If you have fibromyalgia, you know that along with the pain and fatigue come some frustrating symptoms like brain fog. It can be tough to get through your day when you feel like your mental clarity is constantly on vacation.
But don't worry; there are things you can do to help overcome fibro fog. Here are five ideas to get you started!
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Your body is similar to a machine, with many different parts working together to make that machine run efficiently. Your brain is the driving force of your machine. Though it's only 2% of your body weight, it uses over 20% of your body's energy.
So we need to take care of it to keep our body running smoothly and so we avoid reaching a point where the brain starts to slow down and affect our memory, focus, and concentration.
1. MAXIMIZE ON A HEALTHY DIET
Just as you wouldn't put the incorrect fuel in your car, your brain also needs suitable types of foods to work efficiently.
What you eat throughout the day can significantly affect your ability to focus and concentrate. It can also seriously impact your short-term and long-term mental health, increasing productivity and efficiency.
A fibro fog-busting diet needs to hit minerals and vitamins that have real potential to improve your memory and should include:
MINERALS & VITAMINS
Magnesium is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and soothing effect on the brain. It's a mineral that can help get rid of stress in the brain. In addition, it can improve your memory and enhance your learning skills. Whole grains, leafy green vegetables, nuts, and seafood are some foods that contain magnesium.
Zinc is essential for the healthy production and performance of brain cells. Zinc deficiency can lead to foggy thinking and memory loss. Shellfish, lean red meat, legumes, seeds, and nuts have high levels of zinc.
B vitamins are known for maintaining good brain health. Thiamine (B1) can significantly help boost mental clarity and short-term memory. Vitamin B6 can help support focus. Vitamin B9 (folate) is essential for memory and healthy brain function. If your body lacks vitamin B12, it can cause brain fog, confusion, and memory loss. Foods high in B vitamins are leafy greens, eggs, salmon and trout, milk, beef and chicken, shellfish, nutritional yeast, sunflower seeds, and legumes.
Vitamin D can be a helping factor because it aids in serotonin production, one of the feel-good hormones that help us stay focused and calm. Vitamin D is high in oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines. Eggs and mushrooms are also high in vitamin D.
Vitamins E & C contain antioxidants that work to eliminate free radicals and help your memory stay sharp. Get your vitamin E & C from citrus fruit, kiwi fruit, papaya, leafy vegetables, carrots, avocado, almonds, and sunflower seeds.
Research shows that protein, found in lean meat, eggs, beans, and nuts, is also perfect for concentration and focus because it's considered the brain's building block.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in salmon, tuna, black cod, and flaxseed. Omega-3 fatty acids work to keep your brain functioning properly.
While supplements aren't substitutes for good nutrition, they can come in handy, especially when your body lacks certain minerals and vitamins and you're unable to provide them through your daily diet.
It's good to consult with your physician before starting on any dietary supplements. Your physician may want to recommend specific vitamin doses to fit your nutritional needs.
Our brain is 85% water, and the brain's neurotransmitters and hormones need water to function. So when you get adequate hydration, you'll stay focused and alert for longer.
2. UTILIZE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Exercise can help you to get your memory back where it should be. Sometimes taking a short walk is all you need to free yourself from the frustration and stress that you may be experiencing.
When exercising, your brain receives a boost of oxygenated blood, supporting more focused thinking.
Walking a minimum of 30 minutes a day can help you be more focused, and increasing your memory's sharpness is a deterrent to improving your memory.
You can also improve your memory through meditation or breathing techniques to reduce fear and worry.
Play word games and complete puzzles. They will improve your memory and help you to concentrate better. Concentration is needed to have that sharp mental edge of remembering things.
3. IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP
Fibro fog often goes along with the fatigue that many people living with fibromyalgia experience.
We must get enough sleep to be able to function correctly. The average amount of sleep that a person needs is between six and eight hours every night.
Many people don't get enough sleep, and as a result, their memory suffers. Lack of sleep can cause a lack of alertness. In addition, it affects concentration when completing tasks.
Many people with fibromyalgia find it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep for varying reasons.
Some rely on medication to get some shut-eye. However, that does not always work or has unfavorable side effects, like feeling drowsy or slow-minded the next day.
Consuming large quantities of alcohol can be very dangerous, but some people rely on it to get to sleep. Drinking alcohol can leave you feeling incoherent and unfocused the next day. If you are a habitual drinker, you can have serious medical issues later in life.
