I’m not convinced my brain has returned to normal since having babies, and I’m not sure it ever will.
When I became a mother for the first time, I remember commiserating with other mothers about the development of what we called “baby brain”. We become forgetful, absent-minded and could not recall an actor’s name despite seeing his/her face in our mind.
There’s probably good reason our brains don’t function as well because of many factors impacting upon its capacity. However, even as our children grow older, we can be mindful of these symptoms as warning signs for other impacting on our health and wellbeing. The first thing you’ll need to do is become aware and acknowledge your frustration.
When we are stressed or anxious our body will release cortisol as part of the stress response. Cortisol will shut down the functions our body does not need in states of stress.
For example, if we are facing a predator, our bodies need all resources to prepare to fight or run. We certainly don’t need to worry about eating or reproducing, so our digestive system and reproductive system will slow down.
If we are in a constant state of stress, our body has an overproduction of cortisol which can cause memory lapses. Applying simple strategies to reduce stress and increase calm can alleviate forgetfulness.
Lack of sleep
Most new mothers immediately need to contend with a lack of sleep. Once again, the lack of sleep requires our brain to work harder to service many areas of our body to function under stress.
We often push ourselves beyond our limits, squeezing in more than necessary. With an increased level of cortisol in our system, it impacts on the quality of our sleep. A symptom of this is waking with feeling like you haven’t slept at all.
Without a restful night of recharge, our brain will not function at it’s best.
Working too fast
Let’s end the myth right here. Multitasking is not a desired skill for women. Yes, we are forced to do it, even fall into the trap of doing it. However, you produce less in the same amount of time by multitasking, than if you did one task at a time. In fact, the more you’re doing at once, the more likely things are to slip through the cracks.
You may feel like you’re getting more done but the standard and quality of what you achieve is probably not worth it. Busy Mums tend to drag the stress of one moment into another. They rush out the door, rush kids to school, rush to work. Rather than being in that moment and when that moment ends, pause.
So when you’re having breakfast in the morning, sit down. Don’t make the kids breakfast, pack your bag and fill your water bottle. Be mindful, in that moment before you start the next moment.
Make sure you get enough sleep and take breaks. Take breaks every 45 minutes to rest your brain. SLOW DOWN!
Check your levels
Our brain will not function when it is not serviced well. Water is fundamental to our concentration and dehydration can significantly impact upon our memory and concentration.
Another deficiency that can cause brain fog or cloudy memory is your iron levels. A health check with your doctor to check your iron levels is well worth doing.
This doesn’t mean you have to get good at filling your diary with more and get good at prioritising. This means, think about what things are truly important.
We sacrifice things that are meaningful to us over the things that really, deep down, aren’t that significant. Things like fretting over a tidy house. Obsessing about staying up to date on everything. Let some things go, free up your mental space, energy and time so that you can spend quality time with your children, partner or on you.
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