- Brain fog is a sluggish feeling of the brain
- It leads to a lack of mental clarity, forgetfulness, slow mental function
- Chronic as well short term illness cause brain fog
- Exercise, sleep, diet, and stress relief can treat brain fog
What is brain fog is usually understood in the context of why it happens. There are a series of causes that lead to brain fog.
Most often, it is even possible to deduce exactly what led to the brain fog.
Even though brain fogs are not a classified medical condition, they do have distinct signs and symptoms.
Additionally, experiencing brain fog has a legitimate impact on our daily and physical lives. Lastly, brain fogs are not necessarily a one-time thing.
If someone has repeated experiences with brain fogs or a prolonged experience, it can impact how they view themselves. It may even impact how others view them.
Hence, let us understand the experience, signs, and causes of brain fog. Through understanding what brain fog is like, we may even get better at dealing with it in and around us.
Brain Fog Infographics
What Is Brain Fog
Brain fog is a sluggish feeling of the brain. It can severely impact a person’s daily life and self-perception. There are many medical and environmental causes of brain fog. It is not classified as a disorder, rather it is a symptom of others.
Brain fog is a sluggish, unclear feeling in your brain. It makes you feel like you cannot think straight, and even impairs your memory and attention.
Thus, the tasks that you should be able to do without difficulty take a lot more time and effort.
Brain fogs are a result of multiple external and internal factors. This includes side effects of medications, pregnancy, serious medical conditions as well as lack of sleep.
However, sometimes it is a mere side effect of jet lag, which resolves itself fast.
There is no particular test to identify brain fog. However, it is easily identifiable through its symptoms, by normal people and medical professionals alike.
When you feel you are experiencing brain fog, it is also easy to describe it to others.
For example, if you feel like you haven’t been able to pay attention or sustain a task for long, you can tell that something is not going okay.
Similarly, you can also identify how long you have been feeling this way and where you are struggling the most.
It is also important to note that even if it is easy to identify, it is still not alright. If you experience brain fog multiple times, it is an indication of underlying medical issues as well.
In these cases, a doctor is the best person to consult regarding your brain fog.
What is brain fog also depends on the context in which it is experienced. There are multiple medical conditions that lead to brain fog.
Some of these are chronic illnesses while some others are more easily managed.
Neurological conditions often have a serious impact on our physical lives. However, they also have an impact on our cognitive functions.
People slowly experience a decline in their ability to think clearly.
Take for example someone who has Alzheimer’s disease. This is a serious condition that largely impacts a person’s memory. They may slowly even lose their memory of language and basic life skills.
However, even in the initial stages, they may experience brain fog. This means that they feel a lack of sharpness in the mind for prolonged periods of time.
The drugs they take to manage their illness also contribute to the brain fog they experience.
People with lupus disease, arthritis, or even multiple sclerosis experience brain fog. These are all autoimmune conditions in the body.
Thus, along with severe physical pain and life challenges, they also deal with brain fog.
Experiencing brain fog also makes people question their skills and abilities.
When they are also suffering from such medical conditions, their confidence and motivation to do things, which are anyway affected, may suffer even more.
Other than serious medical conditions, even some environmental conditions lead to brain fog. One of the most prominent ones is a stressful home or work environment.
When we go through a lot of stress at work or at home, we sometimes feel it clouding our judgment.
This means that we feel mentally so worn out that our mind goes sluggish. Additionally, stress may lead to a lack of sleep, which is a known cause of brain fog.
The benefit of environmental conditions leading to brain fog is that we know it is temporary. If it is caused by jet lag, it will be resolved automatically.
If it is because of stress, we can try to take a break to clear our heads.
More importantly, experiencing brain fog due to such life conditions can even be considered a warning sign.
It tells us that something we do is not working for us. Our mind needs relaxation to function properly.
If our diet is not giving us all the nutrients we require, we may experience brain fog. Essentially, this is a big warning sign to improve our food habits.
