The pandemic has seen us overhaul our lives, but in the least energetic way.
With plenty more solitude and screen time under our belts, how might this have impacted upon our brain health?
Though things feel closer to normal, there’s still an adjustment process to go through as the daily commute and other patterns that went missing from our lives return.
With that depletion in energy and sudden faster pace can come brain fog, say Audley Villages.
Neuro-linguistic programming coach Rebecca Lockwood says the phenomenom is characterised by being unable to concentrate.
‘When you are unfocussed and constantly in your mind thinking of things and worrying it can leave the brain feeling foggy and unfocussed making it hard to concentrate,’ she explains.
‘It’s important for your emotional and mental wellbeing to consistently look after your mental health.
‘Brain fog can leave you feeling like you are unable to concentrate for long enough to do anything productive.
‘It can also leave you feeling as though making the smallest of decisions is hard, can cause headaches and heightened stress and anxiety levels.’
Not just a momentary lapse in clarity, regular brain fog can affect you at a deeper level.
These are some quick ways to avoid brain fog from setting in.
Take regular breaks
Breaks serve to give your brain a rest – this can’t be underestimated if you’re someone that always pushes onto the next thing.
‘If you are feeling like you need a time out, then take one,’ Rebecca says.
‘Have no expectations of yourself and what you should be doing and allow yourself to honour the feelings you have.’
Ditch digital screens
Though perhaps a tired suggestion, there’s a reason experts remind us of this time and time again.
Rebecca explains the science of why this is so impactful: ‘Staring at screens a lot can cause you to go into foveal vision too much.
‘This is when you are only focussed on the thing right in front of you. This alone can heighten stress levels and cause you to feel less motivated to do much else.
‘The opposite of this is peripheral vision.
‘When we are in peripheral vision, we are able to focus on all of the things around us at the same time, this leaves us feeling calmer and more grounded within ourselves.’
When you’re relaxing, actually remove your phone and other things that you routinely pause to check.
As the act of checking a phone is so habitual, you might not realise how much it cuts into your downtime.
Rebecca recommends moving items like is out of the space you’re occupying ‘and eliminating any other distractions that may tease you into doing something else instead’.
Drink and sleep well
Brain fog is going to come up more easily if you haven’t slept well over a consistent period.
Nutritionist Ellie Busby says seven to eight hours of sleep every night is the goal, while increasing your water consumption to at least 1.5 litres each day can help too.
Analyse your diet
If this act feels alien to you, Ellie recommends logging your food and supplement intake over a few days.
You can use an app or note it down on paper, but the act will make you more aware of the gaps in your nutrition.
‘Make sure you’re supplementing B12 and iodine every day if you’re vegan or vegetarian, and make sure you’re getting enough iron if your ferritin levels are low,’ she adds.
If you struggle to relax, find activities that have a low mental impact to ease into taking time off.
Ellie says: ‘Take part in activities that help you relax and reduce your stress levels such as going for a walk, yoga or reading as they can be a great way to reduce the effects of brain fog.’
Brain fog can be eased with proactive self-care.
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