Mommy Brain have you in a fog these days? It's no secret mothers (and fathers) experience a brain change after welcoming a child into their lives. It starts with hormonal changes during pregnancy, and the neurological development often shifts the focus of prior careers and hobbies to survival - sometimes to the extreme of adrenal exhaustion in many western cultures where support is few and far between (or at least not geared towards healthy family development).
You've heard many mother's joke that they lost their brain during the birth, but this brain change really isn't a loss of knowledge, it's just a change of focus. Just like all the other muscles in our body, our brain adapts to our daily environment. We get really good at catching spit up before it happens and maybe not so zoned in on finite editing for work projects. Mommy brain is a matter of priorities - it's OK to have a brain more geared towards biological nurturing than formula spreadsheets. Mommy brain is really another description for "instinctual thinking" sometime the opposite of the logical thinking required for other aspects of our culture.
For many of us who continue, or decide, to work after having children - we can get a little overwhelmed with the amount of energy needed to raise a family. How do we balance this new mommy brain perspective with the demands of modern life? Here are a few tips:
Improving Mommy Brain
Eat well balanced
Without adequate nutrients, including healthy fats, your brain isn't going to work at full capacity. Be sure you're getting all the colors of the rainbow, and don't forget the blue-colored foods known for their brain enhancing phytonutrients. Pack your snacks and lunch for outings and for work. Don't fall into convenience traps that end up reducing health and the bank account. Think about your time schedule and pack what you can the night before or schedule this time for the morning. Listen to your personal needs.
Go to bed when you're tired. Create a sleep environment that works for everyone. Safe co-sleeping is known to improve sleep for the whole family because not only does this increase breastfeeding by having mom respond to slight movements of her baby, but it helps regulate baby's temperature and calm feeling to reduce waking overall. Ultimately, though, you have to do what works for you because every family is different. Whether it's cuddled right next to your baby, a sidecar for comfort, a mattress on the floor, or someone sleeping on the couch - if it allows the whole family to sleep better, this is going to increase your overall rested feeling, improve emotional reactions, and reduce adrenal fatigue symptoms.
Try to schedule your day and sleep to avoid the need for alarms. Alarms wake you in the middle of your sleep cycle making you feel groggy and alerting your body with an adrenaline rush. If you keep the same schedule every day, you'll eventually get into a routine that makes waking easier without an alarm. If you're able to adjust your work schedule to fit your biological clock, this is the best approach; however, gently increasing the sound of your alarm may help to some degree. Utilize work from home opportunities and flex schedules.
Get into a Routine and Don't Over-schedule
Not only is the work and sleep schedule helpful, but the ins and outs of every day can be exhausting. Utilize seasonal cycle charting to improve hormonal balance that improves brain function. Balance social functions and work events and if possible, change careers if this job isn't working for your mental and physical health.
Par down the wardrobe and zone in on either a few mix and match outfits with accessories or try wearing the same outfit like a work uniform, dress suit, and basic colors. The less you have to decide throughout the day, the more energy your mommy brain can utilize for priority tasks. Be sure your work wardrobe includes attire suitable for movement so you are comfortable all day and can get in walking and movement for improved health.
Create a meal calendar which not only reduces the amount you have to think about preparing when you arrive home, but you can better utilize leftovers made over to reduce the grocery costs altogether.
Self care is for everyone in the family. Daily, you need time to do whatever it is you like to do to feel clean, refreshed, and provide your brain with a bit of a break. If we never take time to care for ourselves, we will eventually have a really difficult time caring for others. Schedule self-care like it's your job because this is your number one job. You lose that money-making job you have if you haven't cared for your emotional and physical self and things can go down-hill quick. If you haven't cared for yourself, work load becomes work stress very quickly and mommy brain starts to look like full on depression. Listen to your needs and request them while also providing this time for other family members as well. Find your favorite relaxing spot and just be. Don't mistake productive time for self-care. You need time to turn off your brain and just be with your own thoughts and desires. Just 30 minutes a day of self-care can do wonders for your overall mood, and mommy brain.
What's your favorite routine to improve your brain function?