Suffering From Brain Fog:
Well it's been a hot minute since my last life update, but today I'm back and feeling really well which is such a change from just a few short months ago where I felt like I was living under a cloud - my brain felt full of fog which I couldn't see through and everyday tasks felt insurmountable. I'd forget things people told me almost instantly, I couldn't concentrate on anything, simple tasks - which everyone seemed able to do easily - felt like mountains I couldn't get over. Whilst in the thick of it, I genuinely didn't see any way out of it and felt really worried because I couldn't think of anything which had sparked it off.
I worried about feeling alone in this as I couldn't really explain what exactly was happening to me, only the symptoms I was experiencing at the time. Having researched it a bit, I have discovered the following:
"It's a type of cognitive dysfunction involving memory problems, lack of mental clarity, poor concentration and an ability to focus. There are a few causes of it including stress, lack of sleep, hormonal changes, diet, medications and medical conditions. Other conditions which may cause brain fog include anemia, depression, diabetes, migraines, hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease and dehydration.
To treat brain fog you have to understand the cause of it - for example if you're anemic iron supplements may increase your red blood cells and help to clear brain fog. If it's an autoimmune disease, you may be prescribed corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation or suppress the immune system.
Some times it can be a matter of correcting nutritional deficiency, switching medications or improving your sleep. Home remedies can include managing 8-9 hours of sleep a night, managing your stress by knowing your limits and controlling intakes of caffeine and alcohol, exercising, strengthening your brain, finding enjoyable activities and increasing your protein intakes, fruit, vegetables and healthy fats."
Symptoms and Treatment
Upon reading about it, there's little wonder I couldn't concentrate on anything for more then a few seconds and felt like I was swimming in a sea of treacle. I can't say for sure what triggered it, perhaps I'll never know but knowing the signs and symptoms to look out for can be an indicator for not letting it completely take over my life again.
Just the same, I don't really know what made it clear, but like the sunshine coming out from behind the clouds, a number of things all combined to ensure that it was blown away for good; I came out from underneath it wondering what the hell had happened. I can say that it wasn't just one thing, rather a combination of factors which culminated in me feeling like me again.
I went away to Newcastle for 3 nights to see a friend and get away from work stress.
My swimming watch came back fixed.
I finally went swimming again after far too long
I started to sleep better at night.
I believe that all of these factors ensured my mind was free to rest, relax and most importantly, reset itself. Sometimes we can be so caught up in thinking we have to be online all of the time and the perpetual cycle of being busy, busy busy that our minds can simply shut off because they're being too overloaded by things which frankly aren't important. Our bodies are amazing really because they keep going when pushed to extremes but also have ways of telling us to slow down and take a break before they stop working for us completely.
It's so important that we listen to what our bodies are trying to tell us because believe you me when I tell you that living with brain fog was one of the most miserable times of my life. Feeling like I couldn't function on a day to day basis made me feel like I was missing out on life and all the fun events which naturally come along with being a blogger.
When you're in the middle of a brain fog crisis you act differently to how you usually do, your food choices, sleeping patterns, spending habits and exercise routines all go out of the window (or at least they did for me) and you find you're living your life in a completely different way to how you would if you were feeling more like your usual self.
Of course when you realise that it's the brain fog which is causing you to act this way you almost want to go back and tell yourself not to spend all your wages in one go, eat all the junk food and just completely lack motivation to anything else apart from sitting on the sofa watching yet another episode of your favourite TV or Netflix series.
But of course you can't go back, only forward and use this experience and all the knowledge gained from it to ensure that you don't fall down that brain fog hole again. So with that in mind I am actively taking steps to do this:
Taking up swimming twice a week for my physical and mental health
Signing up to the Aspire Channel Swim 2019
Trying to eat healthier
Starting to take Iron tablets to combat tiredness
Spending time with friends
Taking note of how I feel on a day to day basis
I can't tell you how amazing it feels to finally be out from underneath this cloud, I honestly feel like a different person who is ready to take on (her) world. Seeing everything in technicolour instead of greys and blacks honestly feels so freeing and I am really hoping I don't ever suffer from brain fog again.
So, what else has been happening apart from Brain Fog you may ask? Well a few things actually but I couldn't really get excited about them because of the brain fog I was previously experiencing. Thankfully now I'm feeling much better, ready to get excited about what's to come and plan new things in as well!
So I have a few trips coming up this year which makes me immensely happy and also gives me something to get excited about - which definitely helps with the brain fog!
Liverpool for 3 nights again. Absolutely loved it last year so didn't hesitate to book in again this year!
Scotland, my Granny is taking me away: - Coach trip with Lochs and Glens
End of October/beginning of November: - Grandma's birthday weekend away!
Beginning of November: Continuation of Grandma's birthday weekend away!
Rome: Family holiday just after my Birthday!
I also want to book my birthday off but I'm aware I have a lot of time off already so...!
So it looks like I have a few holidays coming up which always makes me happy because I love nothing better than heading off on the train, knowing that at the end there's a new place to discover and opportunities awaiting me!
So you may have noticed some new photos around here, well that's because last week I had a photoshoot with my very beautiful friend Janet in the gorgeous little Yorkshire village of Spofforth. I had only ever driven through it previously so to get the chance to actually walk around and take photos was really wonderful.
Whilst living under the cloud of brain fog, I was forever doubting myself and thinking I was 'too fat' to even consider getting in front of the camera even though I needed the photos for posts like this and my Instagram.
But during this photoshoot I kinda found my mojo again and it gave me the push I needed to book in with my favourite photographer again, as well as enquiring about booking in with another. I felt it was important to ride this wave of positivity and go with it whilst I was still feeling good about myself. It doesn't happen often so I want to go with while it lasts and get in some new content!
During July I have been trying to follow the self-care challenge run by Fifi from Yourself Your Life, A simple calendar of tasks with one to be completed everyday, all designed to put a little self care into everyday for it to then become a habit by the end. I haven't been doing this religiously and I'm sure I have missed quite a few of the tasks, but it's been fun to be a part of something and to undertake a few new self-care habits which I may not have thought about doing prior to this new challenge.
Planning My Days Off
I have started to actually plan to do things and go places on my days off instead of just hanging around at home not doing anything! After my recent trip to York, where I visited the York Museum for the Dinosaur exhibition and a tour around the Museum Gardens; I have booked myself a ticket to go and see the Van Gogh Immersive Exhibition.
I am really excited to go and experience something I may not have otherwise gone to if I hadn't made the decision to actively make use of my time away from work. I feel this will have far reaching benefits, none less so than keeping brain fog at bay and allowing me time to rest, recharge and experience something new.
Catching Up With Friends
This goes hand in hand with planning my days off and keeping brain fog at bay. I feel like I've missed out on so much because I simply couldn't send a message to my friends to see if they wanted to meet up. Now that I'm beginning to come out the other side I want to meet them as much as I can, although this is difficult because of life, work, family, holidays etc, but I'm determined to see them whenever possible to strengthen our friendships and just prevent me from feeling lonely again.
Well, I think that's it for now, you're pretty much caught up now with what's been going on with me! I'd love to hear what you've been up to in the comments and whether or not you have ever suffered from brain fog or anything similar. It's good to talk about these things and come up with strategies to get through it. Which I do believe is possible. If you're suffering at the moment then I feel you and I'm here for you if you want to talk about it.
Love Sarah xoxoxo