We spend so much time trying to stimulate our children's brains that sometimes it is easy to neglect our own. But keeping our brains mentally active is essential for cognitive health as well as helping us be the best parents we can be. So how do time-strapped moms keep mentally stimulated day to day?
If It’s Getting Boring Try Something New!
It’s a guilty confession whispered at play dates everywhere: “Do you ever find it a bit, err, boring?” If you are growing weary of the same old schedule then it’s time to mix it up a bit. Changing up your routine keeps your brain active and your child stimulated so get on Yelp or new parenting app Winnie and look for different places in your neighborhood to visit with your kids. Scour Pinterest for art and craft projects to do together and get creative with your child. With a little bit of effort no day will ever be the same boosting your brain in the process.
Physical activity is linked to brain health, improved memory and releases endorphins to help you love life. Many moms struggle to find time to work out but whether you love yoga or want to take a fitness class there are plenty of options like Fit4Mom to bring your tot with you. Make an effort each weekend to drive to a local nature spot and take your family on a hike. Or schedule a couple of precious hours a week to do a zumba class or go to the gym by yourself. Your body and brain will thank you for it.
Challenge Your Brain During Down Times
Ok, so who doesn’t love an episode of The Bachelorette? While guilty pleasures such as reality TV are relaxing for tired moms it pays to challenge your brain too. A crossword or Sudoku will help keep your brain young. Likewise make time for a craft you enjoy. Doing art projects or decorating the house all act as stress relievers and could ultimately keep dementia at bay. Indulging in artistic endeavors has been linked to better memory and less cognitive impairment in old age.
Catch Some Z's Momma
What a joke right? All to often sleep is an old friend we bid farewell to somewhere around the third trimester. But the simple fact is you can’t cheat sleep for giving your brain the opportunity to recharge and reboot. Being sleep deprived not only leaves you listless but can also affect how happy you feel day to day. If you can catch seven hours a night you’ll wake up feeling sharper, energized and keen to make the most of your day.
Motherhood can sometimes affect your sense of identity when so much of your life involves waiting on small people. Beat this feeling by tuning into NPR to catch up on the politics and issues of the day or become a Mompreneur and create a new business or app. Could you start a blog or create your own Etsy store selling something you crafted?
Make an effort to learn with your child. Suss out their homework, try out a language class or take up piano lessons together. You could even master a Bruno Mars dance by watching YouTube videos.
Think about the go-get attitude of your children as they grow from babies to toddlers and beyond. If they fall down they try again with not even a hint of self-doubt. Tap into that energy, learn something new and do something amazing.
Charlotte Ward is a British writer, tree hugger and toddler entertainer. She is based in California where she can be found enjoying the outdoor life with her husband, son and hyperactive dog-child.