While the solution may not always be simple or easily adaptable, we at least know exactly what the solution is.
This in itself is a blessing, as it allows us to control our own lifestyle to keep our minds functioning in an optimal manner.
Lastly, some medications or being under the influence of some substance may also lead to brain fog.
This means that when a person is off those medicines or substances, he or she may not experience such side effects.
However, not all medication can be instantly stopped. Hence, this environmental condition also depends on the person’s overall health and medical requirements.
Brain Fog Symptoms
Brain fog can be identified through the following symptoms. While some people may experience these on and off, when these happen simultaneously, the condition is basically what is brain fog.
1. Spaced out
Brain fogs make people feel ‘spaced out.’ Very simply, this means that people do not feel physically oriented where they are.
They may feel like they are not a hundred percent present in the situation they are in.
Sometimes, when you wake up from a very deep sleep, you may feel ‘spaced out’ for a few moments. Most often, you can feel back to normal in no time.
However, sometimes that feeling lasts longer.
Now, if that feeling were to persist for a longer time, it means that person is having brain fog.
This spaced-out feeling can especially bother people on a busy workday or when they are required to pay attention.
Brain fogs that persist for a long time may lead to feeling spaced out for days. This is not healthy for the person or those around them as they may feel ignored.
In reality, it is just that the person’s mind is not in a clear space or fully oriented.
Brain fog is a sluggish feeling in our minds. Our mind controls the rest of our bodies.
Hence, if our mind feels sluggish, our bodies also find it extremely difficult to feel energized or refreshed.
A person experiencing brain fog also feels tired. He or she may feel like just being awake and going about their day gives them to fatigue.
Moreover, sleeping and resting also do not seem to make it any better.
We all experience fatigue from time to time. It could be a busy day at the office or even a fun celebration like a wedding.
When we physically exert ourselves, we feel fatigued. However, brain fog also makes us feel mentally fatigued.
This means that the person’s mind is tired. There may be a way to rejuvenate it, however, it is not as simple as regular fatigue. This kind of fatigue is a clear symptom of brain fog.
3. Slowness of the mind
Brain fog leads to slow processing speed in the brain. For example, on a normal day, we would take a few seconds to read an email and understand it.
If a person is experiencing brain fog, they may need a lot more time.
They may end up reading the email a few extra times. Along with that, their brain will be slow in understanding what they have just read.
This does not mean that their language skill or work skill is low. Rather, it is their brain fog influencing their speed.
Many times, people with brain fog take hours to complete a task they would normally complete in much less time.
This stands true even for non-work-related tasks. For example, they may take a lot of time to read a food menu as well.
Their brain may feel so sluggish that they even take time to brush their teeth or make their breakfast. Brain fog affects all simple and challenging tasks of our daily lives.
When we are trying to understand what brain fog is, another simple symptom we can look out for is a distraction.
People with brain fog are very easily distracted. Another way to say this is they suffer from a lack of attention.
Agreeably, some people are distracted in general, just like some things like loud noises are distracting for everyone.
However, people with brain fog get distracted easily and by things that are not distracting to everyone else.
This means that working with them or even working around them is difficult. For the person experiencing it themselves, it is a symptom that adds to their loss of productivity.
They may find it difficult to finish tasks because they get distracted even before it is over.
This also includes basic tasks. For example, people who are experiencing a brain fog may take longer than usual or normal to even finish a meal or tell a story.
Their basic flow of work is often broken or interrupted by seemingly trivial things.
5. Lack of organization
The older we get, the more we seek organization in our lives. This is not just to do more things, but also to maintain some order in whatever things we do.
We may not realize it, but we are constantly organizing our time.
For example, when we start making weekend plans. We organize a time to meet friends and family, time to do our chores or time to relax.
Usually, we are able to accomplish these tasks because we have organized them in our brains or calendars. People who have brain fog can find organization difficult.
