Fumbling Through the Haze of Brain Fog

7 Ways to Get Back on Track

Do you ever deal with a lack of clarity, sluggishness, or an inability to concentrate? Sometimes, the best way to describe it is just feeling “fuzzy.” I’m confident this is something we’ve all felt at times, but if you deal with this regularly, it’s time to get to the root of the brain fog so you can feel top-notch.

Here are seven ways to kick brain fuzzies to the curb and lift the fog:

Ditch the sugar

I know, I know. Easier said than done, right? Sugar might give you initial pep, but what comes next is the energy plummet. Simple carbohydrates can also slow you down and make you feel sluggish.

Stop sitting for long periods

You may have an office job that has you sitting at a desk for most of the day, but taking short breaks throughout the day can combat the inactivity.

So get up every 30 minutes to an hour to stretch or take a quick lap around the office. This movement gets the blood circulating and keeps things going throughout the day.

Make sleep and meditation top priorities

Why do we always put sleep on the back burner? Start going to bed earlier each night.  If this is a recurring issue in your life, start by going to bed 30 minutes earlier each night for a week, and adding another 30 minutes the following week — until you get to a decent bedtime that gets you the sleep you need.  During the day, aim to meditate for at least 5-10 minutes. Meditation has the effect of making you feel well-rested and improves your mental well-being, clearing the fog.

Spend your spare time on cognitive puzzles

It’s too easy to zone out on the TV or social media. Challenge your mind to crosswords, sudoku, and other cognitive puzzles and games to keep your mind sharp.

Say ‘sayonara’ to stress

Focus on what stresses you out the most and turn it around for the better. There are always baby step improvements we can make to lessening our stress load — so start small, and start with something reasonable and actionable you can easily adjust to. If you haven’t been moving your body, also focus on some type of movement you enjoy to get your blood pumping, and your stress levels evened out.

Give St. John’s Wort a try

It’s a natural mood booster that could help you shake off that feeling of being “off” with brain fog. Don’t forget to consult your doctor first to make sure it won’t interfere with any medications you’re taking.

If nothing seems to help, though, schedule an appointment with your doctor to get thoroughly checked out. Brain fog can merely be a symptom of lack of sleep, or pushing yourself too hard. But it can also indicate an underlying condition if it persists. Chances are, if you make some of these changes and see no improvement, your doctor will need to get to the root cause to help you clear the fog away.

Affordable Ways to Improve Your Health on a Daily Basis

Adding new healthy habits can feel daunting. Being inundated with the latest eating plans, the newest organic superfood drink, trendy gym classes — it can all be a lot. On top of being overwhelming in general, these things can add up in price. A healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be that way, and today I’m including seven ways that you can improve your health for little to no cost at all.

Be Physically Active
You don’t need a gym membership or personal trainer to move your body. There are loads of free resources on the internet for workouts that you can do at home with no equipment at all. You can also go for a walk or run outside when the weather is nice. If you wish, you can invest in minimal equipment, such as resistance bands, to increase the intensity of your at home workouts without breaking the bank.

Intermittent Fasting
Lately, many scientific studies have been demonstrating that intermittent fasting can give you tremendous health benefits. You can choose a split that works best for you and your schedule, but the most common breakdown is an 8-hour eating frame and a 12-hour fast. This isn’t just great for weight and fat loss; studies have shown that it can improve cell regeneration and help prevent illness. Check with your medical professional to make sure fasting is right for you.

Take Cold Showers
Cold showers can stimulate your nervous system and improve your heart rate. Try to take a cold shower first thing in the morning—not only will it really wake you up, but it can also improve heart health.

Meditate
Meditating is good for both the body and mind. Take time to meditate each day, and you will notice a dramatic decrease in your stress levels, which not only makes you feel happier and more relaxed but also improves your physical health. When we are stressed out, our bodies release too much cortisol— our stress hormone— which can increase inflammation and have negative effects on our physical health. By de-stressing, you can take care of your mental and physical health.

Practice Your Breathing
Take some time each day to completely clear your mind and focus solely on your breathing. Practice taking slow, deep breaths instead of the short and shallow breathing that we often unconsciously do when we’re feeling stressed. This can also be part of your meditation practice.

