Managing Brain Fog
The following tips may help boost your mental (and physical) function if you are dealing with ongoing brain fog:
- Seek help with Fatigue Management (Occupational Therapy/Physiotherapy)
- Pace yourself – ensure a good balance of activity and rest.
- Alternate between cognitive and physical tasks during the day.
- Don’t rush! Take your time and complete activities at a slow pace.
- Do not over-exert yourself mentally or physically – stay within your limits.
- Work for shorter periods and take regular rest breaks.
- Pick a time of day when you are less tired to complete more complex thinking activities.
- Set small targets and goals for yourself.
Visit the dedicated section on fatigue here…
Relaxing the Mind
Ensure plenty of rest and regular breaks, including mental, sensory, social, emotional, spiritual, creative, sensory and environmental rest, as well as physical.
- Go easy on yourself.
- Take things slow and don’t overdo it. Avoid multi-tasking.
- Ask for help and/or seek support if you are struggling.
- Complete more calming activities such as listening to music, meditation, gentle walking, yoga, pilates, tai chi, deep breathing, mindfulness or reading a book.
- Maintain social connections where possible, keeping interaction to a minimum if you are feeling fatigued or overwhelmed.
- Seek help with stress/anxiety to help to restore stress hormones to healthy levels.
- Reduce sensory stimuli – dim lights, diminish sounds, minimise distractions.
Cognitive rehabilitation typically involves training to help to navigate daily life. The focus of cognitive rehabilitation is on compensating for deficits alongside training in metacognitive skills such as observing thought processes; identifying situations where cognitive errors may occur and reflecting on how to approach a new task.
Exercising the Brain/Remedial Strategies:
Cognitive Function can be recovered through steady gradual practice. Completing brain exercises can challenge your mind, sharpen your cognitive skills improve your mental agility.
Adding a variety of enjoyable cognitive exercises and intellectual challenges into your daily schedule will stimulate the growth of neurons as well as strengthening interconnections and neural pathways within the brain.
- Aim to recover cognitive function through steady, gradual practice – start by reading simple newspaper headlines or short articles, or by reading for 5-10 minutes per day and progressing as able.
- Complete regular mentally stimulating games to stimulate the growth of neurons and interconnections in the brain. Cognitively stimulating and thought-challenging exercises include crosswords, chess, Sudoku, crossword puzzles and jigsaw puzzles, as well as board games, group games using strategy and problems solving skills.
- Learn (or teach) something new (language/hobby).
- Build your vocabulary by learning 1 new word every day.
- Engage the 5 senses (taste, touch, smell, sight, hearing).
- Pay attention – try to focus on 4 details when completing an activity.
- Listen to a podcast, short story or article and then summarise it in your own words afterwards.
- Use brain training apps and games: Researchers are currently exploring cognitive training through brain training apps played at home. A pilot study in 48 people recovering from Covid 19 suggests that puzzle-like cognitive games can improve attention and multi-tasking and are highly motivating. Brain training has its limits, but Produced by Kay Richardson, Occupational Therapist Salford Post-Covid Rehabilitation Service emerging evidence supports its value in building attention and processing skills which are at the heart of many post-Covid 19 impairments.
Some recommended Brain Training Apps include:
- Lumosity – a popular app for brain training, with more than 100 million users. It offers a variety of games that are based on scientific research to help improve cognitive function. There are free versions available for Apple and Android, as well as options for paid subscriptions that allow for additional games and features. Lumosity is designed by neuroscientists to boost memory and attention spans, problem solving, speed and flexible thinking. Developers say that only one session per day can improve your mental skills.
- Peak – If you want a problem-solving app with activities that don’t require much time, the Peak app has more than 30 mini games. In addition to problem-solving, they also have short games that improve memory, language skills, concentration, and mental agility. It is available for both Apple and Android devices
- Braingle – offers a wide variety of options to test and train your cognitive abilities, with more than “15,000 brain teasers, riddles, logic, mind puzzles,” according to the product’s site. It’s a bit more simple and lighthearted than other problem-solving sites, and users can submit games and puzzles. It also has a community forum function if you’re interested in chatting with other users.
- Elevate – The Elevate app lets you pick a more systematic way of training your brain to be better at problem-solving. You can select from 3-5 games each day, and track your performance over time to meet your goals. Elevate has more than 40 short games to help with your brain’s processing speed, focus, memory, and more.
- Cognifit – If you are interested in a more advanced problem-solving app, Cognifit is tailored to both individuals and professionals, including doctors, educators, and researchers. In addition to cognitive science-based mini games that train your brain to be better at problem-solving, it also offers neuropsychological assessments, real-time monitoring, and personalized training programs depending on your specific demographics or goals.
- Fit Brains Trainer – This app claims to help you to think faster, with more than 360 games and puzzles that get harder as you improve. The app tracks your performance and will make recommendations based on your progress.
- Eidetic – Want to be able to memorize phone numbers or birthdays? Eidetic uses facts you have entered yourself – such as your parents’ phone numbers – and periodically tests you to help you memorize them. You can also use it to learn languages.