Here are some helpful strategies to get to sleep that do not require the use of drugs or alcohol:
Don't focus on falling asleep. The more focus and concentration you use for that, the more difficult it will be for you to fall asleep. So instead, imagine you are somewhere in a relaxing atmosphere.
Keep the lights off while you are in bed. With the lights on, it can make it difficult for you to go to sleep.
Use a schedule where you do the same things every evening. Having a routine when you are preparing for bed can help you fall asleep. Your body will signal when it's time for you to crash.
Have a routine when waking up and going to bed every morning and evening. On the weekends, try not to sleep more than you need to. When you oversleep, it cannot be easy to sleep in the evening. Oversleeping can mess up your routine.
It would help if you did not watch television, read, eat, or use your phone when you are in bed. Instead, the bedroom should be a peaceful sanctuary where sleep is your priority.
If it takes you more than a half-hour to get to sleep, you should move to another quiet room. For example, you could read for a few minutes or watch a TV program that you have no interest in. Then go back to your bedroom and try falling asleep again. You may have to do this more than once for you to get some shut-eye.
Once you start getting enough sleep every night, your brain will start working to improve your memory. Finally, you will be well-rested enough to think clearly. Your brain will be very active, and you will recollect things that you could not do previously.
Improve your sleep with a weighted blanket
If you suffer from anxiety, stress, or insomnia, you understand how overwhelming and frustrating it can be to get the rest you need. While many natural remedies and medications are available, one option quickly picking up in popularity is using a weighted blanket.
4. EXPERIMENT WITH ESSENTIAL OILS
I'm sure there are certain events in your life that you connect with specific smells. For example, perhaps you happen to get a whiff of perfume or cologne, and it makes you think about things in the past.
Using aromatherapy can help amplify bringing something back to memory. Essential oils provide a fragrance from leaves, bark, flowers, and aromatic fruit that can stimulate your brain.
Peppermint and eucalyptus are two essential oils used in aromatherapy to help you concentrate more and be mentally aware of what's going on.
Sage enhances and improves your memory, while basil and bay laurel are others that stimulate the brain.
Mint, or essential oils with a citrus fragrance, work to stimulate your brain and help you to remember more. Inhaling some peppermint oil can be particularly beneficial for people with fibromyalgia. It works to stimulate your brain, removes pain, and provides comfort for an upset stomach.
Rosemary is another essential oil used in aromatherapy to enhance and stimulate your brain. If you are a student facing an upcoming test, you can use this essential oil to help you.
In addition to being used to stimulate the brain, aromatherapy is considered a technique to soothe your mind and release stress. Some examples of soothing oils are chamomile and lavender.
Whatever essential oil you use, take a cotton wool ball and place a few drops of oil on it, then inhale the scent. You can use more than one oil at a time. You can create a unique blend that suits your needs.
Before starting the aromatherapy and essential oils process, here are some things to keep in mind:
Check with your physician, particularly if you have any medical conditions, or are pregnant, to ensure that the fragrances and oils do not cause adverse reactions.
The oils are not to be consumed internally, and they are not to be applied directly to your skin.
5. BE YOURSELF & GET CREATIVE
There are many tips and tricks that you can use to improve your memory. Some of them are unique and creative. But, regardless of how unusual some of them may seem, they will work if you put them to the test.
You can use them in the categories of reasoning, acknowledging different patterns, and math problems. Whatever exercises your mind is right for you.
Here are some creative and logical ways you can stimulate your brain to improve your memory:
Read books whenever you get a chance. Spend at least an hour a few times a week reading fiction and non-fiction books. If you have a full-time job, read on your lunch hour. If you commute using public transportation, read on the bus or the train.
Decorate your home with different colors. Studies have found that color can influence memory and attention. Use green in rooms you want to be calming, such as your bedroom, or orange in your study to support concentration.
Use music to your advantage; whether you want to stimulate your brain or help get into a relaxed mood playing music during your day can help.
Play some board games such as chess or Scrabble. These games can be a challenge and help to stimulate brain cells.
Connect with other people who have something in common with you. It can help to also get together with relatives and close friends that you don't see very often. If there are clubs in your area, join one you are interested in.
Don't be afraid to reach out and explore new things. Trying different things when it comes to improving your memory is essential. Engaging other senses help stimulate your mind, improve your memory, and help you relax. In addition, being active keeps your mind sharp and focused.