If you are struggling with fibromyalgia, CFS/ME/SEID and/or chronic pain, then chances are that you have had the experience of short term memory loss, word loss, concentration issues and more. Here are my top tips to help reduce fibro fog/brain fog.
I think one of the important things to bear in mind is that you are so NOT ALONE in regards to fibro fog/brain fog. For more information on fibro fog/brain fog, please check out this article.
Admittedly, I try to put these tips into practice as best as I can at all times, although multi-tasking seems to be the way I am…I am indeed a Type A Personality! So here goes…
- Notepads – keeping notepads in designated places around the house can help you from adding things to your shopping list, writing down things you want to ask your doctor and more. Keeping a pen attached to the notepad is an even better idea! 🙂
- Post It Notes – Ok – I am addicted to these things…and they do have a habit of making their way all over our home. But the thing is – they work! Strategically posting reminders on the fridge, bathroom mirror or other places are an excellent way to remind me to do things. (They are also great if you fold them up so the sticky is on the outside and swipe them between your keyboard keys to get out all the shmutz!).
- Avoid caffeine – You might think that caffeine makes you more alert, however, caffeine can actually make things worse for people with fibromyalgia. In fact, just a small amount of caffeine can contribute to sleep disturbances. As well, caffeine is a stimulant, so when you crash from the caffeine high, you feel just as bad, if not worse.
- Planners Help – By using a calendar on your phone, computer and also an actual paper calendar, they will help keep you on track. Get a calendar on your phone that has reminder alarms. Double up – put the appointment/event in your phone AND your paper calendar. Make sure you write down not only the time and what you are doing, but addresses, contact details etc if you don’t know them off by heart. Make sure you have contact details for your appointment etc in your phone in case you are running late etc – so that you have the number to hand.
- Get Into a Routine – Getting into a routine in regards to starting your day and finishing it, is really important. Having locations specifically for certain items (such as keeping files for medical stuff) and knowing that these items go ‘there’ every time will help you enormously. (Until they don’t…like when I lost a garlic press (how I don’t know – it goes from the utensils holder to the stove top to the sink and back – all of 2 feet…LOST. Even hubby couldn’t find the press. That was a year ago…!) Together with my ice pack, concert tickets…I could go on, but I will spare you the details…I am sure you have your very own list – if you can remember it!).
- Stop Multi-Tasking – I know, I know. Easier said than done, particularly as a woman! 🙂 For many of us our time, patience and ability to do things is at a minimal when we are exhausted and in pain. It’s very easy to get caught up doing several things at once, instead of concentrating on each item separately. For me, this is a HUGE one…I am all over the shop when it comes to doing things…I go back and forth doing this and that – from writing a blog to making a cup of tea. It always gets done in the end…getting to the end however, is a rollercoaster! And many times my tea is found either cold, with the bag still in, bag out no milk in, or milk in and I forgot to take the mug!!! Every day is a new day! 🙂
- Get a Better Sleep – Stop screaming at the me! I know, I know, if you could, you would, right? It;s imperative to speak to your doctor if you are struggling to sleep, as ultimately lack of sleep only increases brain fog/fibro fog. It also can increase pain. Try having a relaxing bath before going to bed and not use your laptop, tablet or smartphone when you are in bed. (Yah, right!). Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time so that you are getting into a routine and keep your bedroom comfortable, uncluttered, dark and cool for optimal sleep. I personally like listening to classical music on the radio at a very low volume. There are a variety of supplements available to help sleep, but please check to make sure that they don’t interact with any of your prescriptions. Just because it is natural and herbal, does not mean that there aren’t interactions!
- Meditate – This is another one I admittedly struggle with. I cannot seem to get my mind ‘still’. I have even been known to get the candles out, the bubble bath, the classical music…hop into the bath, lie there for 2 minutes and get out again. This is because a) I am unable to quiet my mind and b) I am in a lot of pain lying on my coccyx in the tub! However, that being said, I know (and you should too), that meditation is really good for us. As Ashok Gupta from The Meaning of Life Experiment says, in his videos ‘you have a shower to clean your body, meditation is a shower to clean your mind’. I really love what Ashok has done with this incredible experiment (that you download for free as an app). Wonderful videos, amazing meditations and a lot of insight as to what makes us tick. There’s also some great (and free) meditation apps to download for your phone and even meditations on YouTube.
- Drink Water – we all know how important drinking at least 3Litres of water a day is. But do you do it? Imagine your brain and body being dried up like a plant’s soil that desperately needs water. It’s not going to grow. In fact, it is going to droop and be lacklustre (if not croak completely). By drinking water and hydrating your body and your brain will certainly help mental clarity. If you struggle to drink a lot of water (I do…I feel horrible saying I don’t like water when so many in this world have none…but I really don’t unless it is ice cold. With lemon.), try brewing up some fruit teas. They are calorie and sugar free, give your water a lovely taste and will keep you hydrated without any added chemical sweeteners.
- Eating More Healthily – Steering away from processed foods, sugar, gluten, grains, legumes, wheat and dairy (for some) as well as soy is important. Fresh vegetables, meats, fruits low in sugar (berries for example) will help you go the distance. Sugar, grains and legumes affect insulin and also are the culprit for making us fat. (Eating fat on the other hand does not make us fat – contrary to the popular belief.) Carbohydrates will also give you that speedy high and then the low afterwards. By reducing your carb intake it keeps your blood sugars level, allowing you to think more clearly on a more consistent basis. You know the Chinese food syndrome? When you eat loads and an hour or so later you are starving? That’s carbs at their best! A high from the sugar and starches and then bang! Your body wants more food after it has used up all the carb intake energy quickly. Here is a great little video on the whole ‘fat lie’.
- Check on your medications. Your treatment for fibro and chronic pain most likely may include prescription meds. Inform your doctor of what is going on for you in regards to your brain fog as it may be a possible side effect. Don’t know what medications are helping or hindering you? Click here to find out more to help you gain more clarity.
So, there you have it! My awesome (if I say so myself) top tips for dealing with fibro fog/ brain fog. If you have any tips that you’ve found helpful, please share by commenting below.