Brain Fog- Some days, it feels like you can’t even think straight, but it doesn’t have to be like that. There are things you can do to combat brain fog with lupus. Use these tips and clear up that mental haze.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I’m an individual that suffers from lupus. All content found on lupusisgoingdown.com, including text, images, audio, or other formats, were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical or mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
What is Lupus Fog?
Lupus fog is a reality for so many lupus sufferers. You know, it’s that inability to focus. Or, that forgetting where you placed something.
My daughter calls it my being “fuzzy-headed”.
Honestly, that’s pretty accurate. This is because brain fog with lupus is cognitive impairment that can be in the form of: memory loss, concentration issues, forgetfulness, and difficulty forming thoughts.
Basically, you’re having processing your thoughts. And, not only is it frustrating, it can create problems.
For example, I once forgot to pay my car note. Actually, I forgot to pay it two months in a row. You see, I had it set to auto pay, but I had changed banks and forgot to change the account number with my car loan company. And, that was disastrous.
But, the effects of brain fog don’t have to be that big of an oops. You can forget someone’s name when they’re standing right in front of you. Let me tell you, that’s embarrassing!
I’m sure you know what it’s like and have your own horror stories. So, why does lupus make our brains get this way?
What Causes It?
First of all, it can be caused by physical conditions, such as chemicals in the body or blood flow issues (just a few of the theories thrown out there by researchers). Or, it could be a combination of factors, such as stress, fatigue, depression, or a lack of sleep.
Unfortunately, no one really knows what causes.
However, you and I know it’s real. We feel the effects of it. Moreover, so do those around us.
How often have you forgotten a word that was right on the tip of your tongue in the middle of a conversation?
Have you ever forgotten a promise you made to your child?
I sure have, and I had to cope with the disappointment afterwards.
And, just like lupus, there’s no cure. It’s the icing on top of the cake.
Yet, you don’t have to suffer through lupus fog. Even though there’s no cure, there are ways to bring some clarity to your thoughts.
Tips For Minimizing the Effects Of Brain Fog
While there is no prescribed diet for lupus, eating healthy is always a good way to promote better health. For example, you should watch your sugar intake. Also, be sure to eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grain. Finally, include Omega 3 into your diet (think salmon and tuna).
Remember- Lupus effects everyone differently. Talk to your doctor about your diet and know your body.
I know, you hurt. And, your brain can’t even process the thought of exercising. But, it’s good for heart and lung health. It gets your blood pumping. Not only that, but it helps relieve stress, too. Moreover, it’s good for the joints, the bones, and the muscles. Over all, it just makes you feel better.
Here’s a tip- Keep it low key. For more on exercising with lupus, read my post– 8 Things To Consider With Lupus and Exercise.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Impossible sounding, right? I mean, part of brain fog is that you stay awake at night with your thoughts all jumbled. At least, that’s been my experience. I lie awake at night fretting over the things I didn’t get done.
The next thing you know, the alarm is going off.
And, that makes the brain fog worse. I mean, you already suffer from fatigue. Add, lack of sleep, and no wonder you can’t think straight.
Yet, you have to find a way to break the cycle. Find what helps you relax before bedtime. Also, establish a bedtime routine by doing the same things to get ready for bed and going to bed at the same time.
Talk to Your Doctor
This can never be said enough. Honestly, you need to establish a connection with him or her. Be honest about your symptoms and how you feel. He or she can help you with coping with brain fog.
To help you remember to ask him or about it, make notes of it in your health journal. Yes, you really should keep one.
What should you include in it?
Take notes of your diet, exercise, sleep patterns, but most especially note when you’ve experienced lupus fog. Be sure to write what happened. Be as specific as possible like time and place, and what was going on inside your head.
These are all medical concerns, and your doctor is a professional. You need his or her advice.
Strategies for Adapting to Brain Fog with Lupus
If those tips were not enough, there’s some other practical things you can do to help you live a productive life in spite of brain fog.
