I always thought brain fog was a joke, until I got pregnant.
It got even worse after I had kids.
And I did not know it could go to extreme lengths until I went through my divorce.
I felt easily overwhelmed by the simplest of tasks and I could almost feel my brain being stretched to the max. I felt like I couldn’t possibly fit any more information in there.
What’s brain fog? The best way I know how to explain it is when I can’t focus on anything. I feel like I’m going through the motions and it’s very difficult to be present.
In this post, I’ll give you 5 ways to help eliminate the dreaded brain fog.
Now, I am no expert, but these are the things working for me. Most importantly, these aren’t a one time fix. These are steps you have to keep up with!
1. Talk It Out (or Write It Down)
Talking through my feelings has helped tremendously. I am able to organize my thoughts, express myself clearly, and focus throughout the day. If it’s easier for you, write your thoughts down. I have a journal I write everything down in. It’s not pretty, it’s full of bad handwriting, but it works.
My default reaction to being asked a question about myself is to deflect it. I don’t want to talk about myself. I have always internalized my feelings. This creates a snowball effect (and not the Dave Ramsey kind). My feelings ball up until I do what I have done since I was a child, I sob. These used to occur on a weekly basis (2-3 times). Since Dustin and I began conversations about what I want and how I feel, they’ve become less frequent (say, 1-2 times a month).
Personally, I don’t realize how strongly I’m holding on to something until I start talking about it. If Dustin can get me to start talking, I feel this huge wave of relief & I physically feel the stress leave my body.
I highly recommend finding one person to do this with. I am always worried about burdening or inconveniencing someone. Be up front with your intentions, let your person know you need someone to talk to and ask them if they would be up for it. People love to be wanted and we all want to connect on a deeper level.
2. Change Your Diet
Transitioning to a healthier lifestyle isn’t going to be instant for me. I took a look at what I could do immediately and what would have the most satisfying results for me. I chose to eliminate dairy. For you it may be as simple as cutting out fried food. I not only was experiencing brain fog, my cystic acne was almost unmanageable. Dairy seemed to aggravate it.
Within the first week I was able to focus for longer parts of the day. I didn’t feel overwhelmed or sluggish, I could remember much more. My cystic acne is already at bay. It’s not perfect, I still get bumps along my jawline, but it’s a huge improvement. Going on 2 months dairy free and I don’t miss it. I’ve been fortunate to find dairy free options for things I want to indulge in, like ice cream but I find myself reaching for those things less and less.
I also began intermittent fasting. I fast until noon and have an eight hour “eating window” until 8pm. I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve heard of it and there’s so many opinions surrounding the topic, but I made this decision based on personal preference, and it’s been a huge help for me.
3. Limit Your Decisions
This is something new to me, but it’s helped so much in such a short period of time. Dustin suggested I limit the amount of decisions I was making in the morning (simplify!). I began by changing a few things. I set my clothes out the night before. I get up at the same time. I wear the same thing to work every day (yes, I do wash it). I don’t have to choose what I’m eating because I fast until noon.
These decisions have already been made, leaving room for me to make decisions later in the day. It’s almost become automatic now. I’ve been able to simplify my morning routine so much that I can now incorporate some gym time and some writing time. What this has also helped me with is my usual 2:30-3:00 slump in my afternoon. We’ve all had it, we come back from lunch and we feel groggy and sluggish. I do not experience that anymore.
4. Build A Daily Routine
Walk yourself through your daily routine. What are you going to do each morning? I’m going to get a little personal here. I wake up, pee, shower, brush my teeth, apply deodorant, get dressed, comb my leave-in conditioner through my hair, and get my shoes on. Done. During this routine, I try to get in at least 40oz of water. Like I said in #3, I’m working towards incorporating writing & working out.
I want to start waking up at 5am to get thirty minutes of the rowing machine in and thirty minutes of the sauna where I’ll take a notebook and write down anything I feel during that time, something that was on my mind the day prior, or an idea for a blog post. I’m only working on establishing a solid morning routine for now, so I don’t overwhelm myself, but the goal is to have my days planned out so I don’t get thrown off balance.
5. Take Time For Yourself (Go Easy On Yourself)
Take time out of your day for you. This is another important step we all forget to take. Whatever this means for you. I personally love detox baths (Epsom salt, baking soda, and lavender essential oils) and a good book. For you it could be hiking or getting a massage. If we aren’t at our best, we can’t function properly. Think of something that would make you super happy. Some days it means going to bed early for me, because I want to. Plan a trip to go see your favorite band or go explore your city.
Most importantly, don’t pressure yourself. The key here (at least for me) is to avoid overwhelm or burnout. Baby steps are still forward progress. I know I’m guilty of being an all or nothing kind of person (if I can’t do it all and do it right, I tend to say no thank you!). But this is a transition, not a quick fix. I want this to be my lifestyle. Think about where you’d like to be and set smaller goals that will get you closer to your bigger goals. Ex: though I want to eat clean 100% of the time, I started small by eliminating dairy.
Keep in mind where you want to be and be okay with where you’re at!