Have you ever had trouble remembering things? Whether it be names, appointments or where you put something? I have this issue ALL. THE. TIME. No joke. Almost every time I walk into a room, my mind goes blank. Luckily for you, learning how to live with this crappy fibromyalgia symptom has taught me some very useful tips for coping with a foggy brain.
First and foremost, for anything that is an absolute must, no questions asked, have to do it, I set an alarm in my phone.
I use this when it comes to taking my medication. It just makes sense to use something I’m frequently looking at to keep me on schedule. When I set the alarm on my phone, I label it “Take your medicine!” so there’s no question what it’s for. I happen to take my medicine around my kids’ nap time so my daughter has come to call it the “quiet time phone call”. Two (completely different) birds, one stone though right? Whatever works. If something is less urgent, or doesn’t need to be done at a specific time, then I will set a reminder in my phone instead so that it just pops up when I open my phone instead of interrupting my day by ringing.
So this one might sound a little bit different than the previous suggestions, but is also something that I have found helpful. Memory exercises are things as simple as recreating lists of words, or listening to a voicemail and trying to remember all the details. But they can be more complicated as well, like reading text and drawing concept maps of the concepts in the text. Regular exercises changes the brain to improve memory and thinking skills and are highly beneficial.
Maintain a calendar.
I have a personal planner and a business planner. Both are easily accessible and visually appealing so using them is more fun than anything else. My friend Barbara over at Pink Pexel Graphics designs most of the adorable (and free!) planner stickers that I use in my planners these days, but I’m always on the hunt for more! I have tried again and again to really stick to using a day planner, but never could until I started using pretty stickers and wash tape. I discovered that the more visually appealing something is, the more I come back to it. Having my daily schedule, to do lists, appointments, etc all in one place help me stay on track. I keep my desktop clear of all distractions so that when I am working, I stay on track. The more clutter I am surrounded by, the foggier I feel. Give everything a home and put it away when you are done using it. For real. I have saved myself so so so much time not having to retrace my steps to find whatever I’m looking for.
In the words of Boss Baby “A memo is something you write to give people information. Memos are for important things, A memo can bring people together. A memo can be a call to arms… a manifesto, a poem. A memo can change the world…” Dun dun dun… Okay, okay so maybe that was a little dramatic, but seriously, notes to self (or
book reports memos) are super helpful when it comes to remembering things. To-Do lists, shopping lists, don’t forget to’s etc. They all work as a way to help your brain refocus and remember things a little better. Some say that you’re more likely to remember something just because you wrote it down, not because you had your note to remind you. For shopping lists, I like to use the notes app on my phone. For to do lists, I’m old school and prefer pen and paper. What about you?
Tackle That To-Do List!
I keep a daily to-do list to ensure that everything gets done on time. I usually write my to-do list the night before. If I have an appointment or future event I have to prepare for, I make the to-do list as soon as I hear about it and insert it into the appropriate day in my calendar. It’s so nice to open up my planner and see that some of my planning has already been done. 🙂 When writing my to-do lists, I prioritize my tasks based on my overall goals and put the most important ones at the top of my list. If I have a huge project that I need to get done then I break it down into smaller tasks over several days. As long as I am realistic in how much time I give myself to complete each task, I am able to stay on top of things without much trouble (usually). 😉 I have noticed a significant boost in my confidence since I began planning out (making sure to follow that plan) and been completing my tasks.
I remember my high school basketball coach yelling this word all the time! [K]eep [I]t [S]imple [S]tupid. She was always short, sweet and to the point. 😉 I wouldn’t say that I live a minimalist lifestyle, but I have noticed that the simpler I keep my days, the less foggy I am. I like keeping life as simple and stress free as possible. If I start to feel off, I focus on mindfulness exercises and what is important in the moment and take it one day at a time.
I hope these tips help you cope with your foggy head. If you have any secrets of your own that you’d like to share, leave them in the comments below.