The whole concept of Brain Fog really touches a nerve with me. I’ve never felt so weak and powerless as when I was having a ‘Brain Fog Day’. I felt as is everything I’d ever learned at school had somehow vanished and that all my brain cells had magically disappeared. I felt like a complete idiot- why am I getting my words mixed up? Why can’t I concentrate for 2 minutes? How do I treat Brain Fog? Even if your body is having a good day, you can often be left with this horrible, numb feeling in your head. For me, it felt like there was a big heavy grey cloud around my brain, that’s the only way I can describe it.
What causes Brain Fog?
Although the exact causes are unknown, contributing factors include:
- A lack of sleep or disruptions to your sleep cycle
- If you’re experiencing pain, you might be mentally distracted by this for a prolonged period, which triggers a ‘numb’ feeling
- Abnormal blood flow to the head
- Interactions with medication
What are the Symptoms of Brain Fog?
For anyone who isn’t clear on what Brain Fog is, some of the symptoms include:
- Becoming easily confused
- Lack of ability to concentrate
- Lack of ability to multi-task due to lack of concentration
- Inability to recall words during a sentence (this was the main one for me!), forgetting why you started the sentence or mixing words around and not noticing
- Short term memory problems
- Inability to carry out simple calculations or mathematical problems
- Losing things and not being able to find them, as you usually would
- Becoming easily lost and disoriented in places you usually know well
Brain Fog generally tends to get worse when you are anxious, worried, rushed or dealing with too much information at once. It can also occur when you’re dealing with sensory overload, for example, too many bright lights or too much noise. I used to get completely overwhelmed in shopping centres and supermarkets, and would feel panicky and closed in. Once this had happened a few times, my parents knew to only offer to take me shopping to get me out of the house if they knew it was going to be quiet.
Help! I’m fed up of this! How can I Treat Brain Fog?
Luckily there are some things you can do to treat brain fog and go easy on yourself if you wake up and realise you’re having a ‘Brain Fog Day':
- Recognise that today is a Brain Fog Day and sink into it. Don’t try and fight it, relax into it and let it go. Work within your limits, take regular time out and don’t get mad at yourself. Be patient and keep things simple. If you have to, tell people you’re having ‘one of those days’- they’ll appreciate and respect your honesty.
- Drink as much fresh, filtered (if possible) water as you can. Sometimes, you might just be dehydrated. I constantly forgot to drink enough water when I was ill, it just seemed like too much effort. Water is incredibly important for our brain and bodies. You need to stay hydrated before you are thirsty- by the time you feel thirsty, it’s too late.
- Avoid caffeine or energy drinks. It’s so tempting to just grab a coffee to alleviate Brain Fog and feeling tired, even just for a moment, but you’ll feel worse later on, and maybe even into the next day. Do it gradually, don’t go cold turkey all at once, but cutting out caffeine was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.
- Get enough sleep. Sleeping for at least 8 hours is crucial. However, and I know this is so difficult to keep to if you’ve got CFS, don’t sleep too much or rely too much on sleeping tablets. You don’t want to do anything that’ll make you feel more Brain Fog the next day. Read this article for more bedtime tips.
- Eat a nutritious diet, or if your appetite is a bit patchy, take a good multivitamin. Juices and smoothies can also really help when your appetite isn’t there, as well as these easy recipes. Your brain and body function on the nutrients you give it- let them thrive!
I hope these tips help you in some way. I know how terrible Brain Fog can feel and how much of a step back you think you’ve taken when you’re feeling like this. Know this this is your body’s way of healing and respect what it’s telling you. Once you accept this, you Brain Fog will lift as quickly as it arrived.
Love and lucidity,