Drink Enough Water
Water is the healthiest thing you can drink —and it is free. Make sure you’re drinking half of your body weight in oz of water each day and make it a habit to drink a big glass first thing in the morning. If you want to do a little extra, you can have a cup of warm lemon water in the morning to kickstart your metabolism and make you feel like you started your day on a healthy note. That way, you’ll be more inclined and motivated to keep up the healthy habits for the rest of the day.

Spend Time in Nature
You don’t need to exercise outside every day, but you should spend at least 30 minutes in nature, whether you’re moving your body or just sitting in the park. Spending time in nature is fantastic for reducing stress and clearing our minds. The fresh air is good for waking you up if you feel groggy or unmotivated.

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.

How Eating When Stressed-Out Can Actually Cause Weight Gain

Wouldn’t it be easier if we craved a large veggie-filled salad when we’re stressed? Unfortunately, it seems to be the opposite — we tend to look for comfort in food when we’re stressed out or anxious. Not only do our choices seem to change when we’re stressed, but our body actually processes food differently when we’re under stress.

This is called the fight or flight mode. Your hormones are naturally programmed to release chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol when you feel stressed. Elevated amounts of these hormones regularly give us feelings of hunger, putting us on an endless cycle of reaching for comfort foods and eating more than we need.

Another side effect is a slower metabolism. Those stress hormones being released regularly slows down the metabolism. Because stress messes with our brain’s wiring for rewards and our cortisol levels trick us into wanting more fat and sugar, we automatically head toward those comfort foods during times of stress.

And finally, one of the most significant factors for making poor eating choices when you’re stressed out is lack of sleep. Lack of sleep affects the chemicals that control your appetite, which can begin another seemingly endless cycle of the hamster wheel. Make sleep a priority. Aim for 7-8 hours a night, even if you have to rearrange the schedule you’re accustomed to.

But now that you know where your stress is taking you, you can do something about it. First of all — name your stressors. What are the top things that cause you to stress? Comment below.

It’s important to fit exercise into your schedule, even if all you have time for is a brisk 10-minute walk. When you do sit down for a meal, practice mindfulness instead of zoning out in front of your phone or the television.

Stress is something that we can’t eradicate completely, but we cause a lot of the stress we undergo. For example, we feel stressed because we’re unorganized, unprepared, and our home is in disarray. These are all very common reasons for being under stress, and they’re so fixable! Make a plan to tackle the things that are causing you stress, and start chipping away at them.

You’ll be amazed at how much your digestion improves, your sleep quality improves, and you’ll feel lighter.

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!

 

Healthy Ways to Lose Weight This Summer

The summer months are among us — when we start to break out of our hibernation and get out into the sunshine. We shed our sweaters for shorts and tank tops, swimsuits and sundresses. But if you didn’t quite reach the New Year Resolutions you set for yourself, you may be feeling a little apprehensive. Swimsuit weather can trigger self-conscious thoughts as we so easily get lost in comparison-mode.

Here are a few of the tried and true ways to get healthy this summer — no fad diets, no pills, no tricks.

1. Daily Movement
Many people seem to ignore the significant beneficial results merely walking around has. While jogging or running can be better, not everyone enjoys it as a form of exercise. That “not being able to breathe” side effect of a decent jog can make some people forgo the activity altogether. However, if you want to walk for an hour or two instead, that is an entirely acceptable alternative. It doesn’t have to be hours at the gym to be a good workout.

2. Eat Healthy
Food advice changes by the month it seems. One day coffee is good for you, and the next it’s on the do not consume list. It’s so hard to keep up with the controversial information and know what is acceptable, right?

In general, the science itself is pretty clear (and common sense in many areas) on what we should be eating to be healthy, and what we should be avoiding. Eat plenty of plant foods, ditch the junk food, and drink plenty of water. Salads may sound boring, but a delicious veggie stir-fry or a hearty white bean soup can mix it up quite a lot. Don’t overthink it, just reach for foods the Earth grows and you’ll be feeling fabulous in no time.

3. Drink Fluids
Most of us do not drink nearly enough water each day. This can cause us to eat more and feel more tired, even when in reality, all we are is a bit thirsty. Strive to drink half of your body weight in ounces each day, spreading it out throughout your day. You will no longer get hunger pangs as often and will learn over time to know the difference between hunger, and thirst.