Thus, when we see someone struggling with their time, deadlines, or commitments, it is a sign of a lack of organization. This is a symptom of brain fog.
A lack of organization also further worsens the other symptoms of brain fog, such as the inability to finish tasks. Thus, when these all occur together, they become a clear indication of brain fog.
Brain fog impairs memory function. This means that a person may find it hard to remember basic things.
Their memory may not serve them right, even in moments that they really need to rely on it.
For example, a person with brain fog may experience a loss of words at random times.
They may be at a store, waiting to place their order. However, their memory will not allow them to remember why they are there in the first place.
Along with this, their lack of organization does not allow them to make lists. Hence, their forgetfulness causes them stress in their daily life.
This includes forgetting basic things like groceries as well as important things like dates, rent, deadlines, etc.
7. Loss of words
As mentioned in the previous point as well, people with brain fog also often show a loss or lack of words.
This does not mean that they are not aware of certain words. Rather, their brain fog clouds their speech such that their words do not come at the right time.
For example, a person with brain fog may find conversations difficult. People around them may be discussing important matters like politics, work, personal opinions, etc.
However, for someone experiencing brain fog, this becomes a challenge. This also does not mean that they do not have opinions.
They in their own way may have a lot of opinions, however, the brain fog makes it difficult for them to first sustain that thought and then to express it.
8. Inability to multitask
When you really think about it, we all easily engage in multitasking. For example, calling someone while making our coffee is multitasking.
Similarly, driving while listening to music or a podcast is also multitasking. We may not be excellent at multitasking, or able to do multiple serious jobs at once.
However, most of us are able to accomplish basic tasks while multitasking. For people who are experiencing brain fog, this is an extreme challenge.
They have to focus on one thing at a time, which also takes significant effort. Even basic tasks like fixing a bowl of cereal.
A person who has extreme brain fog may not be able to pour a bowl of milk and cereal while talking on the phone.
9. Lack of sleep
While lack of sleep or insomnia is also a cause, it can also be considered a symptom of brain fog.
People who have brain fog, while experiencing fatigue, may actually find it difficult to fall asleep.
This is because people with brain fog may find it difficult to relax.
Additionally, if you notice someone’s sleeping schedule or pattern is not going well, it indicates that they may struggle with their tasks the following day.
This includes not being able to focus, feeling tired, not being able to keep up with work, and more. Essentially, this leads to all other symptoms of brain fog, thus making lack of sleep a symptom as well.
10. Lack of ideas
Innovating, creating something new, or even coming up with good ideas requires optimal brain functioning. We need to feel fresh, recharged, and ready to be able to create something new.
Hence, if you find yourself or someone else entirely unable to come up with a new idea, even in the presence of a creative environment, it indicates brain fog.
This means that the person feels internally challenged to ideate well.
It is true that lack of ideas can be a sign of many other things as well, such as burnout.
However, sometimes when no other condition can account for this lack of ideation, it becomes a symptom of burnout.
In reality, a lack of new ideas also reduces a person’s motivation. He or she may feel sluggish at work, and find themselves unable to come up with good ways to get the ball rolling again.
Thus, brain fog is not just seen by doctors or medical professionals. These behavioral and mental challenges that people with brain fog face are clear and identifiable symptoms.
What Causes Brain Fog
Brain fog has several distinct causes. These causes vary across a range of severity. Additionally, based on the cause of brain fog, we can even determine the appropriate treatment for it.
Following are the different causes of brain fog.
Insomnia, or lack of sleep, is a very known cause of brain fog. Think of the last time you spent a whole day after not sleeping for the whole night.
The effects of the lack of sleep can very easily be felt all throughout the next day.
This is because sleep is an important part of our lives. Hence, when we don’t sleep and our brain does not get the rest it deserves, we feel sluggish. Our responsiveness to things around us lags.
