Brain Fog: Head in the Clouds

It has been a cereal in the fridge and milk in the pantry kind of day (yes, you read that right)! I don’t think that I could have found a better picture to go with this topic. “My brain has too many tabs open.”

Brain fog has been a part of my life for the past 10 years or so. It comes in waves on and off and is a disruption to my day and productivity.

What Brain Fog is Like

It is struggling to come up with certain words while having a conversation, feeling as if there is a mental block, and you cannot think straight. Brain fog is not remembering even the smallest things like what you had for dinner last night. There’s a disconnect and you just don’t feel very mentally sharp.

You may start to lack focus, and concentration, and just feel spaced out. Brain fog is an uncomfortable feeling that makes you feel like you are missing out on your surroundings, conversations, and just recollection in general.

What Your Body is Trying to Tell You

For me, brain fog is always an indicator that I am stretching myself too thin, that I am overworking myself and not taking the proper time to rest and unwind. Brain fog usually hits me when I keep running and pushing myself well past my limits and to be honest, I don’t even know my limits sometimes, I just keep going until it’s too late.

Your body is very good at giving you signals about what it needs. You feel hunger pangs because your body needs fuel, you feel tired because your body needs sleep, and you feel thirsty because your body needs to be hydrated. You are not feeling mentally sharp because your brain needs a break and needs time to not be going full steam.

Brain Fog Is a Serious Matter

Brain fog should not be taken lightly as it is an indicator that something is amiss. Of course, it may be due to lack of sleep, or certain medications, but not feeling mentally clear warrants immediate attention.

Many years ago, when I was still in college, I pushed myself to the point of being completely burned out. I didn’t realize there was such a thing until it happened to me. My short-term memory was terrible and following any sort of conversation, even reading was so very difficult. I would have a conversation with someone or read parts of an article and I was not able to recite back to you what I had just heard or read.

Someone asked me who the president of the United States was at the time, and I wasn’t able to answer them, not because I didn’t know, but because I couldn’t recall who it was no matter how hard I tried. It took me nearly 6 months to recover from this burnout. I truly thought that I was never going to get my mind back, it was a very scary time.

Take Care of Your Mind

We must take every effort to take care of our minds and bodies. We need to listen to ourselves and take breaks when necessary. Our minds are not machines, and they will have a breaking point.

Take action and take time for yourself so that you can come back ready to go and conquer life again. With a little rest and self-care, slowly the fogginess in your brain will disappear.

Inside the Mind of a Blogger

I recently came across an amazing quote that I found to be so true. “A writer is a world trapped in a person.” – Victor Hugo. This quote really spoke to me, it describes me as a blogger. This side of me, my writing side, goes very deep and is often a side of me solely expressed through writing.

I have loved writing since I was very young. I sometimes had trouble coming up with what to write about in school, but once I came up with a certain topic and got started, there was no stopping me! I loved the feeling of putting pen to paper and just letting my thoughts flow. I was in my element and felt so free. I still feel the very same today, maybe even more so. Writing to me is incredibly therapeutic and is an amazing form of expression.

When I write, whether it be pen to paper, or on my laptop, I really do feel like I am in another world and also that I have a whole nother world to express. Each and every topic that I choose to write about has great importance to me. There is so much that I feel I have to say and so much desire to share with the world in hopes to help someone find happiness, motivation, peace, hope, inspiration, being able to relate. I’m curious how other bloggers feel about this quote, does it also apply to you?

You Don’t Know

“If you haven’t walked in someone else’s shoes, it’s difficult to know the fit, so be kind and compassionate.” – Heather Wolf. This quote is so true and although I always try my best to be kind and compassionate and I am a very empathetic person, it is truly not possible to know exactly how a person feels until you have been in their shoes.

Earlier this year one of my friends was in a situation and she was describing what it felt like to be in that situation and how she reacted etc. I listened and empathized with her, she explained her feelings and at that time I remember being compassionate towards her, yet not understanding exactly how or why she felt that way. Everyone is different and responds to situations differently, I listened and supported her. After our conversation I found myself pondering how I would react and feel if I were in the same situation. It was not even close to how she felt, yet ironically a few months later I found myself in the same exact situation as her with the same exact feelings as she had described!

