5 Ways To Cope With Brain Fog When You Have Fibromyalgia
Brain Fog Sucks.
Plain and simple. There is no way around it. It’s easily one of the top 5 WORST symptoms of fibromyalgia. Do you agree?
While I can’t give you the solution to your brain fog, I can give you some advice on how to live with it while you’re searching for it. These are the ways that I learned how to survive during my worst years.
1. Find your triggers.
I know… this is the most obvious and hardest piece of advice to follow. It is MUCH easier said than done and can take a lot of time and observation. But having brain fog on a consistent basis for months or years will eventually show some patterns.
Using a health journal can be very beneficial for not only finding your triggers, but also discovering interventions that help you feel better. It’s one of the best and most thorough ways to learn what is and isn’t working for your body.
You’ll especially want to pay attention to:
- Blood Sugar
- Caffeine and Alcohol Consumption
- Sleep Duration and Frequency
- Stress Level
- Exercise Frequency and Intensity
- Gut Health
- Exposure to Toxins (mold, personal care products, cleaning products, etc.)
You’ll begin to notice that many of these things can play a part in the frequency and intensity of your brain fog from day-to-day. You might even be surprised (and disappointed) by some of them – two of my biggest triggers are oatmeal and coffee. I was in denial about the coffee (I love coffee…), but the oatmeal was completely unexpected.
2. Avoid multi-tasking.
I think many of us know that multi-tasking isn’t the smartest and most efficient way to work. Forcing our brains to work overtime by trying to juggle multiple things at once makes us feel paralyzed and pushes us into an unproductive stupor.
As our society has become more engaged with social media, smartphones, and various other gadgets that keep us constantly connected and stimulated, more research has revealed that this continuous multi-tasking overloads the brain.
Our brains work better when we focus on one task at a time.
So, pair multi-tasking with brain fog and you have a serious decrease in productivity and an increase in frustration. Now is a great time to let go of your multi-tasking habits and give yourself a break. Believe me, you’ll feel A LOT better.
If you need to multi-task, pair a simple task with a harder one to help balance the brain power.
3. Leave the hard tasks for another day.
For the days that I really felt disconnected, I learned that anything that required a lot of thinking and problem-solving a made me feel even worse. So, I stopped trying to push through it and started to find other ways to be productive:
- Cleaning dishes
- Folding laundry
- Reducing clutter
- Cooking and baking
These tasks were surprisingly therapeutic and usually didn’t add any extra stress.
Don’t be discouraged if you postpone the more tedious tasks until you feel better. Remember, you still CAN be productive during foggy days. You just need to find what works for you.
I still haven’t found a quick “SOS” type of remedy to alleviate brain fog. Sleep, though, is the closest I’ve gotten.
Sometimes, a nap during the day or a full night’s sleep was the answer I needed to kick a bad day of brain fog. It is also no surprise that sleep deprivation can be a major trigger, so prioritizing sleep is imperative for functioning and thinking clearly.
Brain fog or not, sleep is important. So be sure to make it a priority and take notice of whether or not a daily nap or a few extra hours at night seem to help.
5. Say “no” if you need to.
This is my 2nd favorite tip. Why? Because learning to say “No” is a very useful skill but is something that many people find difficult to do.
But if you have brain fog, I believe this is a necessity and you will learn it quickly. It will benefit you for the rest of your life.
Social situations, for example, can be incredibly stressful. Small talk can actually be pretty exhausting if you can’t manage your thoughts and make conversation.
Take it from me…
If you aren’t feeling it, don’t go. Just say no (and don’t feel guilty).
I have found through my own experiences that some social situations, like those with close family and friends, may be helpful. Other events like graduation parties, wedding receptions, etc. tend to cause more stress due to the loud music and constant activity.
Pay attention to the types of social situations and outings that stress you out and don’t be afraid to avoid them in the future.
Finally, just remember to give yourself a break – it’s not easy. But, if you are determined, you WILL find the answers you need to banish brain fog forever.
In the meantime, remember to still have some fun and enjoy the simple things. If you’re like me, then maybe you’ll forget some of the memories you’ll make. But you can at least look back and say that you didn’t let brain fog keep you from finding and experiencing joy within your life.
Do you have brain fog? If so, share some tips on what has helped you.
I am not a healthcare professional, nor do I claim to be medically trained. All information, products, or services provided throughout my blog is written purely as a patient living with chronic illness. Always consult your personal healthcare provider before using any advice, guidance, or information from my blog and any other blog you visit.