Updated: Jan 20
The topic for this post came about because I was sitting at work the other day, completely unable to concentrate on my work. My brain felt foggy, tired and uninterested in anything I was meant to be doing. So I started to wonder what causes this feeling and is there anything I can do to prevent it from happening in the future.
Brain fog is not a medical condition, it's simply a term that we use to describe our ability to think, or rather not think! It can leave us feeling confused, irritable and unable to concentrate on simple daily tasks.
Brain fog can be brought on from stress, lack of sleep, poor diet, hormonal imbalances and a sedentary lifestyle. There are also certain health conditions that can make brain fog worse such as multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, iron deficiency to name a few. Most of us, however, just have off days that usually follow a bad night's sleep or poor meal choices the night before - hello packet hob-nobs!
To help ward off brain fog we need to make sure that we are looking after ourselves by sleeping, eating well, practicing meditation or mindfulness, exercising and allowing time for self care.
However, we can also help ourselves when brain fog strikes. For me, I like to make sure I get a walk in at lunch time, the fresh air and change of scenery really helps shift my mindset. If you, like me, get brain fog whilst at work here are some simple tips to break through the barrier and continue your day with an element of productivity:
Avoid distractions - if you're sat trying to work but have your phone next to you, chances are you will be checking it if you receive a notification or simply just using it to scroll through Instagram or the likes. Put your phone out of sight and try to focus on the task at hand.
If you are struggling to concentrate on what people are talking to you about, simply ask them to speak slower and maybe a little clearer, also make sure you turn to face them as this will help you to concentrate on them without being distracted.
If you have a high work load or many tasks to complete, write a list so you can clearly see what you need to do and use that as a reminder to stay on track. Crossing items off to do lists is very satisfying and will help keep you on track.
If your brain fog stems from a medical condition or is getting progressively worse then please seek medical advice. What I am covering here is to help on those days where you just find yourself feeling a little sluggish.
Interestingly, well for me anyway, I did not know until recently that the copper from the copper IUD can cause fatigue, anxiety, irritability and difficulty concentrating! Another reason why I chose to get it removed.
Many factors that cause brain fog can be helped by making simple lifestyle changes. For more on these topics please refer to my sleep and exercise blogs. Our health is all intertwined and if we lead a healthy lifestyle everything else will fall into place.
So just to summarise, make sure you are sleeping, eating a well balanced diet and moving that body of yours. Your brain will thank you for it!