Sitting in the car on the long drive away from the city I grew up in, my mind started to wander. I had just finished high school and felt so lost. My first-ever long-term goal has been completed. However, I was afraid of what came after. I knew that as soon as I stopped learning, I would blink and wake up 40 years into the future. This was my reason for taking my intellectual self-care into my own hands.
Intellectual self-care is taking care of your sense of curiosity and desire to learn. It’s a key way to keep your brain active.
How to Start with Intellectual Wellness
Like with all parts of Self development, start out small.
The first step I ever took was to start carrying around a small journal and a pencil. In my journal, I had one side of the page dedicated to my creativity and the other to random questions and my to-do list.
My creative page was filled with my doodles for the day. It was fun and kept my anxiety in check. Additionally, I got to develop and improve my drawing skills.
Conversely, my questions were random and covered all aspects of life and the universe. Questions from “How does memory work?” and “What is the history of bicycles?” to more boring questions, like “How do I groom a beard?”.
The actual question is less important than asking it. I’d go so far as to say that constantly asking questions is how I got to where I am.
My To-do list was filled with different ways and ideas to find the answers to the questions. Just Google-ing the answer is a very boring way. But, if you go and find a professional in that field, you are more likely to remember the answer.
How I Progressed
This last habit built the foundation for all the other forms of self-care and gave me a massive shift in my mindset.
As I built up this habit and learned more about physical and mental health. Just by answering my own questions, I started learning how to level up. So, I put my newfound knowledge into practice.
I do exercise to level up my physical health. My healthy mind was maintained through meditation and reading (a lot of reading). This also helped increase my focus.
However, my curiosity only increased. It became a burning desire to learn more. My intellectual wellness became a top 5 priority in my life.
The more I learned and improved my intellectual wellness, the more I became free from my anxiety. This really helped me deal with imposter syndrome at work.
I started learning a new language to challenge myself. This way, I could speak to more professionals and get a very different perspective from my own.
There is something about the ideas and perspectives from other cultures that I found profoundly challenging. They seem to think in a completely different way.
The Impact of Intellectual Neglect
Now, I am still human, and I drop the ball when everything is going well. Here are some examples of what happened to me.
When I stop learning, and my curiosity dips, I find that I fall into a downward spiral of self-care neglect. The first to go is always my physical health. I stopped exercising, grooming, and showering on weekends (gross, I know.)
With the neglect of physical health, my mind always follows. I get anxious about everything from interacting with people to just going to the library. Additionally, my stress levels go through the roof!
This is my personal flaw. But remember that picking yourself up and pushing yourself to get back to your best condition is a high-value skill.
It is not easy, but taking care of your intellectual wellness is a good start.
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