How To Stay Intellectually Aware In Everyday Life

How to stay intellectually aware

Ever feel like your job is killing off the brain cells you once exercised throughout university or school? I often felt like this throughout all my part-time jobs, and found it incredibly difficult to stay 'on top of my game' in terms of my intellectual interests. It's infuriating- you need money so work at any job to bring in the cash, but feel almost worthless in an environment that refuses to recognise any of your particular intellectual skills. I found my coping mechanism was to surround myself with intellectually inspiring tasks whenever possible, and to make the most of my part-time jobs by improving some of the transferable skills I wasn't so good at like public speaking. Here are the tips I have for rejuvenating my intellectual skills when working in an irrelevant field.

Read and read
Reading is honestly one of the best things you can do to inspire and 'open your mind'. Other people's insights and creativity often provoke topics issues in your own mind. Whether it's fiction or non-fiction, you're expanding your imagination, understanding and knowledge. I used to find reading journals and articles for essays to be tiresome after a while, but switching to non fiction was refreshing often gave me a new lease of life. I also recommend reading shorter articles online if you are pushed for time to switch up your day-to-day routine. I check news websites on a daily basis, and often read tweets by people from across the world and their opinions on the news. And if you don't enjoy the written word, how about podcasts and YouTube channels? Here are a few platforms and channels I recommend:

Go to somewhere completely different and absorb the atmosphere
Going on trips out to different places can be surprisingly inspiring. Just getting out of the house can be extremely refreshing, and something which I did a little more of during my Masters degree. Me and Mr. Nomad would make an effort to go for an evening walk when I'd been working all day just to get some fresh air which would give us a chance to talk without being preoccupied with anything else.

Debate and discuss with those around you
I often ask Mr. Nomad 'so, what do you think about this?' and we often discuss our difference of opinion on things. Surrounding yourself with people who you admire or who have opinions can really progress your own personal thoughts around issues as well as practicing your communication skills. Previously Mr. Nomad would refuse to talk about politics claiming he knew nothing about it apart from the news he read, but the more I've talked to him about it, the more apparent it is that he has strong views about issues and actually has an active interest in it. Now he actively engages in conversation about politics with other people which always surprises me (and pleases me as i'm a political science graduate). 

Set yourself a challenge
Challenge yourself to something that requires some mental ability. It can range from running a mile to remembering your shopping list or to practice positive thinking. Whilst these might seem like everyday and mundane tasks, they can help you keep you on the ball. You could also try something completely new to challenge yourself. Learning something like cross stitch or how to change a tyre on a car will contribute to you expanding your knowledge and using different parts of the brain that can often be neglected in day-to-day routines. 

Play games
Something my mum and her friends (who are a smart bunch) do is play scrabble weekly. Now it's one of my mum's favorite things to do, divulging in the game several times a week. It's fun but also educational as it really helps expand your vocabulary (especially good if you're in any kind of industry that requires writing). I highly recommend buying a scrabble dictionary (with the meanings) to use when playing the game as it introduces you to new vocabulary.

How do deal with working in a job that doesn't utilise your university degree or skill-set?


  1. That is a lovely post! i do also love statin intellectual aware on my everyday, so all tips are really useful. By the way, Ted Talks are so awesome, aren't they? And talking and discussing about many topics is for me one of the best ways to exercise most of you skilld. Beautiful post really, I'm glad there is still people in this world trying not to be a big cultural ignorant. With love,

  2. I really relate with this, I studied genetics and biochem at uni and now I work in tech. Work is definitely intellectually stimulating but obviously in a specific area, and I always feel that I am missing out on that all around knowledge about science and other subjects that I used to have! I definitely need to read and watch more, I was really into podcasts for a long time so should start those up again as well! x

    Jasmin Charlotte | UK Lifestyle Blog

  3. I love this! I spend a lot of time every morning reading news articles, journals, and other things on topics that interest me, and I also read a LOT of fiction. I usually have some kind of challenge for myself going on, too, whether it's an hour of Spanish practice every day or writing a short story in a couple of hours :)

  4. Yes to all of this! I must say, at one point I felt a bit like blogging was killing off brain cells, but that's because I spent faaaaar too much time reading blogs that didn't have anything substantial to say. My husband Dan is a big fan of keeping up to date and I've taken a few of these tips from him now!

  5. Completely understand! I actually just transferred all my blogs to follow on Blog Lovin' last night (old school blogger follower here) and decided to go through each one and choose whether I actually enjoyed the content or not and whether I was actually getting anything from it. It turned out my old school Blogger blog list was completely out of date and I found so many blogs that no longer existed or had changed direction to something I wasn't interested in at all!

  6. Thanks Lizzie (and high 5 for having an awesome name haha). That's so great that you keep up to date with what's going on in the world and making little challenges for yourself. I think I need to take a leaf out of your book and do it a little more often as I've been slacking lately!

  7. Totally know what you mean Jasmin! I studied political science and all through my part time jobs I've never used any of the knowledge I worked so hard in building- so frustrating! Definitely a good idea to explore some podcasts- I've only really started getting into them recently after not listening to any for agessss but have found if i put them on whilst doing cleaning or a mundane task like that I quite enjoy them :)

  8. Thank you Vera! Ted Talks are definitely awesome :) Thanks so much for stopping by.