Often, poor sleep over a long period of time can lead to dangerous amounts of brain fog. This is why people who are not fully awake and refreshed should not drive.
It is very easy for us to lose focus when we have not been sleeping well.
Sleep is also related to our mood. When we haven’t slept, our mood and motivation decrease.
We feel like we are not ready to face the world which is moving fast and in an energetic way. This is in fact our brain fog acting out.
Stress largely leads to a mental breakdown, extreme emotions, and even exhaustion of the body and mind. However, it also leads to less obvious conditions like brain fog. Sometimes, a lot of stress can make us feel mentally tired.
This stress is not good to stress. More often, when we are so stressed over a long period of time, we may feel our minds shut down.
It feels like we cannot process any more information and that we need some time out.
Basically, stress has a negative effect on the brain, which can lead to cognitive dysfunction.
Common sense would suggest taking breaks and vacations to reduce stress and maintain our brain health.
In reality, breaks and vacations are not always possible. Most people go through stressful periods by just managing day by day.
In this type of management, however, our brain still needs some way to distance itself.
Hence, one of the bad consequences of stress is brain fog. This happens when our mind is so worked out that it practically zones out.
We enter a state of sluggishness that makes us feel slower, less productive, more distracted, and essentially, brain fogged.
Depression is a state of unhappiness and isolation from the world.
A depressed person or someone going through depression does not feel like he or she is actually a part of their surroundings.
This removed, spaced-out feeling leads to brain fog. People with depression who have brain fog find it hard to participate in normal social conversations.
They often forget things, because their mind is in a lull.
Along with that, depression also leads to insomnia, which is a cause of brain fog. Depression also causes a separation between a person and the activities he or she is supposed to accomplish.
Essentially, that person is trying very hard to get through each day.
Whether it is simple tasks like grooming or bigger tasks like work presentations, nothing really matters to them. This is not because they don’t care, rather they just feel spaced out.
Menopause leads to severe mood changes that can even mimic depression.
A woman who is menopausal has so many hormonal changes happening in her body that her mood is constantly swinging.
Some women have a difficult menopausal period. Physical symptoms like hot flashes, sleeplessness, the stress of aging along bodily changes make the time challenging.
In this period, it is also very possible for women to experience brain fog.
Mainly, a drop in estrogen, a hormone in our bodies, causes impairment in our cognitive functions.
This includes being forgetful, not being able to concentrate, and a lack of clarity or sharpness in thought.
Their stress with everything their body is going through can truly escalate. Hence, they may forget basic things that they usually did not have a problem remembering.
Their attention may easily be diverted, just as their mood. Sometimes, when we are in extreme climates, we feel our moods change.
If it is too hot around us, we may get so preoccupied with that, we may not notice how all our other work gets sidelined. Menopausal women who experience hot flashes have a similar issue.
Lastly, menopause also occurs at an age where our mind loses some of its sharpness.
The older we get and the more we have on our plate, we rely on external mechanisms to keep us on track.
We rely on journals and reminders to stay sharp. Menopausal women are typically over the age of 45-50.
At this age, the stress of aging itself can be overwhelming for some women. Hence, they also may experience brain fog more frequently.
When we have basic health issues like the common cold or even nausea, we may take medicines for it.
Antihistamines, for example, are a drug used to cure allergies or common colds and illnesses.
The side effects of these medicines include confusion, dizziness, etc. A lot of these side effects have an experience very similar to that of brain fog.
If you think of the last time you took a strong medication, even you may personally remember feeling spaced out.
Medications for other serious conditions also lead to brain fog. When you read the label of these medications, the side effects will mention such conditions as brain fog.
This includes daily medicines as well as medicine for one-time or occasional illnesses.
Some medicines have a sedative effect on us. This means that taking them can make us feel sleepy.
However, if you take these in the mornings and then have to go about your day, you cannot practically sleep.
Hence, feeling ‘loopy’, which is how a lot of people describe it, becomes the inevitable side effect.
