Worse than the occasional bout of unproductivity, brain fog describes those frustrating moments where, try as you might, you just can't focus on anything. A nutrient-rich diet, healthy sleep routine, and active lifestyle all help clear up the cloudiness, but even the wellness-centric among us can feel dazed every once in a while. We reached out to some of our experts to find out the holistic ways they regain brainpower to stay active and alert.
1. Eat brain food.
A quick snack is a great healthy pick-me-up. Avocados and cashews are incredible sources of good fats that feed the brain, nervous system, and hormone production. I'll keep peeled avocado halves in my freezer and add them to smoothies instead of banana, along with some Brain Dust.
—Amanda Chantal Bacon, Moon Juice founder
2. Add in some adaptogens.
Even a functional medicine doctor can get a little brain fog sometimes! My favorite way to fight the fog and regain my mental clarity and sharpness is to give my brain some adaptogenic love! I mix chaga and Siberian ginseng in some hot water and sip on it during my day talking to patients. Four Sigmatic makes a great chaga elixir.
—William Cole, functional medicine expert
3. Make it tea time.
I make mint tea or a mint green tea and try to inhale it as I drink! The mint is a stimulant that helps focus the mind. I also put mint in the corners of my shower if I wake up feeling in a daze and need to focus.
For a total fresh start, I'll wipe every sheet of paper off my desk, clearing all the clutter in my office that piles up during the days (including emails and digital mess) and deep cleaning everything (even my computer & phone screens!).
—Dana Claudat, feng shui master
4. Cool off and lather up.
I rarely get foggy unless I haven't slept (or someone snuck gluten into my food!). When that happens, I take a cold shower and let the water directly hit my neck and face for several minutes to stimulate circulation and lymphatic drainage. Then, I'll trace my browline, temples and thryoid with the synergistic, anti-inflammatory essential oils of peppermint, geranium, frankincense, and lemongrass. I breathe in the fragrance as I lie in child's pose with my forehead pressing into a cork or wood yoga block, inviting the pressure of the block and the healing therapeutic botanicals to remedy the fogginess, for nature is my most potent medicine.
—Fern Olivia, thyroid expert
5. Call on a crystal.
When brain fog sets in and I need to focus my mind or get a creativity injection, I like to hold a citrine crystal in the palm of my writing hand. I hold the crystal and I think about flow, focus, and beating the fog. Crystals help organize my calendar, fuel my creativity, and calm my consciousness.
—Emma Mildon, spiritual guru
6. Stop and refocus with meditation.
No matter how deep into wellness we are, everyone falls victim to the occasional bout of brain fog. For instance, last year I committed to writing a Daily Dose of Inspiration, and from time to time, I have a hard time putting my thoughts together in a concise way. In those moments, my go-to remedy is usually to stop what I'm doing and sit in meditation for 20 minutes. I've found meditation (and particularly Vedic Meditation) to be an extremely reliable idea-generator that simultaneously removes writer's block with ease. It's become an indispensable part of my writing process, and I highly recommend it to all creatives.
—Light Watkins, meditation practitioner
7. Sip on a high-vibe tonic and go for a walk.
I start by making a cup of my favorite stress-relieving herbs, like albizzia, rhodiola, cacao, mucuna. Then I go on a walk outside to breathe and reflect. As I'm walking, I check in with myself to observe whatever blockage is occurring, visualizing energy moving through my body and dusting off all the haze.
—Adriana Ayales, herbalist
8. Ask and answer.
I discover the cause of it and match it with the appropriate solution by running through a series of questions:
- Did I not sleep well? Then I take a nap.
- Have I been working nonstop? Then I take a break for an hour.
- Did I eat a carb-heavy lunch? Then I remind myself not to do that again and get a green tea.
- Am I overwhelmed? Then I do a Kundalini kriya called Breath of Fire to energize the brain.
- Have I not eaten? Then I'll get a simple snack like an apple.
Brain fogginess can also be the result of an underactive thyroid and low progesterone levels. If brain fogginess is persistent, investigate these imbalances as possible contributors.
—Dana James, nutritional therapist