Whether you just recently found out that you’re pregnant or you’re already in the third trimester, odds are your brain is in overdrive. Between planning, prepping, and studying up to be the best mom you can be, there’s not much time to waste. Yet, slowing down to take a quick break might be the best thing you can do for yourself and your baby.
Of course, you’ll still want to keep your mind active whenever you’re taking a breather. Otherwise, you could easily start worrying about everything from your to-do list to your due date. Luckily the following creative brain breaks will keep distracting you just long enough to put a smile on your face and renew your energy.
1. Listen to an Audiobook
Sometimes, listening to music isn’t engaging enough to keep you from overthinking. Other times, the lyrics are so relatable that you feel sad or even angry. To avoid these emotionally charged situations, try listening to an audiobook instead.
Get lost in a good mystery novel or let a romantic plot sweep you off your feet. Just pop those earbuds in, kick back and relax. Or, pop them in and get to work painting the nursery, washing laundry, or doing the dishes. As long as you aren’t worried about baby, it still counts as a break.
2. Solve a Puzzle
Having a baby and raising kids is sort of like solving a puzzle — one you and your partner will likely figure out along the way. However, if you find yourself trying to put the pieces together before you have them out of the box, you’re bound to get a little frustrated. Luckily, there are plenty of other puzzles you can solve in the meantime.
Does your husband insist on reading the Sunday paper? Complete the crossword puzzle hiding in its pages. Sudoku books, Rubix cubes, and other puzzle-like brain games are great options, too. When all else fails, snag a 1,000-piece puzzle and get to work. That’ll keep you occupied for a good, long while.
3. Decorate the Nursery
Moms-to-be who are stressed about decorating a nursery probably shouldn’t use this task as a brain break. However, if you love interior design and simply can’t wait to get started on the baby’s room, picking out a rocker or crib can be a fun, refreshing activity.
If you aren’t ready to make such big design choices, scrolling through Pinterest can be just as exciting. Make a mood board and start gathering ideas for a color scheme, theme, or pattern. Do you want the aesthetic to match the rest of your home, or do you feel like trying something more fun and colorful? Pin to your heart’s content and keep your favorite ideas in mind when you go to make a registry.
4. Make Something
Keep your hands busy and give your brain a break by making something. Get craftsy and tap into your DIY skills by quilting a blanket, knitting some socks for a baby, or making stuffed animals or even baskets for their nursery. If you’re handy with tools, you could even refurbish second-hand furniture to use in their room.
Meanwhile, mamas with an eye for fashion might enjoy making their own jewelry. Craft your own necklaces with beads, stones, polymer clay, and more. Just remember to stock up on jewelry hardware like wire cutters and pliers before you begin. Otherwise, you’ll be heading to the craft store on another errand instead of taking a brain break.
5. Learn a New Language
Whether you want to converse with your immigrant neighbor or teach your little one French, there’s no time like the present to learn a new language. Immerse yourself in a new culture and dip your toes in different dialects by learning Spanish or Italian — the easiest languages for English speakers. Sure, you might not be fluent by the time baby arrives, but you’ll know more than you do now.
Try an app like Duolingo or Babbel and enjoy a virtual learning curve or take a course at your local university. You might also use a language-learning program like Pimsleur or Rosetta Stone if you’re invested but want to learn at your own pace. Once you start getting the hang of basic vocabulary and verb forms, practice your listening skills by watching TV shows and your speaking skills by talking to native speakers within the community.
Prioritizing Your Mental Health
Taking creative brain breaks is all about prioritizing your mental health so you can be a better mom for your baby. While resting and flexing your creative muscles might be difficult now, it’ll be even harder once your little one arrives. Therefore, you must make a habit of doing so now.
Once you have a solid routine that includes frequent breaks, you’ll be more apt to maintain it in the future. And, with all the chaos and unpredictability that comes with having kids, you’ll be thankful to have a few creative break ideas to lean back on when things get tough.