Tips for mental sharpness and mommy brain

This post is sponsored by Nature’s Way.

I’m convinced that 7 years ago, I birthed my brain. A beautiful, perfect little human came out, and somewhere with all of the stuff was also my mind. Since I had Liv – maybe it also has to do with 7 years of sleep deprivation – mental fog kind of set in. I find myself searching for words I’m sure I know, forgetting important dates, and just being… uhh not so smart haha. 

Despite birthing my brain, I’ve still functioned like a semi-normal human: I can complete all of my mom, blog and work tasks, remember important school dates and events for the girls, pay bills, exist like I did. But I’ve noticed that if I don’t do a few key things, I certainly don’t feel as sharp. I’ll be talking to you and mid-sentence I’ll have no idea what the heck I’m talking about, or you might just see me in a blank stare, trying to remember something. It’s all very normal. 

Here are some of the things that I think make a huge difference:

READ. I feel so much sharper when I’m reading something. It forces me to truly focus on one thing, read words that I haven’t heard on Baby Shark on Netflix (why are they so obsessed with that song?!), and use my imagination to visualize another world. When I’m reading something, I’m also a better writer. Words come easier to me, and I’m more able to clearly articulate what I’m thinking. Even if I don’t have a lot of time, I’ll spend at least 15-20 minutes before bed reading a book.

Sleep. This can be a hard one because kids, but when I get a good nights’ sleep, I’m alert the next day. I try to cultivate a smart sleep situation to the best of my ability, especially by cooling down the room, avoiding screens before bed, and wearing an eye mask. I’ve noticed that if I hit the snooze button, I feel terrible. So, I wake up, splash water on my face, and start the day.

Meditate. This is such a valuable resource for a clear mindset. It can be easy to be intimidated by meditation, but it’s simpler and more flexible than many expect. When you’re meditating, you’re not trying to avoid thinking. It’s kind of impossible! Instead you’re acknowledging your thoughts, letting them go, and bringing the focus back to your breath. My tips for starting a meditation practice are here.

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Do something new or challenging. This is a HUGE one. It’s easy for us to kick into cruise control with our routines, but we’re not providing any new stressors or challenges. In order to keep your brain functioning at full capacity, it’s important to use different paths to solving problems. Try a new fitness class, take a dance class, try to learn a new language or instrument, use your mind in a different way. Learning dance choreography is a GREAT way to challenge your brain and ballroom dancing is one of the hobbies that can reduce dementia risk.  Dancing involves many brain functions at the same time. 

Try out supplements if they work for you. I’m so excited to be partnering with Nature’s Way this year, as they’re one of my favorite supplement brands. They sent me some of their products to promote cognitive function and two of them are ones I’ve regularly been taking.

Natures way

Valerian: I started taking valerian about 9 years ago when I told my naturopath that I wasn’t sleeping well. He gave me valerian and I had the most pleasant, restful sleep that I’ve had in a long time. I like valerian because it’s completely natural and not addictive. I had to stop taking it when I was pregnant with Liv – the midwife said it can make the babies a bit sleepy – and I didn’t experience any withdrawals or weird effects from ceasing the supplement. 

Reishi: supports immune function. I’ve been taking reishi and reishi-based products for the past couple of years for their calming effects. I’ve noticed that it’s helped dramatically with my anxiety and gives me a clear focused energy. 

Natures way 2
They also sent a new supplement that I’m excited to try this week: Ginkgold Max. This is purely to increase mental sharpness, so if you see a surge in my blog productivity, you know what happened. 😉 It can help to support memory, concentration and mental activity. It also supports circulation to the brain and extremities, while protecting the body from free radicals and reducing oxidative stress. Yes, to all of these things.It’s worth noting that you should always check with a doc before taking any new supplements. <3 

0007gina3 photographybyjacquelynn
What are some of the things you do to challenge your brain? Have you started any new hobbies or classes lately?


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  1. Whitney on October 11, 2018 at 11:09 am

    Hey Gina! I just found out that they retired the Four Sigmatic Decaf Coffee and I am SO incredibly disappointed! I first learned about it from you, so I’d love your opinion on trying something new. Do you have a replacement yet? I also suffer from anxiety and I think the decaf has helped, but I also love a good cup of coffee (especially when it gets cooler). Any recommendations?

    Thanks for always having such amazing content and for being so genuine in all that you do! I appreciate it so, so much!

    • Fitnessista on October 11, 2018 at 12:53 pm

      this is so tragic! i had no idea they were doing that so haven’t looked into a replacement yet, but i know i will be ordering like 15 bags while i still can lol. any ideas for a good replacement?
      thank you so much for the sweet comment, too. i hope you know how much i appreciate it!

      • Whitney on October 11, 2018 at 1:07 pm

        I talked to customer service this morning and they are completely sold out! I am so sad! I have searched Amazon and everywhere else and no one has any more 🙁

        • Fitnessista on October 11, 2018 at 1:25 pm

          i’m literally drinking a cup right now and feeling very sad. did they say why they got rid of it??

          • Whitney on October 11, 2018 at 1:51 pm

            “Consumer response to the product” 🙁 You and I probably bought enough of it to keep them producing it ourselves!

  2. Sarah Jane on October 11, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    So funny story, the past few days my toddler has been saying “Baby Shark” and pointing to the TV and my husband and I have had no idea what in the heck she is talking about, but reading your first bullet “READ” and seeing Baby Shark on Netflix, I think I now know! She must have watched it at daycare and now I have to look it up on our Netflix. So thanks for solving that mystery for me!

    • Fitnessista on October 11, 2018 at 12:51 pm

      watch out, it will be stuck in your head for a thousand years hahaha

  3. Colleen on October 11, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    There is a meditation app I love called “Buddhify.” It has a wheel of situations like “difficult emotions, Work Break, in Nature, Waiting,” etc. and each has several short meditations that apply. It is great to guide you when you are just starting out, and it really helps you fit meditation in to your day.

  4. Emily H on October 11, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Totally off topic…but where did you get your top in the last picture? I love it!

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