MARCH 8, 2018 BY WENDY HENDERSON
One of the most frustrating symptoms of living with a chronic illness is brain fog. There are medications to treat many symptoms of chronic diseases, but sadly there isn’t yet a pill that takes away brain fog. However, there are ways to deal with it so patients can minimize its effects and lead a normal life.
Write Things Down
Everyone forgets things now and then, but having brain fog often means forgetting important dates and occasions. Keep a to-do list and a calendar in a highly visible location, or use an online diary to keep track of what each day holds. There are many mobile apps that can also help with organization.
Exercise the Body
Exercise offers a chance to turn off from all the usual things that occupy the mind. It can also improve sleep, which can in turn improve cognitive skills.
Exercise the Mind
Take the time to do thought-challenging exercises like crosswords, sudoku, and jigsaw puzzles, or learn a new language. In addition, maintaining a hobby will keep the mind focused on something positive.
Pick the Right Time of Day
Whether a morning lark or night owl, we all have certain times when we feel more alert. Choose a time each day when your concentration is at its highest to tackle difficult and complex tasks.
Eat a Brain-Healthy Diet
Eat lots of good fats known for brain health such as nuts, avocados, coconut oil, and omega-3-rich foods.
Get Plenty of Rest
Quality sleep and restorative naps (when appropriate) can dramatically improve cognitive health. Try to keep to a routine bedtime and waking time, even on the weekend, to promote a good sleep pattern.
Go Easy on Yourself
Don’t overdo it. Ask for help when needed and try to rest as much as possible to conserve energy. Participate in calming activities like taking a stroll through a peaceful spot, reading a book, or listening to music.
Organize Your Home and Workspace
Reorganize your living and working space so that everything you need regularly is easily accessible. This can help conserve energy and provide peace of mind.
If brain fog is worse first thing in the morning, laying out clothes the night before will be one less thing to have to stress over in the morning. Sort meds into a daily medication box so you know when you’re up to date and can easily make sure you haven’t forgotten to take them (or don’t take them more than once).