Why You Might Have Brain Fog

and How to Clear it Up

Brain fog can be characterized by a lack of concentration, an inability to make decisions, frequent headaches, and nausea, to name a few. Is this something you struggle with regularly? A few common causes of brain fog could range from a nutrient deficiency, lack of proper sleep, ingesting an abundance of sugar, a thyroid condition, or even depression. Inactivity and chronic stress can also unleash brain fog, so there are a lot of factors at play when nailing down what’s causing your brain fog.

Luckily, you don’t have to keep your head in the clouds for too long. Here’s what you can do about it.

Try intermittent fasting
It’s well-known for helping you lose stubborn weight, but intermittent fasting can also improve your neurological well-being. You can ease into it by extending the timeframe between the last meal you eat in one day and the first meal you eat on the next day. A popular intermittent fasting method is 16:8, which means you’re fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8-hour window. For example, this would pan out by eating dinner at 7 pm and not eating again until 11 am the next day.

Avoid sedentary behavior
Through no fault of our own, many of our jobs require us to log long hours behind a desk. Increased activity levels are known for boosting your mental acuity, so even if your schedule truly is packed, there are still things you can do to get moving. Take a 10-minute walk around the office a few times a day to stretch your legs and get your blood moving, or spend your lunch break getting some activity in. You can even invest in a DeskCycle, and you can even get a workout in AT your desk. It’s a small under the desk bicycle that allows you to “ride” a bike while seated at your desk.

Sleep on it
I don’t need to tell you your body needs enough sleep to function properly. Rest is one of the most crucial aspects of your overall health, so get that sleep you need by going to bed a little earlier every night until you’re getting more Zzz’s. If you have trouble sleeping soundly, investigate some natural ways to get a proper nights sleep, and see what works best for you.

Get into meditation
It can be hard to shut off the noise in your head, which is why many people feel like giving up when they first try meditation. Instead, download some healing frequencies that help you tune into your mind. There are also some fantastic apps you can download on your phone, such as Headspace and Calm, which can help you become a meditation pro.

Make the food you eat count
Food really is the way to balance your health. You need to make sure you are getting enough of the food your brain needs to work optimally. Eat omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and whole foods loaded with vitamins and minerals for your best brain health. Try adding some MCT oil into your morning coffee or taking it a step further for some “bulletproof” coffee (google it, it sounds strange, but it wakes up your brain in a snap!)

When most people focus on their health, they often put more emphasis on their physical aspects. But well-rounded health comes from balancing both physical and mental. Give some of these tips a shot and see what helps lift the brain fog for you.

Turning Your “To Do” List List Into a “To Be” List

for improved productivity

Are to-do lists daunting to you? For me, staring at a to-do list can be extremely overwhelming and lead down the road of procrastination. See, the thing with those “to-do” lists is that they usually contain a not-so-effective word. Should. It’s not that it’s a bad word, but when you’re trying to make goals and stick to them, “should” feels more like what others expect of us rather than what we genuinely expect of ourselves.

Instead, we “should” be putting the focus on what we desire. That’s why making a “to-be” list is best, which will lead you right down the alley of the “to-do” you’re after. Once I made this shift into writing “to be” lists for myself, a weight was lifted from my shoulders.

Personally, I think we focus too much on what we need to DO, instead of who we need and desire to BE. We’re so much more than a worker bee sailing through to-do lists every day of the week, and acknowledging that is huge.

So, what is this “to be” list I speak of, and how do you do it?

First, start by writing it down.

Take a moment to yourself to think about what you want to become. Do you want to be a better parent? An artist? More focused on your health? Whatever it is, think about what would bring you the most joy.

Compare it to your “to-do” list
Next, hold that “to-be” list up next to your “to-do” list. If your “to-do” list doesn’t support the things you want to be, you need to make some adjustments.

Make it tangible
What is it you want to become? Your “to-be” list and “to-do” list should mirror each other. Perhaps you want to be more organized. Then your “to-do” list might instruct you to take on an organizational project, like clearing out the garage. Perhaps you want more spirituality. Then your “to-do” list would include time for you to explore that.

Always keep your lists at hand
Both of your lists should always be near so you can refer to them in times when you need more inspiration to stick to your goals. When you set clear paths to your goals, it’s so much easier to become what you dream of being.

Shift your focus
So many times, we zero in our focus on the things we lack. Instead, we need to think of where we intend to go without bashing ourselves. No matter the goal, you must focus on enriching your life and filling it with purpose.

It’s essential to keep on the right path to accomplishing your goals. Set your priorities about who you want to become, and you’ll have an easier time on the journey to getting there. And really, isn’t that where all the fun is? Go for it!

Have you heard of the Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index is a method of assigning a number to carbohydrate-containing foods according to how much each food increases blood sugar levels.

There are three categories that food is placed in:

  • Low GI (55 or less) – Choose these most often
  • Medium GI (56-69) – Choose these less often
  • High GI (70 or more) – Choose these least often

Regulating your blood sugar is important, even if you don’t suffer from blood sugar troubles.

