How to beat brain fog
If you are familiar with any of the following scenarios, there’s a strong chance you’ve been dealing with brain fog. See if you recognise any:
Walking into the kitchen and forgetting why you went in there? Remembering your childhood landline number instead of being able to recall your mobile number? Telling a hilarious story only to find you can’t remember the punchline? That feeling of ‘walking through treacle’ trying to get a task finished?
Sound familiar? The good news is; you are definitely not alone. Many of us have been feeling lethargic, unmotivated and confused over the past year. And in all honesty it would be strange if we weren’t affected adversely by living amid a global pandemic. Our brains are trained to alert us to potential threat, and to shut out the things it considers less important. Hence the reason you might be able to quote the covid death rate, but not remember your age!
I’ve been doing some research to discover the best ways we can quickly regain some clarity of thought, and feel calmer in the process.
Take regular breaks. Maybe you’re sitting at a desk on zoom calls or staring at spreadsheets. Maybe you’re looking after young children or elderly parents. Whatever stressors are affecting you, endeavor to take a break from them whenever you can. Sometimes ten minutes in the bath, or in the garden with a book, is enough to help you avoid burnout.
Eat well. Ensuring you have a balanced healthy diet rich in nutrients will go definitely assist in helping you to beat brain fog. Vitamin deficiency can lead to fatigue, but it’s easily warded off by some small adjustments in what you eat.
Work in spurts. Research shows that the brain can operate more sharply if we set a certain amount of time and concentrate on only one job. A great tip from NLP practitioner Rebecca Lockwood is to set a timer for 20 minutes and then commit to getting as much done as you can in that window of time. Anything that doesn’t get done, make a note of it and put it into your next spurt!
One super simple way to beat brain fog is to stay hydrated. As little as a 2% decrease in hydration can result in short term memory loss, and more prolonged dehydration can lead to brain cells actually shrinking in size. Include water in food by consuming lots of water-rich fruit and veg, have a glass of water with each meal, and replace fluids lost during exercise by sipping water before, during and after a workout.
Not getting enough sleep is a huge contributor to brain fog and more general fatigue. So prioritise setting up some healthy habits to give you a good chance of restful, restorative sleep.
Look at your caffeine intake. Everyone reacts differently to a caffeine spike. In moderation caffeine isn’t a problem, but if you can’t make it through your afternoon without a double espresso, chances are your body has become reliant on it. And you know what they say don’t you? What goes up must come down! So be careful that you’re not setting yourself off on a caffeine rollercoaster which will only serve to worsen your brain fog.
Do something creative! Sometimes the brain needs to be stimulated if we want to beat brain fog. So do something your brain finds exciting! Try to factor that into your work day, by saving some of the more interesting inspiring parts of your workload for around that 3pm slump time. If at all possible, factor 10-20 minutes into your day to do something which brings you joy, exercising, knitting, writing; whatever floats your boat!