WKU Wellness: Driving through a brain fog

Vidhi Parekh, Commentary writer

Sitting with your laptop propped open, you attempt to do your homework. The problem is so simple, yet your brain is glitching on you. You just cannot think properly. You decide to take a break. A couple hours later, your brain is still cloudy and it somehow continues to be this way. Sound familiar? These symptoms entail what is called brain fog. 

Brain fog is not a medical condition, nor does it have any medication to treat it. It can happen to anyone. Here are some common signs of brain fog and how to tackle it.

Chronic stress

As college students, this one can be quite relatable as we treat ourselves like cars running until our tanks are empty. However, it is important to learn how to handle common stressors and fuel up with a healthy mindset. 

Maybe the concert you want to go to is causing stress with picking out your clothes for the next day, how long the drive is or if you will be able to find parking once you’re there. It really comes down to your perspective. 

Too much stress can affect your sleeping patterns, and this really does a number to your hormone balance and overall well being. Shift your mindset and possibly pick a mechanism to overcome stress. 

This can include working out, reading or even sitting in silence. At the end of the day, doing what makes you happy will keep your engine running for longer. 

COVID-19

Brain fog is also associated with post-covid syndrome. It describes the cognitive symptoms that the “long-haulers” of COVID-19 suffer from. In this case, you should consult with your healthcare provider. 

Some strategies you can try to optimize your brain’s speed include performing aerobic exercises like running or playing tennis and getting proper sleep.

Sugar

How many times have you heard that sugar is poison? From the yogurt to the orange juice, it can be hidden in almost every drink or snack we buy at the store. 

Avoiding excessive sugar is crucial to maintaining optimal cognitive function. It can cause problems in memory and overall brain health.

Excessive sugar also raises blood sugar levels which results in a state of fatigue. Sometimes the cause of our lethargy can be hidden in our diet. 

Look at the grams of added sugar on the nutrition label to see how much sugar you intake. Experts recommend no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar for women and a maximum of 9 teaspoons for men.

Living with brain fog can feel like driving through a foggy road. Everything slows down, but you can pick up speed by turning on your headlights and getting to the roots of your symptoms. This can entail beginning a new habit of exercising, getting more sleep or even releasing stress.

Vidhi Parekh: Commentary writer Vidhi Parekh can be reached at [email protected]