So regardless of how much you want to lose, just doing a little bit every day works like a charm. If walking alone is not impact enough for you, then jog, run, dance, or do whatever else will get you to move and more often.

Give Your Sleep Habits a Spring Makeover

With the arrival of Spring finally among us, most of us are also dealing with daylight savings time and the change that that brings. The longer days and waking up while it’s still dark outside can take a toll on our sleep cycle. This makes Spring the perfect time to take a good look at your sleeping habits and nighttime routine to see where some tweaks can be made to improve your sleep this Spring and beyond.

So take note: are you getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night? Do you toss and turn or do you sleep peacefully during the night? Do you wake up feeling refreshed in the morning?

Sleep deprivation and sleep problems are incredibly common, so chances are you struggle with at least one of those. Here are a few ways you can overhaul your sleep patterns and habits this spring and beyond:

Implement a calming bedtime routine 30 minutes to an hour before you hop into bed. Try going tech-free at least 30 minutes before bed and see what a difference it makes on calming your mind and how you sleep more peacefully.

Try stretching before bed, even just a few stretches on the floor beside your bed before you settle in for the night. Small stretches to stretch through your muscles and help them relax the stress from the day away. This also enables you to get back in your body and keep your mind from floating around from thought to thought as you try to drift away to sleep.

Aside from ways to help you get to sleep, ideas to help you wake up refreshed are also great to implement right now. Start by looking up some healthy morning tonics or smoothies on Pinterest and finding one that piques your interest. Try that starting this week in the morning and use that as afew minutes to yourself to wake up and start your day. If possible, incorporate some movement for 10-15 minutes to get your blood pumping. This could be a walk around the block, doing a few yoga poses, or something more vigorous, if you’re up to it in the mornings.

The new year brings resolutions to finally go to the gym regularly and to get your health in order.  It’s no surprise to you to hear that the vast majority of those resolutions are dropped by spring (or even late January, early February!) — but why?

I truly believe it is planning.  It’s the exact reason why my exercise routine goes dormant, and it’s probably why yours does too.  It’s tough to change our habits and routines, and most of all, it’s hard to fit one more thing into our schedule.  Don’t you agree?

That’s the thing.  If it’s not on your schedule, it’s not going to get done.  Do you have your exercise, whether it be walking, jogging, yoga, dance, a workout at the gym — is it on your schedule?  Is there a time for it, where you know that time is carved out?

If not, fit it into your schedule this week.  Make it achievable — if you’re slammed at work this week, write in a 15-minute walk on your lunch break.  Don’t give up altogether because you don’t have an hour and a half to hit the gym.  Good luck!

What’s your favorite type of exercise?

Do you love yoga, Pilates, running, walking, swimming?

Have you found an exercise you don’t dread doing, and that you actually enjoy?

My favorite form of exercise is:  running.  I love cycling and yoga too 🙂

When I finally realized I didn’t have to do all the other kinds I dreaded, I stopped making excuses and actually looked forward to my exercise time.  Eliminating the exercise types you don’t enjoy and focusing on the ones you love shifts your perspective of working out altogether.

There are so many options to choose from, you are bound to like at least a few.  It’s perfectly okay if you aren’t a cross-country runner, or you just haven’t gotten into yoga like everyone else has.

My least favorite type of exercise is: lifting weights in the gym.

Finding what works for you is as simple as trial and error.

Which exercises have you tried that just absolutely aren’t for you?

The sun goes down before 6 pm, it’s cold and grey, and it can really mess up our groove.  Does this happen to you, too?

This is a huge reason New Year Resolutions are so popular.  It can be quite difficult during the coldest months when we naturally go into hibernation mode.  The Winter Blues are very real, and chances are you’ve dealt with them yourself.

Instead of letting the blues get you this year, try these tips to stay on top of them until the sun comes back out this Spring.

  • Find some sort of exercise.  Even if it’s a stroll around your apartment building or a 10-minute workout on YouTube.  Keeping your endorphins happy a few times a week will help with the slump.
  • Find a way to give back.  Helping people in need is a heart-swelling opportunity to shift our perspective and do something great with our time.
  • Be mindful of the season.  If you know you get the blues this time of year, make decisions with that in mind so that you can set yourself up for success.

What have you noticed that helps you crawl out of the winter blues slump?  Let me know in the comments below.