Five Ways To Help Eliminate Brain Fog

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!

– Chelsea

Ashley Horner’s Transform You Challenge – Weeks 1 & 2

Dustin bought me Becoming Extraordinary for Christmas. I follow Ashley on Instagram and saw her post about a Transform You challenge. It’s 10 weeks long and I figured I could totally do it, since the trainer is 12 weeks. My local gym, Ignite, was starting a 21 Day Detox the same day the challenge was starting (Mon. Jan 8th) and I was hoping I wasn’t getting myself into too many things. After talking with Dustin, the meal plan on Ashley’s trainer was sort of similar to the detox, so I went ahead and started it as well.

Can’t wait to look back on these posts at the end of Week 12.

To be honest, this is for me. If it helps motivate or inspire you and if it helps you feel like you can do the same, then heck yes!!

HUGE DISCLAIMER: I do NOT live by the scale or measurements. At all. I am overweight. I completely understand that I could potentially stay the same weight or gain more weight but in the form of muscle. I just want to be healthy and fit. For me, that’s being strong, whether I just feel it, or I look it. With that said, I have weighed myself to add it to my measurements because I can look at it and not feel discouraged if it doesn’t move much or at all. It’s all about how I feel. If you’re one to look at the scale and it’s gone up 5 pounds and you easily get discouraged, then this way isn’t for you. But it works for me.

Week 1: Where It All Began & I Told Myself To Shut Up

Summary:

  • The first day was the TOUGHEST day for me. Took me 2 hours and 20 mins to finish and I didn’t get through the whole workout.
  • Getting used to whole foods again.
  • By the end of week 1, I noticed a change in my attitude, my skin was clearer (not 100%), and I felt like a beast.
  • Paid attention to my goal planner (Lara Casey’s Powersheets) every single morning. Stuck to my guns with my daily workouts, water intake, vitamins, and bible study!
  • I attempted every workout, didn’t complete a few workouts, missed one day during the week, and made up for it on my rest day.
  • I went to the gym in the morning (5am) and the evening (5pm).
  • Never been so sore, but it felt SO good!!
  • At the end of week 1, I was completely regulated. If you don’t understand that, it has something to so with the restroom. *ew*
  • Meal prep was a HUGE key in not falling off the wagon. And they are completely right when they say it takes no time in comparison to how much time you think it takes.
  • Mental battle was RIDICULOUS. I literally had to tell myself (internally) to “shut the **** up” because fear would sit there and say “I don’t know if I can do this”, “oh no, my muscles are shaking”. I got through it though and cried afterward. HUGE accomplishment.

Measurements (taken Sun Jan 7 at 8pm):

  • Weight: 235
  • Neck: 15
  • Arm: 15
  • Chest: 43
  • Stomach: 48
  • Waist: 45
  • Thigh: 28
  • Calf: 17.5

Week 2: Where I Had To Deal With Conflicts & Gained Confidence

Summary:

  • I blew Day 1 away the next Monday, I completed the entire workout and had 30 mins to spare at the gym.
  • Meal prep again, killed it! Love having meals already planned. Hate making decisions because I get anxious. The less decisions, the better. Meal prep helps this!
  • Had work conflicts Thursday, didn’t get a workout in. Used my 5am workout Friday to bust through half of Thursdays workout.
  • Tailored a few of my 2018 goals and set myself a couple non-food rewards if I accomplish them. Dustin and I agreed if we stick to this not only for 12 weeks, but for the year, we’d go to an NF concert in 2019. So stoked to see him live.
  • Excited to start muscle groups on Monday. First 2 weeks are an all over workout and will probably be my go-to if I ever need a workout routine because they rock.
  • Noticed lots of improvement.
  • Participated in the private Facebook group, even have a few women who wanted to do a group text to send motivation throughout the weeks. Love having this community!
  • Ashley posted asking for volunteers for her Unbroken Foundation. Would love to help out with that here in the midwest. Going to answer her questions and send them off.
  • Skin is on point, though I’m pretty sure I have cystic acne. It’s not terrible, but they’re deep, and often red and sore. It never seems to go away. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Herbivore. Will treat myself to their skin/facial care items once the 12 weeks is over. Figure by then all the crap in my body should be long gone and what a way to reward myself for completing!
  • Love Lat Pull Downs, Row Machine, Shoulder Press, Tricep Extension, and Hack Squats

Measurements (taken Sun Jan 21 at 11:27am):

  • Weight: 223
  • Neck: 14.5
  • Arm: 14
  • Chest: 43.5
  • Stomach: 47.5
  • Waist: 44
  • Thigh: 27
  • Calf: 17.5

Gained half an inch on my chest, I assume because my time of the month is right upon me, idk. Still have to get to the gym today (like now!) and tomorrow starts week 3!

