Being a single mum is no walk in the park. Irregular sleeping hours, finding quality child care and financial challenges all take a toll on us solo parents.
If you have stopped working or dropped back to part time, you might feel your brain doesn’t get a lot of action and you don’t need to look after it as much.
This is not the case!
Brain health is essential for all mother’s as it helps us stay mentally sharp, manage stress, retain information, and model healthy behaviours for our children.
In this article, I talk about the facts around having a healthy brain as a mum, alongside how to keep your brain in the game!
Why is brain health so important for mothers?
Mental clarity and focus
There is no job in the world where you have to multitask like a mother. So, if you think your brain can take a break during motherhood, think again.
Now is the time that you need absolute clarity and focus.
The process of cooking dinner, changing a nappy AND helping with homework all at the same time requires a healthy, alert brain.
And not just for the time it takes to do an average work day. Our mum-days require 12 hours+ of switched on brain power to get ourselves and our children through in one piece.
Emotional regulation (mental health)
As a mum, you are in charge of guiding your child through everyday situational and interpersonal challenges. Things can get frustrating, and depending on their stage of development and their mood, some days can be more intense than others.
Children can be stubborn, defiant, sneaky, or combative. They will learn to argue, say no, disobey, and physically express their frustration.
Other times, you can also feel left out of your social circle because of how much you perceive motherhood has consumed you. There are days that you a feel a little distant from your partner because of fatigue, work, household, and parenthood concerns all combined.
When these things happen, it is our job as mums to stay level-headed, to continue being kind towards ourselves, and be rational about our next steps.
It’s easy to become angry or to get carried away by our emotions. But, remember, your words, actions, and reactions can have a lasting effect on your child. You determine whether they learn something in a positive way or they walk from that situation with new fears and wounds.
Ensuring your brain health will make it possible for you to regulate your emotions, to be more thoughtful with your words and actions, and to avoid making rash and emotional decisions.
Memory and learning
When we choose the right formula or supplements for our babies, we always consider, what will potentially help him to become smarter. We even study up on the nutrients that will develop their brains at a much better rate.
We must also regard our own brains with the same thougtfulness. As a mum, you want to absorb and retain all the information that will help you raise your child in the best way possible. Take care of your brain so learning will come easy to you and you don’t have a lot of foggy mum brain moments.
You are in an important position as your child’s primary provider, educator, carer, and protector. Take care of your cognitive health and sharpen your memory. Besides, you wouldn’t want to forget the amazing moments and milestones of your child as you both grow older.
Modelling healthy behaviours
Aside from making sure that your brain helps you function well as an individual, you also have to remember that your behaviours resulting from the state of your brain health is something that your children will observe and emulate.
Aside from making sure that your brain helps you function well as an individual, your children will observe and emulate your behaviours resulting from the state of your brain health.
Are you quick to anger, or do you become avoidant during stressful situations? Don’t be surprised if your kids eventually exhibit these behaviours. Are you someone who stays physically and socially active, and has a healthy habit of reading books during your free time? Then expect your kids to copy you.
Both your brain-healthy habits and the benefits you glean from them are things that you want your children to take after you. Be a good role model to them so taking care of their brain health becomes a natural part of their daily habits.
What life habits can I adopt to ensure my brain stays healthy
Do regular exercise
You might not link exercise to brain health, but it plays a crucial role.
Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which pushes oxygen and nutrients to brain cells. This helps with cognitive function and memory. Plus, it timulates neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to change and adapt in response to new experiences … this also assists memory. Just think no more forgotten items on the way out the door!
On top of that, exercise increases the production of BDNF, a protein that supports the growth and survival of brain cells. Higher levels of BDNF have been associated with improved cognitive function and a reduced risk of cognitive decline.
So make time for exercise mums. It will make you feel good and make your life easier.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet
There is nothing wrong with the occasional Macca’s; we’ve all had days when we scarfed a huge burger in the quiet of our bedroom to fix our slump.
It’s worth knowing that a good diet can improve brain health by balancing blood sugar levels, improving blood flow, and reducing inflammation.
Are they enough reasons to swap the burger for the Buddha Bowl?
Get the right balance of protein, carb, fat, and fibre intake to ensure healthy brain and bodily functions. Eat mostly direct sources of food. Unprocessed meat and fish, organic eggs, fresh vegetables and fruits, and whole grain-based carbs are excellent choices to make sure that you are feeding your brain right.
Additionally, staying hydrated is essential for optimal cognitive performance. Consider incorporating nutrient-rich beverages like herbal teas, fresh fruit-infused water, or nourishing homemade broths. If you're looking to support your well-being further, you might also explore various wellness practices, such as mindfulness meditation, regular exercise, and adequate sleep. You can also explore Myers IV Vancouver, or in any other location, which has gained attention for its potential benefits
Take brain fuelling supplements
Sometimes, even with the right calories and seemingly perfect meal plans, we still don’t get all the vitamins and amino acids we need for our brains.
This is where brain supplements come in.
So many local health companies have been developing and producing amazing supplements that can support our brain health. Supplements and superfoods such as B vitamins, theanine, omega-3, vitamin E, and ginkgo biloba are now affordable and readily available to us.
My go to is Kissed Earth’s Brain Elixir with potent, high-quality natural ingredients that boost your brain to improve mental clarity and focus. Pop it in a morning coffee or smoothie and away you go.
Be mentally active
Your brain health is dependent on how you use it.
Subjecting your brain to healthy processes and productive synapses encourages it to further process information and to avoid big stressors.
Boost your brain health as a mum with activities that continue to develop your brain functions.
Reading is always a good idea. It keeps your imagination and reasoning active. Whether you prefer self-development books or fiction, push yourself to consume literature during your free time.
Brain games are also a great idea. Sudoku, chess, Wordle, Scrabble, and other games that require active thinking are a fantastic way to kick back and enjoy while you give your neurons a good workout.
Get plenty of sleep
Wonderfully, our brains remain active while we sleep. Only in a slightly different way.
Good sleep sets the stage for our brain to form and maintain neural pathways and to clean out toxins that have built up in our brain while we were awake.
Sleep is such an important tool and process for our brain and bodily health, daily. It affects every type of tissue and system in our bodies– from our brain, lungs, and heart to our metabolism, mood regulation, and immune function.
Several sleep studies have proven that a chronic lack of sleep, or poor quality sleep, increases our risk for various disorders including hypertension, diabetes, and mental illnesses.
Stay socially engaged
And not only through social media!
Mindless scrolling does not develop our interpersonal intelligence nor does it allow our brains to boost our communication and reasoning skills.
As a mum, you need to socialise from time to time (with the right people!) to keep your brain healthy.
Having a good group of friends gives you a healthy space to exchange ideas and engage in fun activities that, in-turn, boosts your serotonin. Meeting new people at a skill learning venue (language or painting lessons, anyone?) will also help you strengthen your memory and nurture your creativity.
Now is the time to get social in order to exercise your brain and show up as your happiest and smartest self for your kids.