Brain fog, although this is not truly a medical condition, but it does describe how you feel. Your brain may be fuzzy, you have an inability to focus, and you may feel mentally slow. As though you know what is going on, but you can’t describe it. Answers may come very slow when asked a question.
Not an actual illness, but it may be a sign of other health issues. Brain fog will also affect the way you feel about yourself and the loss of mental clarity will seem to be a challenge that you cannot overcome.
There could be many different reasons that you are experiencing a brain fog. Some are health related, some may be from stress. A few of the possibilities include:
- Not getting enough sleep
- Stress levels are higher
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Chronic illness
- Hormonal conditions
- Viral Infections such as Covid-19, SARS and H1N1
Being in the midst of a Pandemic right now, it is important to discuss Covid-19. Covid can cause inflammation of the brain which will affect the way your neurons communicate with one another. But, it is important to understand that the stress of this Covid-19, the anxiousness, the isolation for long periods of time and the threat of catching this Covid no matter what you do is enough to give you brain fog.
This means seemingly all you can think of is the possibility of having Covid.
It may also be helpful to understand that brain fog could be the result of more than one cause.
When you are experiencing brain fog, you are ultimately experiencing cognitive malfunctions. Some of what people would notice, as well as yourself include:
- Inability to focus on an idea or thought
- Recalling things or conversations
- Paying attention to your surroundings
- Unable to focus on current conversations
- Inability to multitask
We should mention here that brain fog can cause headaches and mental fatigue. You may feel continually tired, as though you are struggling. This could be a result of trying to shake the brain fog, you try harder to focus, to multitask and tire yourself out with all the effort.
Ways To Help Reduce the Brain Fog
Again, while there is no medical condition labeled as brain fog, there are ways in which you can help yourself overcome the feeling of brain fog. These should at least help reduce the brain fog.
- Sleep is an important factor for your body. You should try to get on a fixed sleep schedule. The ideal number of hours is between 7 to 9 hours. Sleep is the time that your body and brain work on getting rid of all things toxic. In order to get to sleep, avoid all electronics for at least an hour before you lay down to go to bed.
- Stop Multitasking or trying to multitask. It is near impossible to multitask if you have a brain fog. Trying to focus on one task is hard enough, do not force yourself to try for more than one task.
- Try new things as a way to refocus your brain. Doing repetitive tasks will not aid in reducing the brain fog. It may actually put you into a daze making it even harder to focus. Try a new word game that you have to think about just a little, or a match 3 object game. This may help bring the brain back to focus.
- Take a break mentally. Sometimes what will help is to not think. It is good advice to listen to when someone says just relax. These breaks are times when you should not think about anything. Do not read, watch news, play games, nothing. Sit back, close your eyes and relax. Sit near a window and just stare at the scenery outside.
- Slow down and focus on one task at a time. Even if your job requires that you multitask, there will be times that you need to stop, breathe and one little thing at a time. This will help you regain mental clarity.
- Stay active. Whether it is socially on the phone, out walking in the park or keeping your distance, masking up and visiting others. Staying social will help you begin to feel like yourself again. It will improve your mood, memory and your cognition.
- Meditating is one way many people are able to regain their focus or help reduce the brain fog. Meditation helps to center yourself, reduce stress and relax your brain and your body.
- Stay Physically active by exercising or going for walks. If it helps, join a gym or take advantage of the online training. When your body feels better, your mind will feel better, and when that happens, the brain fog lessens.
- Medications for chronic illnesses should be taken on schedule. Skipping the medication will make you feel worse. You need to continue to try to be the best you that you can be. If needed, speak to your Physician about medications. Your Physician could also recommend a therapist if you are depressed.
- Eat healthy foods. It is so easy to slack off and eat fast food and junk during the time of this pandemic. It may take self discipline, but you need to stick to a healthy eating plan. Again, if your body is not at it’s best, your mind cannot be at it’s best. Your mind and body actually work better together. So feed the smart choices.
- Avoid mood altering substances. Drugs and alcohol impair all of your senses. Not only that, they will adversely affect your brain.
Covid Brain Fog
That brain fog gives you the feeling of being spaced out. This means you definitely do not need anything foreign in your system such as drugs and alcohol. How long this brain fog lasts is a matter of time. It could last just a few minutes or it could last years. Sometimes, it may go away on its own, and other times you need to work through it.
As far as the Covid brain fog, there is no answer to how long the Covid brain fog will last. Some tests are showing that it can last for some people for at least 7.5 months. Keeping in contact with your Physician in regards to the brain fog will lead him to keep a closer eye on you and do any tests that he warrants as necessary.
Other than medical professionals helping to determine why you have brain fog, all one can functionally do is stay active, social, help yourself by sleeping, exercising, lowering stress and eating healthy meals. Avoid any mood altering substances including alcohol.
When your memory is affected by brain fog, the best plan of action is to repeat, repeat and then repeat some more. Repeating information will strengthen your memory. For example, when you are introduced to a new person, repeat their name to help your memory be able to recall it.
Sometimes a brain fog will happen after you have eaten. This could be due to food allergies or sensitivities. It could be gluten intolerance or your blood sugars are off, either too high or too low. Dehydration could also put you in a state of brain fog, this is why you are constantly being told to stay hydrated.
As for food sensitivities, it is highly recommended to avoid the quick ready made foods. Most of these have additives and preservatives that will affect your body at times. To remain healthy, it is a good idea to carry fruit with you to work, some vegetables or other healthy foods.
To reiterate all the things that can help you, cut the time you spend on electronics, get a decent amount of sleep, eat healthy and stay active both physically and mentally. Find ways to lower the stress levels by meditating, doing yoga and being active socially. Do not stop talking to friends and family due to isolation.
This is the time you need to lean on each other for keeping moods up and fighting off depression. Covid is not an issue that is going away anytime soon. Follow the recommended guidelines such as vaccination, masks and so forth to keep as healthy as you can.
If there is someone you know that is showing symptoms, keep your distance. You can still speak to each other, just keep the recommended 6 feet of space between you both.
Exercising your body and your brain will do great things for you. There are many suggestions of word games, mnemonics, repetitions of words that help you fight the brain fog. No matter what these times bring to you, always remember you are not alone.
There are millions going through the same situations. If your moods continue to be negative, I hope you call a friend you trust, speak to your family or simply call your medical offices and speak to a nurse, a therapist or your family physician.
Taking time for yourself may sound silly when we are told to isolate ourselves. Time for yourself also means to do something just for you. Buy that book you wanted to read, a new movie or CD. Find something just for you.