Peace, love, and sunshine!
– C

 

At the core, I want to be strong.

Happy New Year!

I snuggled up on the couch for the evening and watched a few movies with Dustin instead of going out this year. For the last week or so, I’ve been goal planning. I completed Lara Casey’s 2018 Goal Setting Series (click the link and it’s listed as #1) and created a list of goals for the upcoming year. If you haven’t seen or heard about it, go check it out. I love her method of intentional goal setting. Small goals are just as important. I took a day for each part last week (there’s five) to really focus on my goals and why I was choosing them for 2018. I’ll list them below along with some tools I’m using to help accomplish them!

I encourage you to take your time if you’re going to go through the series. Even if you don’t know your goals until the 5th of January, or even the 15th, they aren’t any less important than if you had them picked out three weeks ago. Your goals matter. What you want in life matters. You are so worth it!

It’s been a little over three years since my divorce and although we’re still going through some things, I’m ready to focus on me. For too long I’ve been in limbo, not knowing what to do with my life, where I want to be, who I want to be, what I want to do. The direction I thought I was going in and who I thought I was, was ripped out from under me. Barely getting by, I’ve been going through the motions. Going to work, coming home, wishing for Fridays. For three years, I’ve done more worrying by myself than I have spent taking my troubles to God.

It’s taken some serious soul searching to narrow down what goals I want to set for myself this year. At the core, I want to be strong. I want to get stronger physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I want to look back on 2018 and see that I accomplished much more than I ever thought possible, but in smaller ways. I don’t want or need large, perfect goals to accomplish becoming stronger. Part Four was my favorite of the goal setting series because of the questions she asks you to ask yourself regarding the goals you’re setting. A couple being, “Does this goal help other people?” and “Does this goal help draw me and others closer to God?”. I’ll list my goals for the year below. I have a few posts planned to dig deeper into each goal and why I chose it for 2018 using Lara’s questions.

My main focus for 2018? What do I want the year to center around? Myself and God. Separately and together.

My Goals for 2018:

  • Build a (simple/flexible) daily routine.
  • Make time for God.
  • Complete an Ashley Horner training program/challenge.
  • Drink more water.
  • Blog every Sunday and Wednesday.
  • Read more books.
  • Sunday resets/prep for the week ahead.
  • Listen to more Christian music (aside from workouts).

With goal setting, I also chose a few tools I knew would help me along the way.

Tools I’m Using:

  • Lara Casey’s Powersheets: I used the six month undated version last year, but not nearly as much as I should have or hoped to. I purchased a yearly version along with the accessories bundle (I believe the bundle I purchased includes both of her books!) right before they sold out! The six month versions are still in stock!
  • Ashley Horner’s Becoming Extraordinary: I LOVE the gym. I know what weight lifting exercises I like and I LOVE to run. I wanted an extra push this year and something that I could start and finish. Dustin surprised me with the Becoming Extraordinary training program for Christmas. I’m nervous but SO excited!
  • Water Intake Tracker: Daily Water Reminder, Plant Nanny, and Water Minder are great apps to track water consumption. My Powersheets should arrive tomorrow and I think she has a water tracker there, so I may use that.
  • Evernote: I use this app to plan blog posts and keep things on my mind in one spot. It’s where I hope to one day build an weekly letter to readers.
  • Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner: only one design left for 2018! This planner is THE BEST. I used it last year and I fell in love with it because of the design. After using it regularly, I LOVE the Sunday resets. Meal prep and clean house for the win!
  • Inspirations: I use this app in the morning to be with God. There’s a verse for the day along with a journal entry where you’re asked a question. There’s also a daily devotion with another journal entry for the day.
  • Spotify: I’ve been a user for four or five years now. I love the ability to search artists, playlists, build my own playlist, or search an artist and play their “radio” (finds similar artists, like Pandora).

What are your goals for 2018? Don’t have any? That’s okay! What are you looking forward to most in the year ahead?

Love and light,
Chelsea