Learn to live with making lists: to-do lists, a list of bills you need to pay, and important dates. De-clutter your house (cuts down on distractions). Put things back things like your car keys back in the same place. Use your technology to help you.
To illustrate, I use Apple products. First of all, I sync my Google calendar to my Apple calendar. Then, I sync my iPad to my iPhone. By doing this, I can access my calendar with all of my devices, whether it’s my laptop, my tablet, or my phone. Finally, I set a reminder to go off on my phone so that I won’t miss something.
Along with this, I use the Notes app in my phone to take notes throughout the day. Now, I don’t have to carry a notebook around with me.
Likewise, instead of having someone tell me something, I have them text it to me. I will forget if I just hear it.
Give Your Brain a Workout
Just like you exercise your body, you need to exercise your brain. You can do this with activities that stimulate your brain like puzzles, word games, reading, or taking up a hobby. If you pick a hobby, choose one that makes you learn something new.
For myself, I like to read something that is easy and doesn’t take much effort (fantasy/ sci-fi). On top of that, I play games on my devices. To get my daughters involved, we play board games.
The point is to keep your brain active, even if it’s hard to do so.
Cut Out the Stress
There’s so many things you can do to alleviate stress. Here’s a few of my favorites:
- Take on one task at a time.
- Prioritize your to-do list and do the most stressful first.
- Express your feelings healthily. Don’t keep things bottled inside.
- Practice mindfulness, meditation, or yoga.
- Take a mental break for a few minutes. I use YouTube videos that make me laugh.
- Learn to say no.
Create a Plan to Process New Information
Trust me- If you just hear it, you’ll forget it. So, you will probably want to write things down. Again, I use my smartphone because I never go anywhere without it (even to bed. It’s right beside me on the nightstand).
Furthermore, there are a couple of things you can do to help you remember things. For instance, you can use mnemonic devices. Or, you can say it out loud when you hear it (like learning a new name).
Too, if you journal your day, you can include any new information. Then, at the end of the day as part of your bedtime routine, you can review your journal.
Of course, the key is repetition. The more times you see a piece of information, the deeper it gets embedded into your memory.
Now, I know this is hard to do in the face of what you’re going through. But, being negative only makes it worse.
On that note, create a positive environment in your home. Liven the place up. Bring in some plants. Let nature does its work.
Along with a positive environment, establish and nurture positive relationships. Spend time with the people you care about.
Remember- You’re more than lupus. Focus on the good things in your life. Count your blessings. You’ll be surprised you had more than you realized.
Communicate With Those Around You
You’re the only person that knows what’s going on inside you. Those around you may not know what brain fog feels like or its effects. Educate them.
In fact, tell them exactly what it feels like. Let them know what you’re going through. It will increase understanding, and they can provide you with support.
Likewise, you can warn them when it’s a “fuzzy-headed day”. Most likely, they’ll be able to tell anyways. It’s just nice to get a heads-up.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
It’s not you. It’s lupus. You didn’t purposefully forget something.
Learn to forgive yourself. You didn’t do this to yourself. It’s not in your control. no control over this.
You didn’t ask for your head to feel like it’s in a blender. Definitely, you didn’t ask for lupus.
Accept that, Some days, you’re going to have cognitive impairment. Work to overcome it. And, take pride in the fact that you did.
Brain Fog is Only Part of Your Reality
There’s more to you than brain fog with lupus. You are a person with a life to live and a purpose. Pursue that and don’t let brain fog stop you.
Yes, it may slow you down some days, but it doesn’t have to stop you. It doesn’t have to limit you.
You can beat this. It’s just a matter of modifying your habits including diet, exercise, organizing, dealing with stress, and accepting yourself for who you are.
Ultimately, brain fog is only part of your reality, not all of it.
After all, you’re more than lupus.
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Best of luck to you on your journey,