The good part about one-time medicines causing brain fog is that we know exactly what caused it and exactly how long it can last.
Some anti-anxiety medicines, cholesterol medicines, antidepressants, high-level painkillers prescribed after surgery, etc. can also lead to brain fog.
These are often unavoidable long-term medicines that leave the patient feeling brain fogged a lot of the time.
6. Hormonal conditions
Hormonal conditions or diseases such as thyroid disease cause brain fog. Hypothyroidism is a thyroid condition that some adults face.
This disease affects the hippocampus region of the brain, which is in charge of memory function.
Hypothyroidism is thus a known cause of mental slowness, forgetfulness, and brain fog.
There are medicines to control hypothyroidism, however, the presence of this condition does lead to a brain fog more often than not.
Other than this, hormones such as cortisol, estrogen, progesterone as well as testosterone also cause brain fogs when there are fluctuations.
We all have these hormones present in our bodies at all times. However, any changes in them lead to a state of mind like brain fog.
Estrogen is important as if it reduces too much, it can even lead to Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Similarly, cortisol fluctuations in the body can make a person feel more emotional and sluggish. When cortisol in your body rises, it actually makes you lose mental clarity.
Progesterone, or the promoting gestation hormone, is associated with pregnancy.
A woman’s progesterone levels change during their pregnancy, which leads to some issues with memory and mood swings, also known as the ‘pregnancy brain.’
Lastly, testosterone is important for our mental sharpness. Even though testosterone is known as the ‘male hormone’ in common language, it is biologically present in both men and women.
When testosterone levels go either up or down, it leads to a loss of mental sharpness.
Along with our muscle movements, our mind also loses a bit of its edge when our testosterone levels are not in balance.
7. Chronic health conditions
Some health conditions are called chronic because they exist in our bodies for a long period of time.
Multiple sclerosis (MS), arthritis, and lupus disease are three examples of autoimmune conditions.
Essentially, people with autoimmune disorders have a compromised immune system.
Their brain health, nervous system, mental health, and physical body all go through a painful transformation over the years. These conditions severely affect the muscle and joint movements in our bodies.
Neurological conditions like MS even impair our cognitive functioning. In fact, when brain fog is related to MS, it is even nicknamed ‘Cog Fog.’
In reality, brain fog is a symptom of MS. People who suffer from it have frequent episodes of misplacing things, taking longer to remember basic information, and disorientation.
They may even complain of feeling sluggish most days, and the more their disease progresses, the more it leads to brain fogs.
Additionally, the medicines used to manage the pain caused by MS also cause brain fog. The same is true for medicines used to treat arthritis and lupus.
These diseases cause so much pain in the body, the patients are usually on narcotic painkillers or strong painkillers.
Some of these have a sedative effect and some directly cause brain fog.
8. Vitamin and nutrient deficiency
Vitamin B-12 is extremely important in our bodies, and definitely for our mood regulations.
Low levels of Vitamin B12 can cause a serious impact on our daily physical and social life.
Essentially, Vitamin B12 is the energy hormone of your body. It helps keep several functions of your body running, such as supplying red blood cells which keep our bodies oxygenated.
A deficiency in B12 thus also heavily reflects in our mood and energy levels. People with depression may particularly have a B12 deficiency that doctors often primarily address.
However, the main concern is that our body needs to consume foods that are rich in B12 to actually maintain the required levels.
If this falters, or our diet does not give us enough, we may start developing a deficiency, which causes brain fog.
That being said, it is also important to understand the cause and treatment are two different things.
Even though B-12 deficiency causes brain fog and fatigue, it is not necessary that treat that will improve your cognitive functions.
Other nutrient deficiencies also cause brain fog. For example, omega 3’s which is a type of acid in our bodies as well as Vitamin D have an influence on our mental state and cognitive functions.
It is always important to consult your doctor for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment of any possible nutrient deficiencies you may have.