Here are some examples of foods that fall within these categories:

Low GI foods: apples, bananas, strawberries, carrots, chickpeas, cashews.

High GI foods: watermelon, potato, cereals, white bread, white rice.

Highly processed foods fall on the High GI list, and a great place to start is avoiding highly processed foods.  Have you found it difficult to kick the processed foods?  What’s been the hardest to ditch for you?

 

What is Intuitive Eating?

If you’ve never heard the phrase “intuitive eating” — listen up, because it’s life-altering.

Intuitive eating proposes breaking free from the on-and-off cycle of dieting and learning to eat mindfully and without guilt. There’s no calorie counting or restrictions on certain foods — alternately, you learn to make peace with food and use it for nourishment instead of comfort.

At its core, intuitive eating is learning to tap into your intuition and honor your body.

–  Eat nourishing foods when you feel hungry without overdoing it.

–  Learn how to feel satisfaction from other areas of your life, without using food for comfort, satisfaction or a feeling of belonging.

–  Learn to respect your body for all it does for you, and you’ll naturally become more gentle and mindful with your choices.

It’s quite radically different than the yo-yo dieting our society is used to, but learning to eat intuitively is a lifestyle that will carry you through your years with ease.

What self-help books have been on your bookshelf lately?

I’m a big fan of reading, especially inspirational, motivational, and self-help books. I’m always looking for new recommendations, so let’s create a great resource here in the comments below.

Let me know what your favorite inspirational/motivational/self-help book(s) are!

Ways to Manage Your Smartphone Addiction

and be more present

Looking for New Year’s resolutions that will change your life? I invite you to consider making a promise to yourself to be more present in your life and put your phone down. Look, I totally get it that smartphones have made life much easier for us all. You can’t get lost thanks to GPS, you can find exactly what you need in the palm of your hand and shop smarter at the supermarket, and you can be more efficient.

But for many of us, we get sucked into the mindless stuff we can use on our smartphones too. From endless newsfeeds to time-wasting  apps, it can cause us to be glued to our phones instead of living in the moment with friends, family, and our kids.

Be honest, do you have a phone addiction? Let me know in the comments below where you fall on this spectrum.

Take control in 2019 to be more present and enjoy more of life through your eyes, not the lens of your phone. Here are 5 ways to make that happen.

Watch how much time you spend on your phone
It might help to keep a log as we often use our phones for business too. If you’re an iPhone user, the latest iOS update now includes a screen-time breakdown where you can see how much time you’re spending on your phone, and where. You’ll be shocked by the amount of time you’re spending. Thankfully, you can use settings to kick you off your phone if you’re using it too much, to retrain yourself.

Turn off useless notifications
Go to your notifications and turn them off for apps you don’t need. There’s no reason to be notified every single time one of your photos gets a like. Set a time of day where you’ll go to those apps and catch up, and set a time limit for how much time you’ll spend. When the time is up, close the app until tomorrow.

Do something more meaningful
Not all apps are a waste of time. Some of them can inspire you to do other things. One called Giantgood provides suggestions for how to add more meaning while putting your phone down. You might be told to go for a walk after dinner, call someone you love, or do something kind for a complete stranger.

Spend time outdoors
When was the last time you spent an afternoon outdoors? And no, walking from the parking lot to your office doesn’t count! I mean when did you last connect with the outdoor world? You don’t need to be a rustic outdoorsy person to benefit from nature. Just get out there and do something you enjoy, and ignore your phone while you’re there.

Say “no” to devices at dinner
For the family, enjoy more time together at the table by leaving devices off of it. Enact the rule that no one is allowed to use their smartphones or tablets, or even watch TV while you’re at the dinner table. This helps you reconnect in the real world. Find fun dinner conversations online to print off and have on hand to engage in an enjoyable discussion each night at dinnertime.

Start with one of these tips and gradually adjust to create a balance between the real world and the glossy virtual world we create and you’ll find you’re more satisfied with your life. And, who doesn’t want that?!

Why Financial Wellness is Important For Your Overall Health

We often consider our physical and mental wellbeing, but there’s something else we need to focus on to be genuinely healthy overall: financial wellness.

Finances can be taboo or uncomfortable to talk about, but it’s also incredibly important, so let’s dig in. Learning to successfully and consistently manage your finances in responsible ways is crucial to overall health. When you don’t control your money well or are in financial trouble, it can lead to stress, anxiety, and fear.

Some of us are left with the burden of debt from college while others merely don’t make enough money. But we don’t need to be investment bankers or rake in six-figure salaries to achieve financial wellness. It’s never too late to develop financially-smart tactics to get into a state of financial wellness.

Suffering from financial stress can cause you to experience the following:

• Resentment: If your debt is a result of your spouse going back to school, losing their job, or even your own anger toward your company for not paying you enough, you may harbor feelings of resentment that tear at you from the inside out.

