9 Tips To Help Clear Brain Fog

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How do I say this? I CAN’T THINK STRAIGHT THIS WEEK. Ok, I guess I came up with those words pretty easy but if I want to speak past a 6th-grade grammar level I need a thesaurus.

Many suffering with chronic illness find themselves plagued by a condition known as brain fog.

clear brain fog

You may have also heard of fibro fog in the fibromyalgia community. Same thing! At it’s very worst it can cause a disorienting effect that can leave a person not knowing where they are or where they were headed for 30-90 seconds or more. I haven’t experienced it to that extreme, yet.

My main problems are losing my train of thought mid-sentence, comprehending what I’m reading, and having trouble following conversations. Sometimes it can feel like a bunch of static in my head and I wish I could just tune in to whatever channel needs to be my focus for that moment.

There are a few little tricks I keep up my sleeves to help clear brain fog. I thought I’d share them with you.

    1. Don’t trust your brain. Even though you think of yourself as normally an intelligent person who’s really focused; just face it. For certain periods of time, possibly every day for some, you won’t be able to trust that little gray matter in your skull. Don’t stress about it or feel less of a person – just work with it. Determine that you’ll change how you do certain things so you can manage at your very best!
    2. Don’t panic – you’re not losing your mind. Some individuals get really nervous that they could be developing Alzheimer’s. The two aren’t related and the one doesn’t turn into the other. For example, with brain fog I might forget what you just told me but with Alzheimer’s I may forget who you are.
    3. Make lists! And use them! Use a planner too! I’m getting better at this all the time. For example, I developed a grocery list that is divided into sections according to the aisles in my local grocery store. This really helps me stay on track and focused. I don’t have to keep scanning through a list in the midst of store noise to be sure I grabbed it all; I just start at aisle one and I’m all set.
    4. Sleep. The problems with brain fog are multiplied when you’re tired and wore out. I understand insomnia can come with the territory of chronic illness too. Try your best to do what you can to unwind at night and talk to your dr to see what can be done to help. Insomnia is horrible and can highlight fatigue, fog, and pain – among other problems!
    5. Talk to your doctor about possibly adding some supplements to your mix. I discovered a supplement called ribose from reading a book by Dr. Teitelbaum called Fatigued to Fantastic. D-Ribose is a simple, natural sugar that your body uses in the energy molecules. It also helps process other nutrients as well, such as the B vitamins. As part of my treatment my doctor has me taking B vitamins 3x’s a day; mainly for the fatigue. However, I have noticed a drastic difference with my brain fog on days I don’t take them.
    6. Get oxygen moving in your blood! Exercise increases the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain and helps with the fog. I understand there are days we can barely shower, let alone get out for a walk. For those days, I’ve noticed sitting on my porch, or even in the house in a quiet room for a bit, and breathing deeply helps calm down my mind when it’s racing or foggy and it allows me to focus better.




  1. Cut back on the sensory overload. I grew up in a house where the tv was on almost constantly. Sad to say it’s on way too much in my own home. To top it off I have my cell phone, my kindle, my computer, my husband, my kids and my grandson all contributing to the amount of input my brain is trying to process at any given moment. On days I’m at my foggiest I find taking some time away from all the media noise helps! I can’t turn off the people in the home, I’ve tried ;). But I can limit those other things!
  2. Uni Task. I don’t know who decided multi-tasking was the benchmark for productive women but they certainly didn’t have a chronic illness or brain fog. I’m not militant about this. Yes, I’ll do other things while I have a load of laundry in the washer but trying to do too much just adds to the already confused state of our minds. Focus on one thing at a time and don’t allow yourself to be distracted by trying to do multiple things at once.
  3. Avoid caffeine. Trust me, a Coke is usually the first thing I want to grab when I need to focus but it only means you’re going to crash later on. Also, because it’s a stimulant it can make all those jumbled thoughts floating around in there move faster-making things worse!

 

 

What have I missed? I’d love to hear your ideas and tips for getting through your brain fog days! Leave a comment below!





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36 thoughts on “9 Tips To Help Clear Brain Fog

  1. I hate it. Make me feel inadequate and stupid. I know what I want to communicate just can’t put it together to come out in a communication. My mind literally freezes sometimes. I like all of your suggestions. I would add that when I am able to use my sleep apnea machine it helps tremendously. Apparently having enough oxygen in brain when your sleeping helps your memory and quick thinking. I have been struggling because I had confirmation that the antibiotic Cipro which I have been taking 4-5 x a year for the last 6 years for a UTI or sinus infection , has actually made my CMT progress.

    • You had mentioned about the Cipro the other day, I’m so sorry to hear that! I can’t stand the brain fog either! My mind will go blank and it takes a few seconds to figure out what word I wanted to say. I have to ask people to repeat themselves often too. Thank you for sharing the additional tip of your sleep apnea machine!