9. Other illnesses
While we have spoken about chronic diseases, even other short-term illnesses can cause brain fog.
The simplest example is that of the common cold. It is said that when we are sick, we just don’t ‘feel right.’
This is because, along with our physical bodies, our minds are also in a state of poor health.
Our attention is diverted, we don’t feel as energetic, our motivation to do things or ideate is less. Basically, we do not feel like our normal selves.
Viruses such as Covid -19 also cause long-term brain fog.
While covid-19 brain fog is a fairly new condition compared to the common cold, it is observed that some people who have had Covid do show long-term effects on cognitive functioning.
This is also not difficult to relate with, because we have all personally experienced at least one short-term illness.
People who have had flu will also be able to remember how the days they are sick, they feel mentally unclear and sluggish.
Some may describe feeling light-headed even when recovering from the flu.
What Does Brain Fog Feel Like?
Now that we have seen the causes of brain fog, let us further understand what it feels like to experience brain fog.
People who actually suffer from it are often disregarded by others as being slow, forgetful, or not sharp.
In reality, brain fog feels like the following.
1. Pressure to explain
One of the biggest concerns of people who experience brain fog is the pressure to explain their behavior.
They feel like because they are being forgetful and out of sorts, they have to tell people that it is not intentional.
This can either go positively, and people understand the challenges of brain fog. Or it can go negatively, where the person explaining the brain fog is put more on the spot for not expressing their situation with clarity.
2. Changing intensity
Sometimes, brain fog can be very intense and severe. However, on some other days, it is more mild and manageable. For example, the first day of jetlag can feel much worse than day two or day three.
In reality, the brain fog persists all three days. However, the experience and the intensity of it changes and fluctuates.
This can confuse the person experiencing the brain fog as well as the people around them.
3. Silent spectator
Unfortunately, experiencing brain fog may feel like being a silent spectator in your own life. The world around them may be rapidly moving and evolving.
Their reduced mental speed to function can make them feel scared of participating.
Other than that fear, sometimes there is also an inability to keep up with the times.
If you are in class and the teacher is explaining something really complex, really fast, you may feel the same way as a person who has brain fog.
4. Constantly forgetting things
One of the major symptoms of brain fog is forgetfulness. This means that even basic information must be noted down.
People who have frequent brain fog may even have to note dates like birthdays or when their rent is due.
Forgetfulness is a curse that must be dealt with swiftly. In the world we live in, if we forget something, we have to spend twice as long to make up for it.
For example, if we forget to buy soap on our grocery runs, we have to go all the way to the store again.
Living with brain fog means accommodating all the things we can possibly forget.
This includes living with multiple calendars, notes, and a prepared apology for something you may have forgotten without meaning to.
5. Remembering odd details
People with brain fog may forget a lot of things, but they do remember inconsequential, odd details from their lives.
For example, they may forget their close friend’s birthday, but remember their birthday party from ten years ago.
These odd details cloud a lot of space in their brain, which they wish could be occupied by more important details.
Similarly, they may even feel puzzled by everything they remember instead of what they should actually remember.
Confidence is an important skill in life, whether it is at work or at home. We need to feel confident in what we are doing.
For someone experiencing brain fog, often second-guessing is the natural thing to do.
Even if they are making something in the kitchen, they may have thoughts about whether or not they put the salt in.
They may need to constantly check their mail to see if they have sent out the important ones.
People with brain fog even maintain journals at work to make sure they have something to refer to when they are unsure.
This second guess becomes a part of their way of doing things, especially if they frequently experience brain fog.
7. Loss of words
Most of us have experienced a time when we just did not have the right words to say.
This is not necessarily a gap in our vocabulary. It is feeling so lost in the situation that the right words simply do not occur.
People who have brain fog feel this way multiple times a day. Even when they are reacting to something, they stop short as they are unsure of what words to use.