• Stress: Wondering how you’re going to get by is stressful on its own.  Jumping every time an unknown phone number pops up on your phone just adds to it.

• Shame and embarrassment: It doesn’t matter how things have gone astray, the stigma of debt can make us feel isolated.

These feelings are isolating and can wreak havoc on your health and life. There are some steps you can take to make improvements to your situation — and it may take years to revamp your financial situation thoroughly. But knowing you’re taking baby steps in that direction instead of going backward will leave you feeling accomplished, and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel will hopefully lead you through those days.

Stop putting it off
Settle those debts. If needed, find a credit counselor that can help you make a plan and get on track. Make the plan, even if the plan takes years to complete. Just having a plan in place will show you it’s achievable and that alone is an incredible and encouraging feeling.

Stay organized
We get in over our heads when we fling our charge cards around. For the new year, make a fresh start by keeping tabs on what you’re buying and ask yourself before you buy it if it’s 1) necessary and 2) you can afford it. If you can’t, don’t buy it. There is a slew of budgeting apps out there that can help you with this, such as Mint.

Plan ahead
Set budget goals to help you get to where you want to be. If you’re paying off a student or car loan, you can set aside a certain amount per month to pay toward it. An app called Digit helps with this.

Cut out excess
Stop spending on things you don’t need — you may want that $5 latte, but you do not NEED it. Even if you cut out that café stop every morning, you’ll save around $100 monthly that you can use to apply to your financial wellness.

Keep your other areas of wellness balanced 
Take care of your overall health as you work to repair your financial wellness. It will bring you the balance and strength you need to get you through this.

By exercising good financial habits, you will come out on top in the end. Even doing one thing daily toward your financial wellness can serve to make you feel loads better, so make this a priority going into the New Year and let’s make 2019 different.

How to Get Control of Your Busy Mind

Do you ever have those times when your mind is racing, and you can’t seem to catch up? Maybe your schedule is jam-packed, and you haven’t had a quiet minute to yourself in what seems like forever, or you tend to worry about every little detail on a daily basis — either way, your brain is on the go constantly. Sound about right?

Nevertheless, don’t worry. It’s not an issue exclusive to you, an active mind is
something we all deal with. A busy brain isn’t a bad thing, but when it overtakes us
and controls us instead of the other way around, that’s when trouble can creep in.
Being mindful of this and practicing some tricks daily to maintain control of your
busy mind is as easy as this…

1. Meditation
Meditation is a great way to calm yourself down after a stressful episode or a busy day. All you have to do is sit still and clear your mind, take some deep breaths, and keep practicing until it works. It might take awhile to implement fully, but once you are able to utilize it, you will be able to finally enjoy some peace.

2. Exercise
Working out is a great way to reduce stress and even get in some beneficial exercise in the process. Whether it is dance, yoga, or simply taking a walk, mindful movement has been known to reduce stress and even help to increase productivity and strengthen your attention span. And who doesn’t need that?!

3. Avoid overstimulation
Whether it is watching TV, reading articles on your phone, or even just chatting with people, we live in an era where we are stimulated all the time. This can make us stressed out more often. Be mindful of cutting down on technology or screen time that causes this stimulation, especially when you are feeling stressed. What are some activities you can do that don’t involve technology or screen time?

4. Make art
No matter how good you are at painting, drawing, or even crafting, having a creative hobby is a great way for you to do more mindless work. Knitting is a good hobby for many, and you can make scarves and hats to keep yourself warm or to provide for family and friends during the holiday season.

Regardless of where you are in life, finding a great way to relax is vital for pretty much all of us. Being pressured and stressed can feel like an everyday occurrence, but with a little relaxation, we can start to retake control of our lives.

One of my most favorite things about cooking is all the different variations of toppings you can cook with.  Condiments, spices, herbs — there’s just so much to consider, and so many options to choose from.  You can prepare the same exact ingredients several days in a row, using various spices or marinades each day, and you have a different meal each day.  Condiments make cooking more manageable and much more delicious.

There are even incredible health benefits to these herbs, spices, and seasonings you can add to each meal.  For example, mustard contains turmeric (it’s what gives mustard the bright yellow color) which is hailed as an incredible anti-inflammatory, and an antioxidant powerhouse.

What’s your favorite condiment to add to your meals?

When’s the last time you disconnected from your phone for a bit?

It can feel like an impossibility — what if someone needs you? What if you get an important phone call? They’re all valid questions, but the answer is — life will go on, and you’ll find out soon enough. You likely don’t even know what it feels like to not have your phone within reach if you’re anything like me.  It’s become such an integrated part of our lives that we don’t even consider going without it.

Starting to break the invisible chain between you and your phone can feel awkward, uneasy and uncomfortable at first… but the rewards are amazing.

Start small today by taking a walk outside without your phone. Notice how you feel, how you notice things differently, and what your mind is thinking about.

Come back and let me know how it went, I want to know!