  2. Hi. Loved the tips this week. Brought something back to mind that might be helpful to others who are beating themselves up with the blame game regarding remembering things. First let me tell you, I’ve had Fibromyalgia since 1991, and was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy in 2007. I’m 55 years old, and I graduated this past December, with honors, with dual Bachelors Degrees in Religious Studies and Human Services. With that being said, looking back on my last 3 years (I kept up classes in summer to graduate a year early), I don’t know how I did it. I’ve always been my worst critic, so B’s were as bad as F’s in my mind, and I expected nothing but A’s from myself. That might be great for a healthy young adult, but the expectation I placed on myself for those years was unreasonable and unfair. Fortunately, and only by the grace of God, I completed my goal. Here’s what helped me through my senior year. My disability go-to person had a heart-to-heart with me one day in her office. Realizing my exhaustion and frustration, she said to me, “Do you realize how difficult it is to do what you’re doing with chronic pain?” She was a bit stern with me, which took me by surprise! She went on to say, “Having constant, relenting pain is bad enough. But when you add a professor lecturing, classmates chiming in, your own thoughts on the subject, AND trying to write everything down in 3-hour classes, things get worse.” I sat there, nodding my head in agreement and knowing exactly what she meant … And then she finished with, “Now add a child, screaming in your one ear, trying to take away your attention, demanding you stop and listen to her. How do you think you would cope with THAT?” I Immediately chimed in with, “I’d have to quit school. I’d be exhausted! It’d be impossible for me to absorb the contents of class and write good notes, let alone be confident and able to do well on upcoming exams!” She said, “That child is your constant pain. It’s screaming for you to feel it! Acknowledge that it is there and draining you minute-by-minute of energy that you saved for class. It could care less that you only got three words written on your notepad out of the last two sentences that was said! It just demands your attention!” I was stunned! She was right! In all I was doing, I hadn’t put the pain into the equation. It had become such a part of me that I didn’t even acknowledge it, except for when my shoes got so tight from swelling that I needed to slip them off under the table. Wow! I truly was worn out, but I realized how much I was accomplishing ‘under the circumstances’. She devised a plan to fit my needs which included a special pen (I think it was called an ‘Echo’ pen with a special notebook) that recorded class AND was able to play back the lecture wherever I lost track so that I could catch up with correct notes. She wrote me a note to all professors that I needed to have special seating up front. This took away all the distractions from others who were moving around, playing on their computers, or talking to each other. And lastly, she encouraged me to use my wheelchair for the longer classes so that my feet were comfortably on the footrests and not dangling (I’m only 4’10” tall), which helped alleviate some of my swelling. It was the best semester of my entire college experience! The moral of this story is, don’t allow your pride or your stubbornness to get in the way of helpful progress. Look for ways to help yourself in situations, whether it’s work, school, whatever. And remember, pain is like a child screaming in your ear constantly. No one can go throughout life with that happening every single day from the moment you wake up until you zonk out from exhaustion at night. Give yourself a break! Find ways to ge things done easier. As my husband often tells me, “Work smarter, not harder!” If you’re in meetings all day, ask if you can get an Echo Pen and notebook to help you keep good notes. Of course, with that you’ll need to disclose to others that you’re recording, but once you’re done rewriting the notes later, erase the audio! Start finding easier and more beneficial ways to be more productive. Not for others, but for yourself. You’ll maybe have extra energy later into the evening to enjoy family or hobbies. I know this was long, but I wanted to share this with everyone. God bless you all. Stay strong!

    • Thank you for sharing, Lori! We definitely have to learn to give ourselves a break from our own expectations and learn to rework our life in a way that is productive and fulfilling despite our illness. Working smarter but not harder is a wonderful cheer for those with chronic illness! I’m so glad you stopped by!

      • I have so many reasons not to have a memory it is amazing I know my name. Brain fog is the worst it’s like you can see what your trying to think of but it is just out of reach- hate it!

        • It completely feels like words are right on the tip of my tongue but I just can’t find them! It can be awful can’t it?!

  3. Another great post! Great suggestions, I think the making and keeping lists should be part of the “don’t trust your brain”. Write everything down!

    • I keep a “paper brain” in my purse! A pretty journal my son’s girlfriend gave me for Christmas and I write everything in there!

  4. I know this blog is geared towards chronic ill ness but there are not very mant blogs that deal with trauma and faith so this one time I would like to shated that link.
    I have finished the third chapter of my trauma story it is a good feeling to have it done. I am not sure why the spirit pushed me to do it but I feel a great sense of peace now. If you have not read the first two chapters go here-
    http://healingtakesalifetime.blogspot.com/…/my-trauma-story…

    The third part to the story can be found here- http://healingtakesalifetime.blogspot.com/…/part-iii-of-my-…

    Thanks.

  5. Wow. I’m so happy I read this. I thought I was the only one with brain fog. Now I know what it really is. I don’t feel so alone now. Thank you so much for sharing. I have this almost everyday for quite awhile at a time and I’ve been trying to work with it now. Before I would really freak out and have a full panic, anxiety attacks. I am battling fybro, depression, anxiety, the fog. It’s awful nice to read this. Please share me with more information if you can I am so thankful this came up on here for me too see. Like an angel watching over me and showed me what this is I have had for many years now. I have children too and a demanding man as well. It is just hard for me to keep up with everything. And on top of their demands plus chores. Yikes it’s a crazy roller coaster. But I’m just trying to go on living with this. There have been times I’ve felt like just giving up but that is not a choice for me. I’ve got to go on for me and My children. I pray so much for healing.

