Brain fog is that feeling of mental fatigue, that feeling of struggling with concentration and memory. It can be tied to health problems, such as COVID, multiple sclerosis and other serious illnesses, but it can also occur to people who are overwhelmed, burned out, or overworking themselves. Any time you experience prolonged brain fog, it's important to get checked out by a medical professional to determine the cause. If you've come to the conclusion your brain fog isn't due to a medical concern, there are some things you can do to help mitigate the symptoms.
Beating Brain Fog
1. Get Enough Sleep
We often discount our need for sleep, but getting an adequate amount of rest can make a big difference in our lives- whether we are seeking relief from brain fog, a boost in cognitive function, an improvement in our mood, and an increase in our general well-being. Sleep is essential to our well-being.
2. Work Smart
Sometimes work can become overwhelming and it's easy to get burned out. Start by detailing all your daily tasks so you know what you're up against for the day. Then break each task down, making sure to include breaks throughout the day. We often become engrossed in our work and it's hard to detach- if necessary, you can set an alarm on your phone to remind you to take breaks. It's also important to take breaks from screens in general, so instead of taking a break from your computer, only to scroll on your phone, maybe take a walk or close your eyes for a moment (which leads to the next idea on the list:)
Meditation and mindfulness can help us stay in the moment, which relieves some of the anxiety and worry we might feel as we move through our day. It can also help improve focus and concentration. The best thing about meditation is that it can be done most places, all you need is yourself and a quiet place. If you're uncertain how to get started, there are many meditation guides and apps online.
4. Eat Well and Hydrate
Our bodies are our vehicles through life and the fuel that we put in our bodies makes a difference in how well our bodies run. The human body needs sufficient water to function and interestingly, staying hydrated helps with our cognitive functioning. The food we eat should be filling and packed with nutrients.
5. Engage in Physical Activity
Sticking with the car analogy, physical activity helps our bodies run better. Imagine a car that's sat in one place for months and months. How might that car run when you start it up? Likewise, if you sit all the time and don't engage in any physical activity, your body can start to come down with diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Physical activity helps improve cognitive function as well as mood. Find a physical activity you enjoy, like dancing or hiking or swimming, and find time to do it at least a few times a week. (If you're new to physical activity, check with your doctor before beginning your exercise routine.)
Making these lifestyle changes can help with some of the symptoms of brain fog, but if you notice that the symptoms are persisting, it might be worth another trip to your doctor.