8. Feeling intoxicated
People who consume alcohol and have experienced being ‘drunk’ or highly intoxicated can relate to people who have brain fog. In essence, brain fog is a lot like being drunk.
However, the unfortunate part is that they feel like this throughout the day, including at work or other important events.
Along with that, it feels like being drunk without their control.
Brain fogs are often embarrassing. To understand this better, you can take an example of an important board meeting.
This is a time when people’s eyes are on you and you are expected to perform.
However, you simply cannot do a perfect job. This is how people with brain fog feel, even when they are doing basic tasks.
Making coffee or organizing a small party is also difficult for them, and they often find this difficulty embarrassing.
Along with embarrassment, brain fog is also a frustrating situation to be in. This is because no one really asks for brain fog. More often than not, people try really hard to get rid of it.
If it is an otherwise healthy and active individual, brain fog causes a huge dip in their schedule.
Their daily life and accomplishments are influenced by something that feels out of their control. That leads to immense frustration.
People who have chronic illnesses and brain fog may feel equally frustrated as well.
For them, not only do they have to deal with bodily pains and their physical health suffering. They also have to manage the declining functioning of their mind.
The frustration can also come from the constant interruptions in their own flow of work.
Just because they are easily distracted does not mean that they like to be. Hence, not being able to focus on one thing can also be frustrating.
11. Unsolicited advice
The world is full of people that mean well. However, that does not mean that they always have all the right answers.
People with brain fog often share their difficulties. Whether or not they like it or ask for it, others usually have opinions that may not really help.
For example, a person with brain fog may share why they are not that social anymore. They do this simply to share and explain their situation.
However, the person listening may feel obligated to share unhelpful advice in return.
How To Treat Brain Fog
After understanding the symptoms, causes, and experience of brain fog, let us look at some treatment options.
It is important to note that not all experiences are the same, and hence no one treatment can work for all.
Severe brain fog must be discussed with a doctor who can provide the best guidance on how to deal with them. However, the following are some general ways to treat brain fog.
A healthy exercise routine is an important part of life. Exercise keeps our hormones in check as well, which has a huge impact on our cognitive functioning.
To say it simply, exercise is good for our brain and body.
This means that when we exercise, we allow ourselves to snap out of the stress of the day and project that energy elsewhere.
Our mind experiences an outlet for any pent-up negative energy we may have built up.
Along with that, exercise is also a good way to keep your muscles moving and stay healthy. When we are lethargic physically, it affects our minds.
Additionally, it also creates health problems that are not pleasant to deal with.
In the same regard, being active and energetic physically positively impacts our minds and body.
Lastly, a good exercise routine is important for sleep hygiene as well. We feel tired physically, which helps us sleep better at night. This can keep frequent brain fog at bay.
It is not necessary to join fancy gyms to exercise. Even going for a walk or running in the neighborhood is a form of exercise.
2. Sleep cycle
Having a good sleep cycle helps us feel fresh in the morning. People who have just traveled and have brain fog due to jet lag must keep this in mind.
This is why there are multiple ways to help you get your sleep cycle back in the routine.
When we sleep well, we let our minds and bodies rest. This takes away the stress of the day that makes us feel cloudy in our thoughts.
Sleep is also a good way to regulate our hormones and maintain good physical health and mood levels.
3. Try new things
Often boredom can lead to lethargy. We need to be able to stimulate ourselves mentally, challenge our own minds and thoughts.
For example, if you are bored at the same desk job, you can join a dance group or an art class.
It can even be activities that you have recently seen and just want to try out, like cooking something new or innovative.
When we challenge ourselves like this, our brain feels forced to get out of a rut and get activated.
Trying new things is also about learning more about the world. When we learn something, we may spark an interest in it.
This interest can help us feel motivated to learn more or share what we have learned.
4. Socially activity
Brain fog may make people seek less social contact, however, one of the ways to treat brain fog is to do more social things.
Being around people forces us to maintain some level of attention and keep up conversations.
