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Savvy solutions for smart woman

Misplaced your mobile or arrived in a room with no clue why you’re there? Experts call it ‘brain fog’ and we’re all falling victim. Here’s how to clear it

Give your brain a workout

Are you forever losing things or forgetting names? It’s caused by a lack of attention, says Linda Blair, psychologist and author of Say Calm Stay Healthy: Defend Yourself Against Stress and Improve Your Health (Readers Digest, $19.5). ‘If you can’t find your keys, you weren’t concentrating when you put them down. If you can’t remember someone’s name, you weren’t making a conscious effort to retain it when you met’.

Stay Calm Stay Healthy: Defend Yourself Against Stress and Improve Your Health

How to do it: interact and focus

‘Having a designated place for your keys and phone will make you mindful of what you do with them’, says Linda. ‘To retain facts, work on embedding the information at the time’, she says. ‘If you’re introduced to someone called Florence, repeat it our loud and use it in conversation: “Please d to meet you, Florence. That’s a nice name, I bet you get loads of and the Machine jokes”’. You might sound over keen, but it’s less embarrassing than calling her Fiona a few hours later.

Put your brain on a diet

‘Being constantly distracted is the leading cause of brain fog and it’s on the increase’, says Linda. ‘You open your mouth to make a point in a meeting, then realize you’ve no idea what you were going to say. You stop work every few minutes to read emails and half face to face conversations to check texts. We’re all slaves to social networks, always contactable, always checking and our brains can’t keep up’.

How to do it: have a daily digital detox

Set aside ten minutes a day to turn everything off your computer, phone, Kindle. Go back to basic and make a paper list of what you need to remember or simply give your brain a breather. Also, always put everything on silent at night. ‘Let people know you’re doing it’, says Linda. Otherwise you’ll be wondering if people are trying to contact you, which is distracting in itself. ‘Set an email response or voicemail saying you pick up messages twice a day. It will stop you feeling so in demand’.

make a paper list of what you need to remember or simply give your brain a breather.

make a paper list of what you need to remember or simply give your brain a breather.

Wake up your brain

Your brain needs oxygen to function. ‘When you’re tired, your breathing becomes shallow, which inhibits blood and oxygen flow to the brain’, says Linda, which, in turn, makes you forgetful. ‘When you’re stressed and tense, you hold your breath which gives the same result brain fog’.

‘When you’re tired, your breathing becomes shallow, which inhibits blood and oxygen flow to the brain’

‘When you’re tired, your breathing becomes shallow, which inhibits blood and oxygen flow to the brain’

How to do it: get moving

‘Exercise is the single best solution for an oxygen starved brain’, says Linda. ‘If you’re regularly leaving home without your lunch or forgetting to buy that birthday card, step up your physical activity each week, even if it’s just a brisk walk between bus stops’. If you really can’t leave your desk, do some simple stretches on your chair. ‘You’ll soon shake off the cobwebs, get that blood flowing and your neurons firing again’.

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