The takeaway from this post is that we cannot possibly know what it feels like to be in a situation if we are not actually in it. We can guess and think of how we would feel, but it is not possible to know until then. I was shocked that I reacted completely different than what I had imagined that I would. I am a very open-minded and non-judgmental person, yet this was very eye-opening for me!

Hamster Wheel

Our brain is a very interesting and powerful organ. Whatever we feed it can make or break us. Our minds soak up a lot of information including the thoughts that we have and if we are not consciously filtering our thoughts, they can really take over us. Sometimes this process is slow, or we do not recognize how we are shaping our brain, but it truly does eventually have a great impact.

Have you ever been thinking of something, or worried about something and then before you know it you are thinking about that thought over and over again? Or, maybe your mind may have thought up many new thoughts that led to other thoughts and then you forgot the one you were originally thinking about! Our minds can take a thought and run with it if we let it.

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You may have heard of the terms hamster wheel and snowball effect. Both describe what happens to our brain when we overthink, or think in an anxious manner. The hamster wheel basically describes how someone persistently thinks the same thoughts over and over again, but gets nowhere because their thoughts go around and around in circles like a hamster running on a hamster wheel. The snowball effect states that our thoughts continue to gain momentum and power the more that we keep thinking. Like a snowball that gets bigger as it rolls down a hill, the thoughts keep gaining speed and power as it collects more momentum, our thoughts are fueling more thoughts.

These patterns of thinking happen to all of us, but I feel like they may be more common in individuals that are deep-thinkers, or are prone to anxiety. I know that I fall into both of these categories and once my mind gets going, it can be very hard to get it to stop. I have found ways that have helped though. First, it helps to calm the mind from all of the racing thoughts. Ways to do this include meditation, focusing on your breathing, observing details in the objects around the room you are in, anything that can shift your brain away from the current thoughts you are having. Once your mind is calmer, then you can put your energy into a project, or your to-do list, keeping active to avoid overthinking too much. If your mind was running because you were pondering a decision, or because of a question that you have, once you have relaxed some, try to look at the decision or question at hand logically and try to remove as much emotion as possible. Try to be mindful when your mind starts to wander astray from focusing just on the task at hand, which is to solve your question, or make a decision.

It is definitely easier said than done, but try not to let your mind run away on you! I still struggle with this often, but it really does rob one of a peaceful day. Having some control of the mind makes for a much easier way of life!

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In Tune

Isn’t it funny how a certain song has the power to bring back so many memories? It’s as if it temporarily transports us back in time. Certain songs remind us of certain events, or times in our lives and they can evoke so many emotions.

I love the feeling of being in my car and having a song play from many years ago. It’s like having a little blast from the past. It’s pretty amazing how many years, or even decades later, a simple song can trigger so many thoughts and emotions in our brain.

Years and years ago, it was common for people to burn CDs of their favorite music. I spent hours and used countless CDs to burn my favorite songs throughout the years. I keep them all in a CD case in my car and still to this day, I spend more time listening to my CDs than the radio, or any other way of listening to music. I love the connection to old songs and the happiness that comes from listening to them. I have songs that remind me of my high school graduation many years ago, songs that remind me of college, relationships, friendships, dates that I went on, jobs that I’ve had, vacations that I have taken, the list is endless. It seems like every song ties me to a certain time in my life.

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As I sit here and write this, I can’t help but to think of the importance of memories and the importance of music. It is so valuable to keep memories alive and to remember the good times. Not only is it a happiness booster, but it reminds us of where we have been and who we have become. Music is equally important for boosting our mood and finding connection to the lyrics is an extra bonus. A good tune and beat is just good for the soul. Our brains are tied to things that evoke great emotion like events, music, art, certain scents, etc. These all stay etched in our brains. Recall how a certain scent can remind you of someone, or even a holiday scent that brings you back to memories of celebrations with your loved ones.

It is very important for us to do things that bring us joy and happiness. The memories from the past still are very much a part of who we are. To me, it’s so fun going back and “reliving” these moments simply by listening to a song. Try putting on some of your favorite songs from way back when, particularly songs that you listened to during some of the most fun and happy times of your life and see what a good mood booster it can be!

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