During these recent months of the pandemic more people are reporting experiencing a type of mental fatigue that may be described as brain fog. Brain fog isn’t actually a medical term, but is a name we’ve given to a set of symptoms, that affect our ability to think efficiently.
These symptoms include;
An inability to focus
Hazy memory & forgetfulness
Lack of mental clarity
Chatting to people about their experience reveals that these symptoms can affect work and school productivity for obvious reasons. Other knock-on effects include struggling to communicate or articulate clearly which can affect relationships too. Also, an inability to get organized, lack of motivation and feeling low and tearful seem to be linked with brain fog.
When I looked up likely causes of this condition, the obvious ones are listed; lack of sleep, prolonged stress &/or anxiety, hormonal change (during the menopause oestrogen levels drop and this can cause a forgetfulness and lack of concentration). Food allergies can also cause brain fog, as can some medical conditions.
I would expect that the most likely cause for the rise of cases during the pandemic is the stress/anxiety factor. The fact that many of us are struggling to get our brains into gear now, as we are soon to be easing out of lockdown is not really a surprise. This last year has seen many of us stuck at home for months on end with limited social interaction, having to work while also home schooling and dealing with the worry of financial and health impacts to ourselves, our friends and loved-ones.
It’s little wonder our brains have taken a hit!
So what to do?
Lifestyle habits that alleviate anxiety & stress are the obvious things, knowing your limits and managing stress, regular exercise, balanced diet (making sure you’re not deficient in Vitamin B12 or Iron), enough sleep (8-9 hours is recommended), taking time to do something you enjoy, avoiding excessive caffeine & alcohol.
I think also a good way to look at it is to know that it’s totally normal to feel some level of mental fatigue, with all that we have been dealing with this past year.
I’m choosing to laugh at my forgetfulness, accept that I’m a little less organized and expect that everything will become clearer when we emerge from lockdown!