If you suffer from brain fog, I get it. It’s not fun.
If your child does, well, yikes. Our kids should not be suffering like this.
And bottom line, if we take a bit of time, we can make this right.
As someone who has studied health and wellness (for fun and for necessity), became a certified health coach (just because) and written books with some top naturopathic doctors (well, why not!), you could say I have a bit of an arsenal of knowledge on the subject matter…
Of blood types.
Of weight loss and
Of deficiencies - namely iron.
But I’m no expert by any means.
I am, however, passionate about kids, learning and the role of food, diet and movement in helping them achieve...and well, simply be happy.
See, I noticed a few things in my decade-plus-plus years teaching and tutoring.
Kids, on average, are not eating to fuel their bodies.
People are very low on needed minerals like iron, on average. And not just women!
As someone with a major iron deficiency, this right here is a red flag as to why you or your child might be dealing with brain fog.
But heck, you might not even know what I mean by brain fog, so let me back this train up.
If you feel lost or like you’re underwater. That’s brain fog.
If you can’t focus or concentrate for extended periods, or even short periods. That’s brain fog.
If you can’t formulate something simple, like providing directions from a local cross street to your home, something you know by heart, well, that friend, is brain fog.
There are more ways to define brain fog but that should give you an idea.
A kid dealing with brain fog is simply unnecessary, sad and being set up for a lifetime of challenges.
Life can be challenging enough.
So if you too feel we should do our very best to help ourselves, and our kids, be the best versions possible...I wrote up 7 tips that might just help.
Because learning should be easy.
Our brains should work quickly and accurately.
We can be happier, healthier and more able to be our best version…when we make a few changes.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, so I must write up a disclaimer here that this is not medical advice but fabulous entertainment, yo! Even though this material is verifiable and medically studied and simply smart when you finally know it. Take it with a grain of salt and do what works for you!
7 Simple Tips for Healthy Learning
& Saying Adios to Brain Fog!
Side note: If you don’t have kids, or you’re not a tutor, and you’re reading this for you, awesome! Simply substitute work for tutoring session.
#1 Less carbs in the morning. Less carbs period.
So I noticed students who came for tutoring who had consumed a high in carbs snack first and were ready for a nap 30-40 minutes in.
Factor in travel time, digestion time and well, that means if breakfast is carbs, your child is most likely ready for a nap by second or third period. The good news? This might be the reason they aren’t paying attention, doing well or actually hating the class!
And it’s fixable. Try this for a week or two. What have you got to lose?
And for the adult reading this, carbs affect you, too. Big time.
If you don’t want to feel sluggish before a morning meeting, put down the carbs in the morning!
Instead, fuel your body with protein, maybe some fruit but this depends on your blood type, and be sure to take into account #2.
And to be frank, unless you’re running or training or lifting, carbs should be kept at a minimum.
#2 Water. Water. Lemon Water.
Hydration is necessary at the start of the day. Period.
And it’s also vital throughout the day, but if you don’t start the body hydrated, well, everything goes downhill from there.
Sugary drinks should not be the norm. A treat, maybe, but honestly, never a Coke or Pepsi or Mountain Dew or Red Bull. Yep, I said never.
And yes, I’m saying it loud and proud and as a former addict of Coca-Cola-Classic.
And please, never give your child nor yourself a Diet Soda, thinking you’re being healthy. Those ‘diet’ and ‘low fat’ and ‘substitutes’ are the worst things you can give the human body.
Plus, a soda or even sports drink is so much sugar slamming into the body, bloodstream and we all know sugar affects not only the cells, but the brain and how we think. Not to mention the caffeine… so just no.
Instead, upon waking, have your child (and you, too…make it a family thang) consume at least 8 oz of water to start the day.
I’d say get to the point where you can double that. This is what I do. Religiously. So now it’s a habit. Flood my body, which has been fasting for 8 to 12 hours, depending on when I last ate, with water to hydrate and activate.
16 oz, a squeeze of lemon and bam! You are setting the body up for success already. And the brain fog will fade away.
Want to make it more fun?
Grab a 16 oz mason jar, love these things, and toss a small handful of berries in the bottom.
Add in some lemon to help neutralize acid in the body, and make your PH rock, smush the berries with a spoon must a bit, add water.
Personally, I like my water room temperature unless I’m drinking warm lemon water… that’s awesome for the stomach.
And give it a nice stir.
Drink it up and at the end you have a treat of berries.
Kids love this! It’s like a treasure hunt. But the water must be consumed to get the berries, so no double-dipping.
#3 Say adios-to-dairy test. Just for two weeks. You can do this!
