The JAS team is divided up into the hospitality team
and us upstairs doing things like research, fellowship recruitment,
fund raising etc. Partly to overcome this divide and partly just so I
can have a bit of fun from time to time, I have encouraged the
desk-bound staff to volunteer in the House.
Today was my turn and I had a great time in the kitchens. The team were
very patient with me and I learned a couple of top tips.
The whole experience convinced me that everyone should spend half a
working day a week on routine manual labour - something you can safely
do while listening to music -helping out in the kitchen, the garden,
cleaning etc. After all, these were the kind of tasks that occupied
most of our time for the vast majority of our evolution as humans so
it’s not surprising that doing them soothes our stressed-out brains.
Speaking of brains I was fascinated by this piece in the Guardian.
There are clearly mixed opinions as to the efficacy of brain training.
Advocates say it has wide and long lasting effects while critics say
The issues here are big, going well beyond a particular product or
method to the much wider question of the plasticity of our brains in
later life. This is clearly a debate we should host in our forthcoming
As we begin to imagine the post-pandemic world, we need to challenge our use of old metaphors to allow for new narratives and better futures to emerge.
With the post-Christmas resolutions looming, when we try to address the worst of our seasonal over-indulgences, the question remains: how can we give up bad habits for good?