Whether difficulty sleeping, anxiety, over-indulging in food or alcohol or hormonal changes are causing mental fuzziness, it’s not uncommon to experience brain fog at some point in life. Despite ongoing stresses associated with the pandemic, there are actions that can help people cope with symptoms of brain fog like difficulty concentrating, processing information, confusion or mental fatigue.
According to a recent article in Stylist magazine, brain fog isn’t a medical condition, however, it can be caused by health conditions and lifestyle choices. Depression, anxiety, stress and menopause can all contribute to feeling mentally fuzzy and unable to connect with others or complete even simple daily tasks. A poor diet or lack of quality sleep can worsen what many would describe lately as quarantine fatigue.
A nutritious diet, rich in fresh fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains and nuts can help provide the body and the mind with the energy and nutrients needed for optimal physical and cognitive performance. Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol and consuming caffeine later in the day which can interfere with sleep.
Many people are working from home, and spending long hours in front of computer screens. It’s helpful to get up and move around, go outdoors for some natural sunlight and a break from devices frequently. The brain and the body will function better with regular opportunities to rest and recharge – take a walk, shovel the driveway, listen to music or play fetch with the dog. It’s particularly important during stressful times to consciously limit time spent online watching or reading messages that can heighten anxiety.
Because quality sleep is so important for cognitive function, it is beneficial to create a nighttime ritual that supports restorative rest. Turn off devices an hour before bedtime and unwind in a calming, uncluttered space with a good book, relaxing music, a cup of decaffeinated tea or a warm bath or shower. Many people find that writing a few thoughts in a journal in the evening can help settle the mind, creating a more peaceful mindset that invites deeper sleep.
Practicing meditation or yoga can also help relieve stress and anxiety with focused breathing exercises, gentle stretches and imagery to help calm a busy mind and release tension and worry. VeryWell Mind has collected some of the best guided meditations for 2021 that may help ease anxiety and lift brain fog. If symptoms of mental haziness persist, talk with your doctor or seek help from a mental health professional.