club.

Mumsnet feminist chat.

Learning piano.

givemushypeasachance Thu 05-Feb-15 14:06:55

Definitely second Radio 4 - there are always documentaries about all sorts of fascinating and obscure subjects, and science discussion type programmes (Infinite Monkey Cage, Inside Science, etc), amongst the current affairs/news, afternoon plays and seemingly constant re-runs of The Archers. Just take a look here for some examples of what's available on iPlayer: www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/programmes/genres/factual/scienceandnature/player

Full-on Open University courses are expensive these days, but they do lots of shorter free courses and have "taster" segments on their website: www.open.edu/openlearn/free-courses

MollyMaDurga Thu 05-Feb-15 14:41:46

If you like philosophy there's some fabulous podcasts.. Like the History of Philosophy without any Gaps.. It does as it says, taking it up from far in the past with the classics and then onwards. Very good.
Bit more loosely styled and American is the Partially Examined Life. Also very good, most of them about 1.5 to 2 hours on a specific subject or person. In depth, funny at times, very good too.
Philosophy Bites is pretty good too, though I prefer the PEL podcasts... Nigel Warburton however can read me the back of the oatcake packet and I am fascinated..
In Our Time is fabulous for a whole range of things and pretty bite sized. Love Melvyn Bragg, he is great. Almost always has a woman on without being told to by the BBC because it's been like that forever?

Shetland Thu 05-Feb-15 15:01:00

Stack The Countries - someone recommended this on here so I got the app and I love - so thank you, whoever you were smile

cherrylola Thu 05-Feb-15 15:15:18

Fab thread, following with interest and seeking inspiration. I'm thinking this is the year I need to make some changes and dare I say I put down the iPhone once in a while!

I'd suggest signing up to local museum/gallery mailing lists so you get invitations to private view evenings and get kept up to date with events. Try and go to something once a month perhaps?

Whoishillgirl Thu 05-Feb-15 15:28:12

Start your own book club if you don't like the one you went to, make it a non fiction one if you like. Start a discussion group.
Radio 4 is brilliant. I don't know where this idea that domesticity is dull came from! Not with radio 4 on it ain't!

clangermum Thu 05-Feb-15 15:41:10

I agree Whoishillgirl even the dullest job is ok if listening to something interesting. I've just discovered I can search my kindle purchases to see which can have the audible upgrade. So I can switch between listening and reading. Some are expensive but someone on here recommended Susan Hill's Simon Serallier series and the first one was £2.99 to upgrade. Plus I just listened to Bring up the Bodies, free from the library via my tablet. And then there are podcasts - loved Serial.

GentlyBenevolent Thu 05-Feb-15 15:53:26

Cryptic crosswords.

tumbletumble Thu 05-Feb-15 15:53:59

For me, it's reading. I was going to come on and recommend the 50-book thread, but I see Remus got there first! Lots of great recommendations for different kinds of books. My job is intellectually stimulating too.

dotty2 Thu 05-Feb-15 15:57:04

I felt like you and did a PhD, which may be a rather extreme solution. (And now it's over, I miss it - it's left the mental equivalent of the feeling I get when I haven't run for a few days). But I second or third the Futurelearn suggestion. I recently did the one on cognitive poetics, which was only 2 weeks. Didn't quite finish it, but really loved the bits I did.

I want a brainy book club too, and am toying with starting one, but can't quite think how to advertise it/recruit to it - anyone have any suggestions?

fuzzpig Thu 05-Feb-15 16:04:33

Duolingo is good for languages.

I also got a hiragana workbook because I'm going to try and learn Japanese script.

lavendersun Thu 05-Feb-15 16:57:40

I seem to be a cliche - felt exactly like this last year and did this:

Turn off my laptop when not working as much as possible.

Started having lessons on two instruments after a break of almost 30 years!

Have a chess set on the coffee table. My 8 year old is now so good she makes us think.

Re-read a classic book every month.

Exercise too - I make sure I do something every day and have recently built up to 50 mins as a minimum daily - somedays it is just a brisk walk with the dog but anything goes.

Petallic Thu 05-Feb-15 17:08:22

dotty2 try Meetup.com it sounds like it's a dating site but it isn't. There's all sorts of interesting groups nationwide listed on the website and if there isn't a brainy book group already in your area it would be a good place to advertise.

TwoLittleTerrors Thu 05-Feb-15 17:11:06

I see it's already been suggested . But I read an article about working the brain in your middle ages. Learning languages and musical instruments are some of the best thing to do because they are hard! Basically things that stretches you like you are at university. That means just reading, going to the museum, watching the news etc is not enough to stop brain rot.

AlisonBakersdaughter Thu 05-Feb-15 17:31:54

Learn to dance - good for the body and the brain.

MirandaGoshawk Thu 05-Feb-15 18:12:12

That Meetup site looks really interesting.

It;s important to find stimulating people and nurture that friendship. I've just found a kindred spirit at my dance class & we've arranged to meet up, so two birds with one stone!

Nervo Thu 05-Feb-15 18:23:47

The World Service has some good documentaries too. I listen every morning and it helps to open my eyes to what is actually going on in the world. No London slant.

If I knew I would make time to read it I'd subscribe to The Economist. Any time I pick up a copy, I read it cover to cover.

I have recently got involved with a women's political group. Grass roots type thing but man, it invigorated me listening to intelligent women say their stuff. I'll engage with them more in the run up to the election.

DoItTooJulia Thu 05-Feb-15 18:47:23

Some fabulous ideas, thank you all smile

Hey Remus nervous of the 50 books thread- I can't bloody read one! blush

And this thread is in Discussions of the Day.....I've never had one before!

dotty2 Thu 05-Feb-15 19:03:14

Thanks petallic - I had looked before at Meetup before but I live in a small market town and the nearest events were in cities 20 miles away. But I hadn't thought of using it myself. Maybe there are loads of women sitting here thinking 'if only there was something in my town'!

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Thu 05-Feb-15 19:05:38

No need to be nervous - it's not a competition! It might give you some ideas for books you might fancy, though.

And congratulations on your new MN fame. smile

fredfredsausagehead1 Thu 05-Feb-15 19:23:12

I'm another one for radio and reading! Always listen to the why factor on bbc world service and also doing the 50 book challenge:-)

Blueskies80 Thu 05-Feb-15 19:56:41

Great thread! I watch the bbc parliament to keep up to speed on political developments. Yes to radio 4. Playing in an orchestra again has been great brain workout. Need to crack reading more too, books thread sounds interesting. I try to take the dcs to museums where I can and read and explain the exhibits to them. Also have a large child's illustrated encyclopaedia (from my childhood) which we turn to a lot and I learn (stuff I knew years ago but have forgotten) a lot from that whilst explaining to them. Love the history dates idea and and also have had a slight aspiration for a PhD, would be interested to explore that too! Learning a new craft, e.g. Sewing knitting or making something e.g. Bread is also really invigorating!

RosyAuroch Thu 05-Feb-15 20:10:13

Read upside down.

piggychops Thu 05-Feb-15 20:15:08

MIT lots of free lectures online
ocw.mit.edu/index.htm

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