For those who haven’t been paying attention to current events for the past couple of years, we’ll fill you in really quick. The coronavirus identified in 2019, SARS-CoV-2, has been responsible for a pandemic of respiratory illness that crippled world economies and changed our lives forever. It is commonly called COVID-19 or just COVID these days, and just about anyone you ask will have some strong opinions about it.
The challenges to people’s lives have caused a lot of upheaval and turmoil as lockdowns and various health mandates have come and gone. Of the many issues caused by COVID, a significant one folks are taking note of now is brain fog. We think it’s because people couldn’t do their usual routines and were removed from everyday social interactions and life, with many new added stresses and pressures. Some have turned to health supplements to try and help them get out of this funk, but others are still unsure how to move forward.
This article explores 10 facts about COVID and brain fog, along with what you can do to treat these issues.
What Is Brain Fog?
Brain fog is a condition where people have trouble thinking clearly, feel confused and hazy and have difficulty with mental focus. It’s usually temporary, but if it persists for more than a few weeks, it can be a sign of something bigger that needs to be addressed.
How Does COVID-19 Cause Brain Fog?
Brain fog can be caused by many different things, but the leading causes are stress and toxic overload. COVID-19 is both an emotional and physical stressor that leads to brain fog symptoms. It may also be a precursor to full-on physical and emotional burnout. This happens as folks attempt to juggle newly defined, simultaneous roles like working from home while taking care of kids and their schooling.
How to Diagnose and Treat Brain Fog
1) Diet Changes – Sometimes, food impacts our levels of brain fog. Unfortunately, during the pandemic, many of us have let our nutritional needs slip. Diet is a great place to start because changing what you eat can significantly improve your mental clarity, thanks to the gut-brain axis that connects what we eat to our mental health and cognitive abilities. Quick changes you can make include removing or limiting foods high in sugar, gluten and other additives while increasing the number of wholesome vegetables you eat.
2) Removing Food Allergens – These foods contribute to inflammation which can cause brain fog symptoms. Removing them will help decrease these symptoms. Some common ones are gluten, dairy, eggs and sugar (yes, you read that right!). Sugar intake among Americans is high on average, but has skyrocketed during the pandemic as many of us turn to comfort foods to ease stress. After removing these from your diet, you should start to notice a difference in a couple of weeks.
3) Removing Metals and Toxins – Heavy metals like mercury, lead or toxins like pesticides can reduce cognitive function. So, it’s essential to remove any metal fillings in your mouth and detox using natural remedies. During the pandemic, many people have been at home doing things like home renos, large amounts of gardening and other hobbies or home improvement activities. As a result, they may have unknowingly been exposing themselves to harmful substances. Check labels carefully and always ensure you’re wearing the proper protective gear when working with anything you’re unsure about.
4) Treating Brain Health – Improving brain function will help decrease brain fog and increase overall cognitive function. You can do this by using supplements like fish oil, magnesium or B vitamins. There are also specific brain boosting supplements on the market designed to take the guesswork out of things. These are easily added to your daily routine by taking them once or twice a day. You can also buy them online, so no need to worry about venturing out to crowded stores if you’re not ready for that yet.
5) Using Natural Remedies – There is a lot of research out there that essential oils, CBD oil and other natural remedies can help improve brain function in humans by providing critical nutrients or introducing a calm sense of relaxation into people’s lives. Start by adding peppermint oil to your water, diffusing essential oils in the air and taking CBD oil drops regularly. Brain fog supplements are another great, natural option as well. Always follow directions on packaging with these products and be sure you’re buying them from a reputable source like all supplements.
6) Addressing Mental Health – Stress is one of the most significant contributors to brain fog, so it’s important to address mental health issues if you have them. And during the pandemic, stress has been at an all-time high as we try to adapt to a world around us that seems to be constantly changing its rules. If your stress isn’t addressed, it can often worsen overall cognitive function, which causes further issues with thinking clearly and remembering things. Mental health issues are also common with COVID-19 survivors because of the traumatic events they have gone through.
7) Exercising and Getting Enough Physical Activity – Many of us have ended up living overly sedentary lives due to working from home, online learning and closed gyms. But this doesn’t mean you need to fuse to your couch or become one with your bed. Instead, you can do things like hikes at a local nature park, taking quick walks several times a day in your neighborhood or simply going up and down the stairs in your home. Use apps to help remind you to move as much as possible and reach specific goals if you’re having trouble doing it independently.
9) Brain Exercises – Think puzzles, cards, memory games and word searches here as they help increase brain function. Just take one thing at a time and start with easy puzzles at first. If you want to go beyond this, there are many other games and apps out there that you can download for free or purchase if you find them helpful. These types of activities not only help improve brain function, but also help decrease stress. In addition, some will connect to online communities, which can also help with social isolation, which is very common during the pandemic.
10) Socializing – This is one of the most common brain fog causes, and during these lonely times of COVID-19, people have ended up spending more time at home than they were used to. This has led to tons of mental health issues due to isolation and a lack of socialization. Make sure you go out at least once a week if possible for walks in your neighborhood. Stop and chat with folks, even if you’re maintaining the proper social distancing etiquette. The connection is worth it! You can also participate in regular online activities like group movie viewings, hosting game nights online or attending a friend’s virtual birthday party. Doing this will help reduce brain fog and improve cognitive function in general.
BONUS: Seeking Professional Help – If you haven’t been successful in treating your symptoms on your own, a functional health practitioner can help you get to the root cause of this. They will determine what is causing these symptoms and help you treat them more easily. Never be afraid to ask for help. We all need it sometimes, and mental health is tough to deal with on your own.
Brain Fog Begone!
If you’re experiencing brain fog symptoms, don’t try to power through them. The more you push yourself, the worse it will be down the road. Instead, take care of your mental health now so that you can continue to enjoy life with a clear mind later.