Who else has been getting more brain foggy in quarantine? It can feel like a lack of mental clarity, mild confusion, poor concentration and loss of focus and attention. Basically, it feels like you’re functioning in a haze. Brain fog can come from an accumulation of all the toxins, contaminants, microbes and chemicals we’re exposed to every day – and that can lead to chronic inflammation. Our gut also plays an important role in feeling foggy-brained, so an inflamed gut is the last thing we want! Here are 6 ways to get rid of brain fog.
It’s important to get some sun and engage with nature at least 4-5 times per week. Studies have shown that engaging with nature helps combat exposure to environmental toxins, reduce inflammation and alleviate anxiety and stress. For me, walks are a great way to get fresh air and some sun time (with SPF, of course)!
Get enough sleep
Getting enough QUALITY and RESTORATIVE sleep is important when it comes to getting rid of brain fog. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can have a big negative impact on your cognitive health, which can lead to memory problems, sluggishness and changes in how your brain functions at a cellular level. It’s recommended that you get 7-9 hours of deep, uninterrupted sleep every night. If you need a nap to give yourself a mid-day reset, try to limit yourself to the recommended time of 20 minutes.
If you’re working on improving your sleep schedule, try going to bed around the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. It takes time and routine!
Manage stress through self-care
Managing stress is an important step when it comes to getting rid of brain fog. I like to release any tension through journaling, exercise and TM meditation. I always like to include meditation into both my morning and nighttime routine because it helps improve cognition and memory. Working out at least 2-3 times a week also helps improve cerebral blood flow. I always incorporate a daily walk and an at-home workout depending on how I’m feeling into my daily routine. Yoga especially has been proven to reduce vagal tone, which contributes to stress response and ultimately leads to brain fog. You can manage stress through many different forms of self-care, so find whatever works best for you!
Correct your microbiome
The brain-gut connection (the connection between your digestive health and mental health) can sometimes be a cause of brain fog. Basically, if the healthy bacteria in your gut aren’t healthy, your brain most likely won’t be either – and vice versa.
The bacteria in our microbiome help digest our food, regulate our immune system, protect against other bacteria that cause disease and produce vitamins like vitamins B, B12 and K. Improving or repairing your gut will take time and dedication – but there a few simple places you can start. You can take prebiotic and probiotic supplements, improve your sleep, and focus on eating whole foods.
I talked about all things gut health with Dr. Will Bulsiewicz (aka The Gut Health MD) on The Blonde Files Podcast. Definitely listen to it here if you haven’t already!
Eat brain-boosting foods
The brain-gut connection is SO important when it comes to getting rid of brain fog – and it starts with what you eat. Your meals should consist of complex carbs like grains and veggies and generous amounts of healthy fats like avocados, nuts and seeds. Avoid processed foods, sugar, simple sugars and dairy. The best brain foods are the same ones that protect your heart and blood vessels like green, leafy veggies, fatty fish, berries, nuts and dark chocolate (you don’t have to tell me twice!). I also make sure to include adaptogens and antioxidants into my diet!
Practicing deep breathing exercises helps enhance blood flow and oxygenation. I love doing this through breathwork to release any mental, physical and emotional tension. If you don’t know where to start, try the 4-7-9 technique. Place the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth and breathe in through your nose for 4 counts, hold your breath for 7 and then breathe out through your mouth for 8. This is also a great grounding technique!
How do you get rid of brain fog? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!