Hence, without meaning to, we perform mental exercises that help us step out of a sluggish feeling.
For people who have brain fog due to lack of sleep, talking to people may actually help them get through the day till they can go home and sleep at night.
5. Memory exercises
Forgetfulness is not an enjoyable quality in any setting. Hence, to manage that, one has to try new ways to memorize things.
It could be repetition, noting things down, coming up with a song, or using any other mnemonic device.
People with frequent brain fog can learn to keep extra post-it notes and alarms for important things that they should not forget.
Making notes on things they want to refer to later is also a good exercise to practice when dealing with brain fog and memory problems.
Our lives are clustered and we all go through days where we are more forgetful than the rest.
However, for people who have brain fog, these exercises help to keep those days at a minimum. Additionally, it keeps the memory function of their brain active.
6. Maintain focus
Along with memory, people with brain fog lose focus fairly easily.
They cannot complete simple tasks without being distracted at least a few times. Hence, one way to deal with their brain fog is to engage in focus-driven exercises.
They may try to focus on particular tasks before they are allowed to check their phone or talk to their colleagues.
These small incentives can help drive focus, at least for short bursts of time, which slightly shakes off the brain fog.
7. Don’t multitask
Brain fog and multitasking do not go hand in hand. If someone who has brain fog tries to multitask, they are inclined to make mistakes on at least one of them, if not both.
Avoiding multitasking helps them focus on the task at hand and plan better for the next one.
Engaging in single thoughts also helps a person plan their day and schedule better.
They may be able to look at all the possible things they can forget or run into problems with. These deep thoughts are a good way to channel all the energy they have available.
Meditation, or sitting silently with your thoughts, is a good way to improve attention, focus, concentration, and mental activities.
The inner peace that meditation provides helps people with brain fog to focus on their inner voice, which tells them what they need to do.
While meditation may not always help everyone, it does provide a good way to reduce stress.
The relaxation that is achieved through meditation is similar to that our bodies achieve through exercise.
9. Avoid alcohol and substances
Alcohol has an intoxicating effect on people, whether or not they have brain fog.
It makes people lose their sense of reality and makes them feel disoriented. Hence, people who have brain fog should particularly stay away from it.
Other intoxicating substances also further make a person feel disoriented. If you want to clear brain fog and achieve mental clarity, alcohol and substance will have the exact opposite effect.
Additionally, long-term alcohol consumption can have severe effects on our brains. Along with making us lose our senses, they also can make us dependent, which is not good for our brain fog.
A balanced diet with all necessary nutrients and supplements can go a long way in treating brain fog.
Following a Mediterranean diet is particularly helpful, as it has a good amount of proteins, fats, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.
We are used to eating food without thinking of its health benefits.
A pizza, for example, may taste great but lack certain vital nutrients. Thus, we may have to make up for it by eating a salad with ingredients that have those nutrients.
Foods that are rich in Omega 3s are also good to treat brain fog. Include foods like avocados, coconut oil, seafood, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, and extra virgin olive oil in your diet.
If necessary, consult your physician to prescribe you food that is most suitable for your own needs.
Some people follow different types of diets, and hence they must take care to include all necessary food groups in their diet.
Brain fog is a condition that makes us feel sluggish. It is a lack of mental clarity and sharpness that we need to get through a day,
While there are many causes for brain fog, there is also a silver lining, as there are also multiple ways to treat brain fog! We must only learn to focus on our physical and mental health.
Rashi Modi is a mental health counsellor by training (with a Masters in Psychology) and a reader by choice. She is a hopeful social entrepreneur, with experience in the social sector, multiple NGOs, and a philanthropic mindset. She likes to write about things that continue to fascinate her, even after eight years of studying psychology - our beautifully complex mind and all the relationships we find ourselves navigating every single day. She is sure that reading a good blog along with a nice cup of coffee is an act of self care; one that she wholeheartedly supports.