I've recently noticed a change in my day to day language. Raising a toddler, working in a daycare and writing about everything baby probably has something to do with it! Nothing says, "I'm a Mom!" like using fluffy toddler lingo or jumping up and down with excitement when you see that first, small turd your child has dropped in the "potty." It's easy to see why Mom's everywhere feel like their brain has, in fact, gone on an intellectual hiatus. Here are my tips to wrangle your brain back into your head!
1. Find Your ZenWhether you find your zen on a run in the park or while busting your chops at the gym, take time for yourself! This may also be a great time to meet up with a friend and get that girl time in.
2. MeditateThe art of meditation is absolutely amazing! I had the opportunity to meditate a few times a week during a class in college, and let me tell ya, it was life changing! I was able to work through many mental struggles and feel at peace after every meditation session. Spending 10 quiet minutes to yourself can change your attitude for the day and help you feel ready to conquer whatever your toddler throws at you!
3. Take a HikeEnjoy God's great earth by going on a hike! Take your family with you or fly solo. Either way, it will be a great opportunity for you to challenge yourself physically while enjoying nature. Purchase a guide book about birds, plants and animals in your area to make it a great learning experience!
4. Read a BookHead to your local bookstore or borrow from a friend! Try reading something that is intellectually challenging and forces you to pay attention to the details. Finding a great book will help you have something to look forward to when the kids are in bed! Talk about motivation!
5. Go For a DriveGrab your keys, kiss the kiddos goodbye and go for a little drive. Turn up the radio and listen to your favorite songs. Again, this is just an opportunity for you to get your head straight. Take 30 minutes and gather your thoughts. I know you'll feel refreshed!
6. Take a CourseI recently signed up for an at home writing course and I can't wait! This is something that is completely MINE. No sharing or singing or messes to clean up. This course is purely for my intellectual entertainment and something I'm highly interested in. Do some online research to find a course you would be interested in! I have seen courses of every sort, ranging from in depth lectures on early Christianity to photography, sewing and genealogy! Courses like these are great for people who love to learn.
7. Find a HobbyFinding a hobby goes hand in hand with taking a course or two! Many communities offer introduction classes to a variety of popular hobbies. Find a hobby you are interested in and run with it!
8. Watch TED TalksNeed some inspiration or intellectual stimulation? TED talks are perfect! Head over to YouTube and search for a TED talk you would be interested in. Many of them are profound and extremely thought provoking!
9. Listen to PodcastsLet me be honest here, I have a guilty pleasure of listening to hard core gangster rap. Not exactly appropriate for my two year old to listen to while Mom is cleaning or cooking. That's why podcasts are perfect! You can stream them from your phone and listen to hundreds of different topics.
10. TravelIn my personal opinion this is the best way to keep your brain active. Traveling is thrilling, stressful and often requires plenty of organization and planning. That's why it's a great tool! Take in the sights, sounds, smells and interactions and your brain will be working double time.
11. Learn Something NewTry a new recipe or learn to change the oil in your car. Nothing stimulates the brain like learning something new (that requires most of your attention)!
12. Create a Kid Free ZoneIn our house, our bedroom is our kid free zone. Our room is the one room with the nicest furniture, the cleanest, clutter free tables and it isn't in any way kid proof. That's the way I like it! Our bedroom is often where I write, work from home, read and relax. Everything is nice and pretty and grown up-like. The rest of the house? Not so much. But that's okay! Because Mom and Dad have their nice space in the upstairs corner of the house.
13. Get InvolvedIf you have kids in school, get involved in their PTA. If not, look for volunteer opportunities within your community! Plenty of places are always seeking extra help (animal shelters, nursing homes, homeless shelters, etc). This is a great way to get the whole family involved as well!
14. Work Part-TimeIf you are struggling as a stay at home parent, try finding a job outside the house and picking up a few hours a week! Some places desperately need help on nights and weekends. Working outside the home can help you make friends, have interesting conversations and learn new things.
15. Make a Playdate
Call a friend, grab the kids and go play! Let the kids run wild while you and your friend have some Mom time. Enjoy each others company and catch up! You will definitely feel rejuvenated!