What is Brain Fog?
It’s when you’re not lucid. Not mentally clear. Not entirely there.
The lights are on, but nobody’s home.
It’s kind of a slightly tired feeling, that eventually affects your learning and creativity.
You’re like a zombie for a part of the day, until you get “spun up”
Some signs you may have brain fog:
You space out easily and frequently.
Someone might be talking, or you may be listening to a lecture, and all of a sudden 25 minutes pass, and you heard nothing.
Everything went in one ear – and out the other.
You’re lethargic and don’t feel compelled to do even simple tasks.
Taking out the trash? Nah. Laundry? Later. That book you’ve been meaning to pick up for a week now? Seems like a drag. I’m tired. I’m going to take a nap.
You don’t feel creative and sort of dull and fuzzy.
You don’t get exited about anything, and you mind is entirely blank during brainstorming sessions.
That being said, here are five factors to examine regarding brain fog:
1. Sleep: Your sleeping schedule is not balanced.
Sleeping too much is a surefire way to get depressed, and brain fog will come before that. Have you ever slept in really late, and actually woke up tired? Unless you are recovering from an illness, or extreme physical exertion, do not sleep too long!
The flip side of this is sleeping too little. Some people get away with sleeping very few hours, however anything less than six hours leaves me sleep deprived. Find that sweet spot that gives you a clear mind throughout the day.
Also, set up the optimum environment for your body to get quality sleep. Black out a room by covering the windows, and remove any lights. Avoid using electronics a few hours before bed, especially the cell-phone.
Light stimulates the optic nerve, which cause the nervous system to fire off, and you become alert. Counter-productive when you are trying to fall asleep.
Don’t ingest any stimulants before you plan to sleep. Many people are coffee drinkers, and that is fine – in the morning. Unless you have a wicked tolerance, drinking coffee before bed is bad juju.
If absolutely need be, you can use medicine to reset your sleep cycle. Things such as melatonin and Diphenhydramine hcl.
2. Diet: You’re not eating for optimum performance.
You eat a diet full of sugar and flour. We all know franken-foods when we see them. They are cheap, high in sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, starch, and have an infinite shelf-life.
“Don’t put that shit in your body!” – B
Everyone knows, deep down, what the good food is. Cut out the junk, and watch your mind clear up. Drink water, not energy drinks.
Energy drinks put your system in distress, and that keeps you awake. You can sit there and not move, while staying awake. Perfect for the office worker – not so great for your health.
That’s putting one foot on the break, one on the throttle. That’s how you get burned out and develop brain fog.
Another thing to consider with diet: Make sure you are eating enough calories, or not too many calories. When you are too calorie deficient, you may develop brain fog. Cutting 200 calories a day from your regular amount is OK. Cutting 1500 calories is called a crash diet, and makes you feel like garbage.
Tip: Drink a few glasses of water and eat some fruit. Works wonders for Brain Fog.
3. Climate: You live somewhere hot.
It seems a colder environment creates focus and sharpness, where as a hot environment creates relaxation and dullness(think: hot tub or sauna).
This one really got me good, and I remember in being in a near catatonic state for a majority of the day, after I moved to the south. The heat during the summer was unbelievable, and as one blogger put it: “It cooks your brain a little bit”. The best solution I have found are frequent cold showers.
Take cold showers and stay hydrated. I’m serious, drink a lot of water. If you’re not pissing clear, your brain is cooking.
The second part to a hot climate is: acclimation.
Do what you can to go out there in some shorts, and spend some time outside. Spend some time allowing your body to adjust. After a few months, I would still sweat a lot, but felt much better.
If you plan to seriously exert yourself, head out early, or later at night. Take full advantage of those slightly cooler hours. Stay out of the sun.
If all else fails, move to a cooler climate.
4. Low mood: Atrophied creativity muscle.
If you are mildly depressed, it is easy to slip into a fog. To solve this, look for factors that may be attributing to your low mood. Pinpoint the problems that are bringing you down, and focus on solving them.
If you have negative people in your life, remove them. It may be harsh, but it’s that simple. No reason to keep Debbie-downers around, no matter who they are.
Work on your creativity muscle. I read about this concept from James Altucher’s book “Choose Yourself!”. He says, creativity is a muscle. If you don’t use it, it atrophies. Practice writing a few new ideas everyday, to reawaken and strengthen your reactivity muscle.
With that, cut out the passive entertainment, and read something interesting. That one topic you were curious about, but never looked into.
5. Sitting: Lack of serious physical exertion.
You need to get the blood flowing.
And I don’t mean some easy exercise, such as going to the commercial gym, doing a few minutes on the machines with low intensity, doing some easy dumbbell routine, and going home.
What I mean by serious physical exertion is: You should feel like you’re going to die.
This may mean:
A long run with a strong kick in the end.
Intervals on the track or in the pool.
Wrestling or Jiu Jitsu.
This kind of exertion can and will break through brain fog, due to the surge of endorphins.
Those five factors are the usual suspects for developing brain fog, losing motivation and creativity.
Don’t be in a fog a minute longer.
All the Best.