If you’re feeling foggy and out of focus, you’re not alone. We’ve all endured a difficult period during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the stress can pile up and cause you to lose mental sharpness. Even during more normal times, we all go through stressful periods where we don’t feel like ourselves, physically or emotionally.
You may be experiencing brain drain. Though the term is often used to refer to a trend of well-trained workers moving from one area to another, people also use it more literally to speak about brain fog. Brain fog feels like it sounds — as if your mind is cloudy and things feel unclear or hard to see at all. Your brain health is important, and knowing the signs, symptoms, and treatment for fog can help you regain your mental sharpness.
What are the symptoms of brain fog?
Every person is unique and will therefore experience brain fog a little differently. However, knowing the symptoms can help you evaluate your brain health and reach out for assistance if need be. You may be experiencing brain fog if you feel:
- Like you’re having trouble remembering things. When “clouds” clog our brains, it can make it difficult to see — and remember — things like we used to. If you’re noticing you’re having lapses in memory, such as forgetting where you put your phone or keys, you may be struggling with brain fog.
- That you’re struggling to focus or concentrate. It can be hard to drive in foggy weather, and it can be challenging to concentrate or focus at work or home if your brain feels clouded.
What are the causes of brain fog?
There’s not a one-size-fits-all trigger for brain drain. However, you may be experiencing it if you are:
- Tired. Sleep helps keep us feeling good and mentally sharp. If you don’t rest, you may feel fuzzy during waking hours, as the National Sleep Foundation points out.
- Stressed. When we’re stressed, we often focus on what’s bothering us. If it becomes so consuming, we may not be able to concentrate on anything else. Stress can also lead to lack of sleep and fatigue, which can compound the issue.
- Pregnant or postpartum. You may have heard the term “mom brain.” It turns out it’s a thing, and it can happen regardless of the gender identity or caregiver title of a person who gave birth. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, postpartum, and while lactating can contribute to forgetfulness.
- You recently had COVID-19. Some people have felt foggy after catching COVID-19. If you had the virus, know this is a common side effect.
How can I jumpstart my brain?
Brain fog isn’t fatal, but it does carry some risks. If you’re struggling to focus, your work performance can suffer. You may also find that you’re feeling anxious, stressed, or depressed. Brain fog is, thankfully, treatable. There are a few lifestyle tweaks you can make to feel more in focus.
- Sleep. Aim to get about eight hours of sleep each night for optimal physical and mental health. If you’re having trouble sleeping, taking a warm shower or bath or meditating might help.
- Eat nutritious foods. A lack of B-12 can lead to memory issues. You can take a supplement or try adding foods like salmon and dairy products to your diet.
- Listen to music. Some people swear that listening to tunes helps them tackle their to-do lists at work. Lo-fi beats were particularly trendy during the early, stressful days of the pandemic. They’re low-key, and people say they aren’t distracting but help them get in the zone at work.
- Read. Experts share that reading can help bolster memory and concentration, two things brain fog can impede. Find a book or join a book club with friends to help motivate you to read more often.
- Talk to someone. If you’re struggling, you don’t have to go it alone. Speaking with a doctor or therapist about your condition can help you get to the root cause and come up with solutions.
Brain fog can happen when you feel you lack mental sharpness and clarity. Symptoms will vary based on the person, but common ones include forgetfulness and trouble focusing. There are several causes, including stress, pregnancy and postpartum changes, fatigue, diet, and medical conditions like COVID-19. There are many remedies for brain fog, and you may have to try a couple to see what works best for you. Getting more sleep, switching up your diet, reading, and listening to music may all help you get back on track. You may also try looking for ways to de-stress, including speaking with a trusted friend, doctor, or therapist who can help you work through the reasons why life is feeling a bit fuzzy these days.
BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.
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