If you or your child or a student you teach/tutor has issues with focus and is a milk drinker or ice cream eater, minimize dairy for two weeks and see if the power of the mind improves.
You might be amazed.
And by minimizing, I mean get rid of it entirely if you really want to see the effect dairy might just have on your mind/body or that of your child.
Dairy has been linked to many issues such as brain fog, inflammation and bowel issues like IBS.
And if you decide to eliminate dairy for a few weeks, make it a game for yourself or your family.
Dairy is in a ton of foods we normally eat, much like sugar. (OMG, sugar is in ketchup!)
So, eliminating it, if one isn’t careful, can feel like a punishment, but, friend, this is just a story we tell ourselves and allow ourselves to believe.
Because what if dairy is the cause of that brain fog you feel, that ache in your joints that bothers you when it rains or every, single waking moment?
Isn’t that truly the punishment?
So, know that kicking dairy might be the solution to feeling better, feeling more focused, clearer and more active than you’ve felt in a very long time.
And dairy while detrimental to some blood types, is really not great for most people.
Case in point, my blood type is a no on dairy and when I consume it, I have inflammation externally and internally, sinus infections, get sick easily as it lowers my immune system, gain weight fast, and have horrible digestion issues.
My father has a “stronger” blood type than I do and is able to consume just about anything, easily. Think iron stomach verses a tummy with less acid to help digest foods, thus the opposite or unable to easily digest anything! That’s me.
Well, back to dear ol’ dad… He gave up drinking milk by the glass before I was even born. And well, I’ve seen forty come and go, so that’s been a while. That’s pre-holistic medicine taking over and wellness being a topic of water-cooler conversation.
Milk especially doesn’t necessarily do a body good.
Do a test, make it fun, as in coconut-homemade-ice-cream fun (and easy), and see what happens in your mind and body.
#4. Movement is medicine. Mic drop.
Move the body each and every day.
60-second dance parties around the house rock when you think you don’t have time.
And not having time is another story we tell ourselves.
Start to look at the story of your life. In ten, twenty, thirty, fifty years, how do you want to be moving? Do you want to hobble around, be pushed to and fro by another or do you want to be flexible and solid on your own two feet?
The decision is yours, friend, and it starts right now.
Decide to give your body some natural medicine in the form of movement. It’s very likely it will lift that brain fog you feel, increase those happy hormones and help blood flow to all organs, plus every nook and cranny of your fabulous bod.
And your body is fabulous, remarkable and to be taken care of plus enjoyed.
Start today with enjoyment and the rest will follow.
Seriously, dance with your kid, your student, your client, your classroom.
Heck, I’d be dancing at the office in front of co-workers.
It gets the blood pumping, makes you smile and even better, can shift you out of a funk fast.
Movement is medicine and the best part - it doesn’t have to cost you a thang but can save you from a lifetime of waiting rooms, doctor’s visits and bills, bills, bills.
#5. Make Sleep Your Friend.
Sleep is so important and won’t come easily if there’s a lack of movement [#4], the body’s not been hydrated enough [#2] and if the diet is lacking.
Have a teenager that hates to sleep? A lack of physical activity is often one reason.
Or if they LOVE to sleep in until 1, 2, 3 PM when able, they are likely staying up to all hours of the night. And guess what? It’s throwing off the body’s natural cycle.
Is there something to be said for kids not waking up so early and needing more sleep? Absolutely. But seriously, it’s again all stories.
It’s what we decide to tell ourselves day in and day out that dictates our reality.
So if you say your kid shouldn’t be up at 6AM and they hear you, then that’s the belief that is instilled in them. And they won’t wake up easily to go to school. Same for you.
But friend, it’s all a story.
My Frenchman is the same way. He dislikes getting up early, but when work or his lifestyle dictated an early morning, he changed his patterns and his mental story and did it.
I’m the same way. When I was younger, I was a night-owl. Not because I partied. Nope, far from it but because I loved to write characters and their stories while the “rest of the world” slept. Or at least appeared to sleep from my perspective!
Now, I’m an early riser. I love to meditate and journal first thing in the morning. The sunrise is invigorating to me.
We need to understand the power of our words. And how the words we speak shape our lives. From our sleep to our health to how our bodies look (and feel) to our bank account. This topic should actually be Step #8, the power of the words we speak, but I dove into in this article which you can read if interested in more.
But first, to wrap up the topic of getting a good nights rest, you might already know these things but doing them is another step.
Practice implementation today.
Pick one or two things below to accomplish and see just how much your sleep (or your child’s) improves. And how that improves so many other things in life, including having a clearer, more focused, mind.
Get a timer and shut off the internet in the house at a certain time.
This is important as we (adults and children) cannot sleep well if they are exposed to blue lights and EMFs that come from devices right before bed.
