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.

Reversing the Affects of Stress

Long-term stress can be quite dangerous. Not only does it cause significant mental and emotional distress, but it can also have some severe effects on your physical health, as well. Cortisol is the hormone released when we are under any type of stress, whether it’s acute or long-term.

However, when we are stressed for an extended period of time, the adrenal glands that are responsible for producing cortisol eventually cannot keep up. This is known as adrenal fatigue, which can leave you feeling extraordinarily exhausted and unwell.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to heal your adrenal fatigue and reverse the effects of long-term stress.

Get some Much-Needed Rest
When we feel as though our to-do list is endless and we are notably stressed, the last thing we prioritize is rest. However, if you’re feeling burnt out, your body is probably begging you for some rest and recovery. When we get enough rest (and sleep!), our body can switch from the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which is our stress response system, to the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which allows our body to recover.

Focus on your Breathing
The PNS and SNS are both parts of our autonomic nervous system, meaning that we don’t have much or any control over these functions. However, our breathing is one thing we can control, even though we don’t have to consciously think about it to do it. When we are feeling stressed or anxious, our breathing often becomes shallow and rapid, signaling to our body that we are stressed. This, in turn, releases more cortisol. Spend at least a few minutes each day to focus on your breathing and take slow, deep breaths. This will signal to your body that there is no danger, and your body will slowly begin to recover from the effects of long-term stress.

Laugh More!
This is a given— the most effective way to reverse the effects of stress is to de-stress. Take time to enjoy your life. Do things that make you laugh, spend time with people that make you happy, read books that have been on your list for ages. Doing something you enjoy is crucial to your overall wellbeing. Even if you’re going through a tough time, there can always be moments of joy and laughter that can help you to de-stress and feel good. As the famous quote goes, “laughter is the best medicine.”

Practice Yoga or Meditation
Other extremely effective ways to reduce your stress levels are yoga or meditation. First, this practice greatly focuses on deep breathing
techniques, which, as we have already discussed, are extremely important for shifting your body into the PNS state. Meditating can also shift your mindset and help you focus on things you are grateful for instead of all the stressful and bad things going on in your life. You can also create a gratitude journal and take time daily to reflect on the positive things. This simple shift in mindset can be enough to change the way you react to everyday stressors completely.

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.

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.

How fast do you get ready for bed at night?  Is it a quick routine you have become so accustomed to that you could do it with your eyes closed, or is it more of an experience you choose to be mindful of, using relaxation techniques?

Taking a few extra minutes for yourself at bedtime to pamper your skin, dry brush your body, or use a lotion infused with lavender oil to nourish your skin before you sleep — it can change your sleep patterns for the better.

What could you add to your nightly routine to make all the difference?

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.

Start Your Day Right This Fall

There’s just something magical about the autumn breeze that ignites a desire to enjoy life a little deeper — do you agree? It’s a perfect time to make some changes you’ve meant to make, and I want to share with you a few of my favorite morning habits to implement as fall begins — ones that I may have been a bit lackluster with during the summer months.

Starting off the day with movement. A morning jog or walk in the cool air is a fantastic way to wake yourself up and fill up your energy reserves for the day. There’s a short window of time to enjoy this before the weather gets too cold, so don’t miss out! You can work-out indoors if it’s too cold already, but doing so outdoors has quite a magical tone this time of year.

A warm breakfast. When you come back in from your morning run or walk, nothing is more soothing that preparing yourself a hot, healthy breakfast to enjoy. This can warm you back up from being outside and allows yourself a healthy breakfast to keep you satisfied until lunch.

Sleep in just a little longer. Hopefully, you’re getting enough sleep at night already, which is incredibly important for your well-being. But as the temperature drops and the sun rises a little later in the mornings, get a few extra minutes of sleep as well, if possible.

Drink your water. Begin your day with a big glass of warm water and some lemon to give your metabolism a boost and feel energized instantly. Doing so also starts the habit of drinking water, so you’ll continue to drink throughout the day.

What are your current morning habits, if any? I start my day feeding and walking my Boxers, then I read a few devotionals.  I really love the First 5 app.  A few days a week I go for a run with a friend.  I also like doing Yoga at home in the morning – Christine Felstead’s Yoga for Runners: The Essentials is my favorite.  I cannot wait for the temperatures to get a bit cooler and enjoy more time time outside in the morning. Florida summers are brutal.

Give your morning routine a refresh this fall, and kick-start your new healthy habits to gear you up for an incredible rest of your year. Being intentional with your time is an incredibly rewarding feeling.