Re-sharpen your mental edge with these 3 ways to combat mummy brain

You’ve probably experienced mummy brain — that pregnancy-related mental fog that seems to play havoc with your memory and emotions. Research in the journal Nature Neuroscience reveals that pregnancy leads to long-lasting changes in human brain structure. Scientists aren’t yet sure exactly how long these changes last, or how significant they are — but they’re certainly frustrating for busy mums.

Help is at hand though — you can re-sharpen your mental edge with these three ways to combat ‘mummy brain’.

  1. Crosswords

According to the Guardian, the first modern crossword was published in the New York World on 21st December 1913.

Since then, they’ve hooked millions of puzzle enthusiasts across the world — and a research team led by Professor Keith Wesnes suggests doing one crossword a day could make your brain 10 years younger.

There seems to be a direct link between frequency of crossword use and performance accuracy on a range of cognitive tasks for reasoning, memory and attention.

Crossword fans exhibited brain functions equivalent to 10 years younger than their age — but similar gains weren’t apparent in a control group who reported no word puzzle use.

So spending a few minutes a day getting to grips with the Times Cryptic Crossword might banish ‘mummy brain’ in the long term.

  1. Online education

If you’ve got your eye on climbing the career ladder or changing jobs completely after having children, studying online for a higher education qualification might be more manageable than you think.

Nowadays, a range of reputable institutions offers digital versions of many courses on their curriculum — which can be completed part-time to fit flexibly around childcare or work commitments.

For instance, online degrees available from Anglia Distance Learning include MBAs, project management qualifications and teaching top-up certificates.

And studying online can be interesting for more reasons than one — as well as boosting your resume, you’ll likely make lasting friendships with fellow students from around the world.

Online learning allows you to sharpen your brain cells at your own pace while earning a useful formal qualification.

  1. Brain training apps

If you’re not a crossword enthusiast and it’s not the right time to take on a degree, fiddling with brain training apps on your phone can improve your cognitive performance.

Spaced repetition memory app Eidetic brings your recall of names, phone numbers and fascinating facts back to peak performance. The app also includes an alarm to remind you to use it regularly — so you’ll make improvements more rapidly.

Using these types of apps is probably more productive than trawling social media and the sense of calm that comes from focusing on a task completely can be another positive side-effect.

Meanwhile, you might find that a meditation or mindfulness app complements Eidetic by reducing anxiety and allowing you to focus on your breathing — both of which are conducive to greater mental clarity.

Combat ‘mummy brain’ with one of these three methods and you’ll be back to your brainy best in no time at all.

How did you beat ‘mummy brain’? Share your tips in the comments section.