This is the self-care your brain needs

Uncategorized Jan 30, 2024

It’s still January! There have been a lot of Tuesdays thus far... 5 in fact. What abundance!

Toward the end of the month, I always start looking forward to the next one because I love novelty and newness. If you’re the same way, February is just around the corner.

Speaking of novelty, did you know your brain thrives on it? To keep a healthy, functioning noggin, it’s important to purposefully build novelty into your life. When you do the same old, same old, your brain can easily fall into a rut and then your energy plummets as does your motivation. 

To stay energized, fresh and feeling fully alive, turn to novelty. It’s an amazing self-care practice. 

Here’s a little story for you about novelty

Last weekend, Paul, Zoe and I found ourselves with a free evening (which was a novelty in and of itself). We asked each other, “What do you want to do?” 

To avoid the ol’ “I don’t know... what do you want to do?” scenario, I jokingly said, “There are lots of choices… we could watch a movie upstairs in our bedroom, we could watch a movie on the main level by the fireplace, or we could watch a movie in the basement on the big screen.”

Paul and Zoe laughed and seemed satisfied with one of those options, but it felt like a bit of a rut to me and so I said, “Actually, let’s brainstorm. Let’s do something different.”

We had so much fun coming up with ideas (well… I came up with lots of ideas and Paul and Zoe laughed at them, which was fun in its own way). The parameter was that we had no car (due to the flat tire I spoke about last week and the lack of tire-changing places open on the weekend) so it had to be somewhere we could walk. 

The Brainstorming Part

Here were some of the possibilities I came up with:

>pretend that we are wine snobs and go to the local French wine bar (wearing wigs and/or berets, just for kicks)

>pretend that we are sports fans and go to a sports pub to watch whatever sport is on and be vocal and boisterous about the game

>go for a nature walk (vetoed right away because it was -8000°C)

>go get ice cream sundays (even though it was -8000°C and we’re avoiding dairy, this option was somehow more appealing than the previous idea)

>go to the grocery store and find ingredients to make something delicious

>go to the little hacienda speakeasy and order a charcuterie board (even though we don’t generally eat meat or cheese)

>go to the local burger joint and play arcade games

>go for sushi (even though we already ate dinner)

>go to the library (because nothing says we are cool like going to the library on a Saturday night)

>go to the local fire station and ask for a tour (maybe with costumes on - just because)

>walk to the closest movie theatre (a 1 hour and 15 minute trek)

>stay in and do black nail polish manicures

As you can see, the key to brainstorming for novelty is to not censor any ideas. Just let the ideas flow until you have a list where at least something interests you. Zoe (my 18-year-old) thought I was increasingly crazy (I’m used to that), but we were both quite entertained. Even just the idea-generation was fun.

Although it was very tempting to stay home and watch a movie, I wanted to do something interesting because I value being interesting as a person and… novelty. 

From our extensive list, we ended up choosing two options. Any guesses?

When I told my extended family what we did, they were shocked because it was so out of character. 

The Taking Action Part

First, we went to the burger joint, ordered yam fries and played retro arcade games. Newsflash: I am terrible at Frogger. I mean, I really couldn’t get any worse. The situation with Ms Pacman didn’t get any better. And then there was Lethal Weapon 3 pinball. I don’t know if you’ve ever played pinball with Mel Gibson boring his baby blues into your soul, but I have to say that it was pretty enlivening. 

After we decided that we didn’t want to waste any more coins on futility ($2/round of pinball! The prices were not retro!), we headed across the street to the pizza joint/sports bar and pulled up in front of one of the many screens. 

It turned out that:

a) there wasn’t a single thing there I would eat or drink - they didn’t even serve tea! 

b) there was a hockey game on and it was a classic rivalry between the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers

c) we were the only people in there

d) it was great fun yelling at the screen pretending to like hockey

My favourite part of that experience was when we asked the server about the featured dessert. He said, “Don’t get it! It’s awful. I highly don’t recommend it.”

Super curious about how a dessert could be so bad, we asked what it was. 

It did indeed sound most unappealing. It was some sort of cinnamon bun fashioned into a pizza, drizzled with many sugary sauces and then topped with icing. We took the advice and didn’t get it. Our teeth and immune systems thanked us.

The hockey game was fun enough, though, and we stayed for the first period. Then the restaurant closed so we made our way home, all energized and fulfilled by our novel adventure, with very happy brains. 

What do you think? Could you use a little novelty in your life?

What could you do that’s out of the ordinary? Feel free to use my list or make your own 🙂

Novelty pro tip: wigs and costumes make almost anything novel. 

Your brain will thank you when you add something different into your week or weekend. Yes, it takes a little more effort, but it’s so worth it. 

May you have a wonderful taste of adventure, freshness and innovation soon. 

With uncommon love and creative courage,


>Creator of Courageous Self-Care

>Currently hanging out at a climbing gym where Zoe is doing some bouldering and I am not

>Maker of some excellent banana muffins (vegan, sugar-free, GF and yet very tasty and not gritty. Try this recipe and use cassava flour instead of rice flour and add some dried cranberries… deelish!

We had an amazing Visioning 2024 session this past weekend. Thank you to everyone who attended. 

If you missed it and have FOMO, you can still purchase the session and then do the recording. Click here if you’d like to get more clarity on your upcoming year and determine what inspired action to take by watching the replay. 




I am in love with a new-to-me clothing company called SownSmith. They have super cozy leisure wear that pays attention to quality, simplicity and slow fashion. 

Zoe got me the Blush Fleece Hoodie for Christmas when we attended Market Collective. I loved it so much that I used some Christmas money to get a whole outfit. I got the Charcoal Fleece Sweatshirt and Wide Leg Pants, along with the black beanie that I’m wearing right this very moment. Click this link to see them and get your own. We can be stylish twins!

Just as fantastic as the clothes is the owner, Lisa Kwong. Her service has been above and beyond. When I asked if I could exchange my new pants for a smaller size, she hand-delivered them to my home the very next day. Wow, right?!?

I see that they ship all over North America, so have a peek. 

My Sownsmith clothes are now the comfiest things I own. 

I discovered this super cool group this past summer called Beats Antique. They were performing at the Calgary Stampede and, although I didn’t go to their concert, I ended up adding all their albums to my iTunes library because their music has such an awesome vibe. 

Here’s a song to give you a taster. It’s kind of Middle Eastern bellydance meets hip hop meets gypsy jazz and then a little something extra. Really, you just have to listen. I love this song called Beauty Beats. Just see if it doesn’t get your hips swirling.  

Listen to Beauty Beats on iTunes

Listen to Beauty Beats on Spotify