It happens to the best of us: Someone starts a grown-up conversation and really the only thing going through your head is a Daniel Tiger jingle. You spout out a response hoping the string of words resembled an intelligent sentence.
It’s just so difficult to think clearly. You have a severe case of “mom brain.” It’s completely understandable.
Moms answer approximately 1,709 questions a day. We are always on alert. We are strategizing our next moves. We are moving cups before they fall from the edge of the table and planning diaper changes and feedings for a productive, efficient trip to the store.
Being a mom often means putting our thoughts, plans, and ideas for our kids before our own. And that’s a beautiful, selfless thing. But it’s mentally exhausting.
Check out these five science-backed ideas for staying sharp. So that next time you’re expected to discuss something more intellectual than why you shouldn’t wear shorts in 30 degree temps, or that ice cream is not a breakfast food, you’ll be prepared.
Some foods really can increase your brainpower. Studies have shown that gut health is closely tied to cognitive function. Foods that keep the good bacteria in your gut in balance, and reduce inflammation, will promote physical and mental health.
Nutrition experts recommend starting your day with 30 grams of protein. Continue to fuel your body throughout the day with meals and snacks that are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and good fats. Avocados, blueberries, broccoli and other green vegetables, fish and even dark chocolate (score!) are just a few of the delicious options that will keep your brain focused.
Let’s face it. Sometimes the mom lifestyle doesn’t lend itself to wholesome, nutritious meals. If you’re among the many who consider a handful of goldfish crackers, chicken nuggets, and some craisins a meal, you might want to consider some supplements to fill in the gaps.
Of course, if you’re pregnant or nursing you should always talk to your healthcare provider before adding supplements to your regimen. But they can be very valuable in helping your brain function to its highest potential.
Fish Oil is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that are crucial for brain development and function. Unless you’re a real fish lover, you probably aren’t getting the recommended amount for optimal brain performance. Fish oil can be taken in capsules or a more potent, gel form.
Vitamin B12 can also help alleviate a “brain fog.” Found naturally in animal meat, eggs, and dairy products, an added dose daily will keep cognition and the nervous system healthy.
Probiotics help promote good bacteria in the gut while fighting off bad bacteria. Poor diet and antibiotic use strips our digestive system of these good bacteria. When the bacteria is out of whack, the brain struggles. Supplementing with probiotics can get things back on track.
Mom brain getting the best of you? There’s an app for that! Smartphone apps like Lumosity and Happify have been designed by researchers and scientists to train your brain to think more clearly and positively.
If you replace your newsfeed scrolling with these brain games a few times a day you’re sure to notice a difference in brain function and a more positive mood. And the games are way more fun than newsfeed scrolling anyway!
Ah, sleep. It can be so elusive. And yet, it’s critically important. If you’re struggling with mom brain sleep is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Basically get as much as you can.
If you need a little extra rest, but don’t have much time, try a coffee nap. Yup, coffee nap. Brain scientists have found that if you drink a cup of coffee fairly quickly, and then immediately lie down to rest for about 20 minutes before the caffeine kicks in, you’ll wake up rested and feeling the benefits of the caffeine. Doesn’t get much better than that!
You don’t need to be a scientist to know that getting your blood flowing and heart pumping will clear your head. Of course we should try for an elevated heart rate for 30 minutes a few times a week. But if you’re short on time, even an energetic game of “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” with your toddler will get your heart rate up. And the more you keep your heart pumping, the better off your brain will be.
Making a more conscious effort to make all, or even just some, of these tips part of your daily routine is sure to clear the fog of mom brain.
The next time it feels like you’d have an easier time reciting an episode of Sesame Street than engaging in an adult discussion, read this list again.