In fact, have a turn-off time of one hour before bed. For you and for them.
Invest in a white noise app or play relaxing sounds during the night.
I love the Relax Meditations app.
Consider using lavender essential oil on the inside of your wrist at night.
Just a tab on one then rub your wrists together and inhale deeply. Talk about setting yourself up for a restful sleep.
Consider an evening ritual of gratitude.
Either verbally as a prelude to a bedtime story, share three things that happened during the day or three people whom you are grateful for, and encourage your child to as well.
Or, start a journaling habit that will have the power to change how you see the world, will help lift that brain fog and will make you a better, happier person.
Have your kids put their devices in a box outside their room.
In fact, you might want to consider doing the same.
Never. Ever. Ever. Sleep with your phone by your bed. Plug it in to charge in another room.
Or buy a timed lock box or create a night time device box as a family project.
The messages, the phone and the internet will still be there come morning but to improve your mood, day and staying present, do your morning routine first before checking email, your Facebook status, SnapChat stories or Insta-Feed.
Which ties into #6 and what to do instead.
#6 The Healing Power & Art of Silence.
Discover the power of silence.
Not meditation, but silence. They are very different.
Sometimes we can’t sleep as the mind is racing.
Ever been there? I sure have!
And kids are the same way.
I have tutored so many who have had such issues sleeping and when they talk, you just know the mind is going a million miles a minute.
My step-daughter was like this as well. She had a terrible time shutting off her mind.
Our internal chatter is intense, non-stop and typically counter-productive. And it’s so normal to us that we often aren’t even aware of the thoughts swarming our minds, typically like a broken record.
In fact, we often replay the same thoughts over and over again and again, day after day, year after year, decade after decade.
Can you even fathom how exhausting that is?
Maybe you do know because you are so very aware of your thoughts.
Or perhaps you don’t even realize you’re literally consumed by an internal dialogue nearly 24/7 with the only time it stops, are in moments of silence, or in sleep.
Learn to quiet the mind through silence. Mastering this skill is everything.
Start with sitting in a chair for 30 minutes and be silent. No talking. No eating. No doing of anything. See what happens.
Will it be uncomfortable?
Will you learn a lot?
You’ll hear that chatter in your head and all the thoughts, mostly on repeat, ping-ponging around. And guess what? Most are negative self-talk.
Start to hear them as you stay silent.
Start to realize they are simply stories we tell ourselves over and over about what happened, should have happened, could have happened or maybe didn’t happen.
And guess what?
None of it matters, yet our minds are so focused on these thoughts, making them of the utmost importance in our lives.
But even worse, if these thoughts keep you stuck, you’re not living your best life.
In silence, you can get out of this trap.
It might take time.
It might be instantaneous for you.
Need help quieting the mind?
Check out bilateral beats and play those (with headphones) a few times a day.
Work your way up to 30 minutes a day of sitting in absolute silence. Allowing the thoughts to come and then allowing them to fade away. Allowing awareness to come to you of what really takes place in your mind, your head, your life… by habit, by repetitive, habitual thought.
And one day, try a four-hour stretch of silence.
If you want to eliminate brain fog, negative self-talk and so much crap, this is the pathway I travel.
And man, is it awesome once you push through the discomfort.
I now find negative-self talk uncomfortable. How sweet is that?
And hey, if you’re questioning, what is silence anyway, really? And how will I even know when I’m doing it right?
Well, first isn’t not about doing anything right; it’s about a state of being.
And what it might feel like to you is a sense of drifting or feeling more alert and being wide-awake, energized, yet not physically active.
Silence is the moments in between thoughts.
They are precious. They are rare.
The goal is to embrace them and discover how to have more of them.
Because from this place, and this place alone is where so much is possible.
#7. Fresh air rocks. Nature heals.
Taking time outside is vital and so often forgotten. Personally, I prefer walking.
There is something refreshing, nourishing and mentally stimulating about getting outside and simply walking.
Decisions come easily, the mind quiets down, the body is exercised and healing happens.
Plus, on a side note, the brain is getting oxygen through the pumping of blood and this will also reduce brain fog.
Remember, learning isn’t always about sitting down to read a manual or going to a class or regurgitating material for a test.
True learning happens when we’re healthy, engaged and enjoying.
Knowing A,B,C’s and 1, 2, 3’s is great, but knowing yourself; well, that’s true power. Most people don’t know much about themselves.
Pause today, implement one of the above 7 Tips and see just what you learn about yourself by doing so. You might be pleasantly surprised. And inspired…
And if you have other tips to add, mention them in the comments below.
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Remember, learn something today that you can share with someone tomorrow.