Brain Fog: 7 Action Steps that Will Help You Successfully Learn How to Cope Right Now

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provide structure and goals to prevent brain fog

I have to be very honest…there have been so many moments in which my brain fog is at an all time high because I lost my routine due to COVID. I have been trying to understand how to take control of how I spend my time and I want to help you to the same.

So how do you focus on getting clear?

1. Acknowledge the Anxiety

I noticed that I started forgetting things, I couldn’t focus and that uncomfortable tightness in my chest became front and center. I had to sit down and put my thoughts on paper, which leads me to point two. 

2. Examine How You Process and Organize Information

I typically start by writing everything down. Mind maps are hands down one of my favorite things to do. I can be messy and I don’t have to think about anything besides transcribing my thoughts from my brain to the paper in front of me. If you have never tried this before, here [insert mind map and image] is a freebie for you.

Trello..Trello…Trello

If you have not tried Trello before, highly recommend it. It allows me to organize myself with cards and tasks. You can check it out for yourself here. I definitely enjoy using this application for everything that I do, from business to personal projects. 

Journal

Besides mind maps, journaling has been my favorite form of stress relief. I write in my gratitude journal daily and it keeps me grounded. When I think about how far I’ve come, I can’t help but tear up. Need some inspiration? Check out my gratitude journal here

3. Manage Your Expectations of  What You Can and Can’t Do

We all know that when your thyroid is not working well and when things just aren’t where they need to be, brain fog can come crashing down in one fell swoop. Currently, many of us don’t have a clear boundary as it relates to where we work and live, we don’t have our typical routine and it becomes very challenging for us to view our homes in the same way. 

I had to quickly learn that I couldn’t focus on the million things that I thought I should be doing.

Phone to demonstrate a Social Media FastHave you gone on a social media fast yet?

If not, I highly recommend it as that was another part of the problem for me…seeing everyone have these great quarantine parties and fun…yeah I had to pass on those highlight reels and I think you should too. I found myself mindlessly eating as I scrolled and that’s when I decided that enough was enough…I needed to focus on what I was eating…

4. Tighten Up On Your Food Regimen

Studies have shown that our brain is 60% fat  and we have to make sure that we’re providing our bodies with good food. We need essential fatty acids in our diets and we all have to make sure that we focus on those things.

I don’t know about you, but when I wasn’t eating all that great, I felt nauseous and sluggish. As soon as I started cleaning up my diet, and actually eating more “brain foods”, I realized how much better I began to feel. 

close-up photo of vegetable saladOne of the amazing things about becoming a holistic nutrition professional is that I learned the benefits of  fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and more importantly fiber, can provide us an incredible amount of nutrients and energy. This week, I challenge you to try one more serving of fruits and vegetables. Here is a list of brain foods for you to focus on:

  • Dark green leafy veggies: Kale, Spinach, and collards
  • Fish/Foods high in omega 3 fatty acids: Salmon, Tuna, Cod, Flaxseed, Avocados and Walnuts
  • Berries: Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, and Blueberries
  • Caffeine: Think coffee or tea in the morning, but don’t overdo it.

5. Sleep

Sleep is such a vital component of our lives.  When you have a thyroid disease, however, sleep can be the farthest thing from your mind. Think about it, one minute you can barely keep your head up because you’re exhausted, but when it’s time to go to bed, suddenly you want to run a marathon and plan a month’s vacation! Five hours later, you’re still awake and you’re supposed to be up at 5am. 

Your body replenishes itself when you are asleep. It is really important to find ways to calm yourself so that you can truly rest. 

  • Try to unwind at least an hour before bed. Whenever I’ve been working and I jump right in bed, I can’t fall asleep right away. 
  • I have also tried to reduce electronics. Again, another thing that can be difficult as I often read when I can’t sleep. A good old fashioned book can do the trick here.
  • Think about your surroundings. Try to limit the amount of light in your room. I know that sometimes you can be really hot or really cold, but err on the cooler side in your room when you sleep. You can learn more about my techniques for creating a room for sleep by listening to my podcast episode from the Thyroid Warrior here

6. Move Your Body

Exercise is for everyone, regardless of whether you do high intensity interval training (HIIT) or if you walk. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of exercise. Remember, your thyroid maintains the cells involved in metabolism and by exercising, you increase that and this ultimately helps your thyroid. It reduces stress and anxiety as well as other risk factors that can impact your health.

Beginnings of Exercise…

When you start to exercise, START SLOW. Because of joint pain, you have to be gentle on your joints and avoid high impact routines right out the gate. If you decide to work with a personal trainer, tell them about your limitations. When I worked with my personal trainer, I let her know that some days would be better than others and I had to take things one step at a time because I didn’t want to hurt myself.

We started with low impact exercises and I worked my way up to the higher impact exercises and heavier weights. When I do my at home workout programs, I modify when I need to. I don’t worry about pushing myself to an extreme, and you shouldn’t either. More on exercise can be found on my podcast here.

7. Lastly, Water!

I get one question in particular A LOT: “What’s the right amount of water to drink each day”?. We’ve all heard, “drink half your body weight in ounces for water per day”, but I always challenge my clients to start small, and work up to the amount of water that is typically suggested based upon a conversation with you and your doctor . Dry skin, brain fog, digestive problems…all can be linked to not drinking enough water. 

There you have it friends…these seven tips have made a significant impact on my well being especially during COVID. Don’t forget to take things slow and don’t pressure yourself or allow comparison to steal your joy! I’m right there with you in terms of searching for peace and calm. We’re in this together.

 

References:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20329590/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15812120/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-much-water-should-you-drink

 

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