    • You are definitely not alone Sandra! There are days I can’t seem to focus on anything at all and my brain feels like mush. You are right that we have to go on living with it, we just need to learn a few tricks so can we live our lives as best as possible despite our illness. It may be a different life than before, but it can still be a good one! The depression and anxiety tends to go hand and hand with a lot of fibro patients. I know I go through them both at various times. I’m so glad you ran across my blog – that’s why I do this – I want you to know you’re not alone and have someone to share your struggles with. You can subscribe to my blog in the top right column and then each time I write a new post it will be emailed to you so you don’t miss any. 🙂

  6. I had a job interview a couple of weeks ago and my brain fog hit. I was so embarrassed because I know I looked like a complete idiot. Needless to say I didn’t get the job. I am going to try a couple of the things you mention here and God willing it will help with the fog. Thanks so much.

    • I’m so sorry that the fog hit at such an important meeting! Keeping working on it! You’ll find what things you can do to help. For me, it usually doesn’t eliminate the fog, but at least it limits it.

  7. Get allergies treated! My brain fog improved SO much after starting an anti-histamine & getting my sinus congestion under control.

  8. My worst forgetting is my meds…some mornings I will take my meds and then a few minutes later not remember if I took them. Conversely.. I can also forget to take them and think that I did..

    • I have problems with that too, Linda. I have to use the weekly pill sorter boxes. Like Lisamarie said, it can be dangerous if you double dose or even if you completely miss doses of certain meds.

  9. I’ve learned my brain fog shows up when my Serotonin level is down. So now when I feel foggy I take 3mg of Melatonin at bedtime for 3-5 days and things get much better.

  10. Thank you so much about posting on brain fog. My mother is developing early alzheimers, and I’m lucky to have pants on when I leave the house. B12 is my next try for energy. I do make lists, but I either forget or lose them. I now post them on the mirror in the bathroom. Good ideas, every little bit helps!

    thanks again!
    Carin Fuerniss

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your mother. I hope the B12 helps. It’s all a matter of learning the tricks that help you get through the day in a workable manner.

  11. These are great tips, Kim. Turning down the noise around me can help me so much, too. It can take me a bit to notice I need it sometimes, but I sense a difference when I do notice it and make changes! Thanks for sharing this! Tweeted it so others can benefit, too 💗

  12. LDN has helped me very much with brain fog. I have been taking LDN for a year because of CFS and feel very great improvement in memory and concentration.

  13. Thank you for this post. I used to be the go to person on how to do things or facts and figures. But, after 22 years of fibromyagia I find myself searching for basic words at times. Your point about losing my train of thought in the middle of saying something really hit home. I’ve read about d ribose and have meant to try it. Now I will! What kind of doctor did you see who gave you this advice. Sadly I have yet to find a doctor who who doesn’t just want to give me pain medicine.

  14. This article came out at just the right time! I’ve never had such a severe case of brain fog and I’ve battled autoimmune problems for 25 years. My mom had Alzheimer’s and the fear was overwhelming last night as I realized that I had filled my weekly pill box all wrong that morning! I had physical therapy today and the therapist really relaxed me and told me to drink plenty of water. His assistant said another patient of hers drinks a milkshake when her fatigue is overwhelming. I went home and made up a strawberry banana smoothie and it did help! Living alone now, any incapability is unnerving so I will follow the advice from this article. Thank you!

  15. Speaking of brainfog. I got up today with the intention of leaving the house at 7 to go grocery shopping. I had to get up and move anyway since both arms were numb and tingly. (any tips for that? HATE that!) I got my list together and was almost ready when I looked at the clock and it said 5:50 A.M. (huh?) I thought FOR SURE it was going on 7!! Where was I?! I felt so….lost! But decided not to stress. Got myself another cup of coffee (I know I know…bad bad bad)…and got on my computer with you guys. 🙂 I am new to Fibro since December 2016. I don’t have all the kinks worked out yet. (Doesn’t seem like there is such a thing!)
    I found this drink that helps my brain fog and energy level alot. I was searching things out before even going to the doctor, as I’ve had the fog and exhaustion for a LONG time. I’ve always turned to vitamins and naturals first to help me (until the pain hit like a freight train)…
    LIVfit SUPERFOOD BLEND with protein. Organic. This one is fruit and veg based. It also comes in a plant based. Contains Vita A, 35%, calcium 6%,RIboflavin 100%, Vita B6 100%, Vita B12%, Zinc 8%, Magnesium 6%. I Buy it at Wal-Mart next to the flour.
    Mix 2 Tabs in juice or water and drink daily. It’s been a lifesaver for me.
    Thanks for all the good tips. Honestly, this site brings tears to my eyes. I am not alone!! AND I’m not losing my mind!!!

    • I’m so glad you’re here Rosa! I don’t know that you can ever truly work out all the kinks with fibro. But don’t let that discourage you! You’ll learn what works for you and eventually, you’ll find you have more good days than bad days!