Category: Feel Better

Covid Anxiety and Brain Fog is Real – 7 Ways to Beat It

For the last two weeks, it’s taken a monumental effort for me to do the most basic things…Empty the dishwasher. Fold laundry. Matching my socks (I’ve given up on that because who cares?).

And when it comes to work things like writing articles, sending out newsletters, making new workouts, cleaning out my email…forget it. I feel like I have a burst of creative energy where I do a lot of stuff, only to completely fall apart the next day.

For those of you working at home, taking care of kids, dealing with lockdown, your burden is no doubt much heavier.

But, here’s some good news: You Are NOT Alone.

Science is here to explain and, once you understand, you’re going to feel better about yourself. It’s not your fault, y’all.

Cognitive Dulling

What we call brain fog is, to smart people, called ‘Cognitive Dulling. It’s basically what I just described – Things like — it taking 3 days to put a pair of shoes away. Or losing your shit because you just printed out an article 3 different times and it came out with 3 different sized fonts that were impossible to read and what is wrong with this printer?! (i.e., what just happened to me about 5 minutes ago).

Here’s what the mental health experts at the University of Texas Health and Science Center at Houston have to say about it.

“Cognitive dulling is a form of mental fatigue that leads to difficulty concentrating, decreased productivity, and a decline in emotional health.”

What Causes Cognitive Dulling

  • Being in constant survival mode for more than a year.
  • Enduring heightened stress levels (how do I get tested? How do I get a vaccine? Is there a polite way to tell someone to wear their mask OVER THEIR NOSE?).
  • Changes in routine and environment.
  • Being stuck at home with your entire family 24/7 which causes you to sit in your car sometimes to eat Cheetos and drink wine all by yourself in the garage. Please tell me you do that too.
  • The notion that we thought the pandemic would be over in a few weeks and it’s been over a year.
  • Worries about jobs, the economy, pandemic variants, mass shootings, the clean sheets I have yet to put on the bed.
  • Every single damn thing that’s happened since January of last year.
  • Getting your first AARP membership form in the mail – maybe that’s just me. They can suck it.
  • No boundaries between work and home life.
  • Video conference meetings (please make them stop).
  • Emotionally processing the loss of life in the world and in our own families.

One of the worst side effects of Cognitive Dulling is decision fatigue. Just this morning I asked if my husband wanted a smoothie or eggs. This decision took him a Very Long Time. I can’t wait to ask him what he wants for lunch.

There are so many things we worry about that we never had to worry about before – Can I meet this friend for a drink? Is the bar even open? Are they wearing masks? When will this godforsaken shit ever end?

Okay, so we’re all here in Cognitive Dullsville. Where do we go from here?

Combatting Cognitive Dulling

  • Self-Care – This is THE most important thing we need to do to deal with this crap.
    • Give yourself a break – Being home all the time means we’re trying to do stuff ALL THE TIME. And that is impossible. Set an alarm every hour and take a walk or move around. Set aside an hour of no electronics. Give yourself a time limit on how much news you consume. Just…breathe for sec.
    • Forgive Yourself – If you feel way less productive than usual, or you’re very productive in some ways (like when I work on something mindless like diamond paintings — weird but totally addictive) and totally unproductive in other ways (making my bed, folding laundry, getting out of bed), that’s what this is all about. We’re dealing with A LOT. Forgive yourself and know this will pass.
    • Schedule Breaks – Take a walk, do a meditation, pet the dog, work on your diamond painting or whatever. These things are very important. Do them.
    • Check In With Yourself – Say no to things that are draining you of energy. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a minute. Listen to some music or a podcast. Chill for a minute. You will get things done. Just not all of them. Focus on the important things.
    • Pick ONE Part Of Your Life to Control Stress – You can’t control everything and really, what we need more than ever right now is to feel empowered and feel some kind of normal. Maybe you’ll work on organizing your closet, work more on your relationships, learn how to meal prep for a healthy diet. One. Thing. The rest can go suck it.
    • Lower Your Standards – As a perfectionist, this is really hard for me, but I’ve had to do that a lot this past year. Instead of writing an article every week, I’m shooting for every 2 weeks (if that). Instead of making perfect meals (not my strong suit anyway), I just fall back on old favorites, even if they seem boring. It’s okay to not be fabulous right now.
    • Get Rid of Some Decision-Making – Do some meal prep…get a roasted chicken and cut it up so it’s ready to throw in a salad. Prep your smoothies for the week.  Get your clothes ready the night before so you don’t have to think about it. Stop matching your socks…no one cares.
    • Ask for Help – It feels good to admit you’re struggling. It’s a relief to get all that worry out. Whether it’s a therapist or a friend or me (you can always email me, y’all – I’m not a therapist but I’m a good listener), it helps.

Here’s the thing: We’re all experiencing this and even the hardiest of souls are having to dig down deep to find a way to cope. I hope these ideas will help all of us. Are you struggling? How are you coping? Leave a comment and give us some ideas.


“The Mental Fatigue You Feel Is Called ‘Cognitive Dulling’ and You Are Not Alone If You Are Experiencing It.”


The Virus Isn’t The Only Thing That’s Contagious – Our Energy Is Too

I. Hate. Electronics.

There. I said it.

I know the world is a dumpster fire right now, so I won’t go on too long about how technologically awful things have been lately.

​​​​Just a recap: My computer crashed on a major project I was working on before I saved it.

Had to start all over.

It continued to crash all. day. long.

Then I was doing a FB live that went utterly wrong and I wasted an hour on a video that never really made it to where it was supposed to go.

It was just one of those times when nothing seems to work right: The ‘smart TV’ goes down, Alexa keeps spinning and spinning or doesn’t understand your question, the wifi goes down for no reason….you know those times, right?

Those are definitely first world problems.

But all the things that are happening now in the world, where I live and in my own house really got to me lately. My cat (who is 19 and deteriorating all over the place) got on my chest around 6 am one morning and I was lying there utterly overwhelmed by everything.

All the failures of the week/month/year. I listed them in my head until it was this ugly loop that I couldn’t seem to stop. And I went down the dark hole of ‘I suck’. I’m a failure. I’ll never get this right. It was stupid to start this business. I did nothing right this week…over and over and over. 

I got up and decided to go for a walk/run, even though I was tired, my body felt like it had acquired lead weights overnight and all I wanted to do was go back to bed.

But I got up. And I did this guided workout where the coach– it was Jaime from the app Aaptiv and the workout was called Energized Endurance – I highly recommend– talked about energy and dark clouds hanging over your head and how energy is contagious…good and bad.

I was mad at this coach. I was like…shut it. I’m feeling bitchy and I deserve to feel bitchy because I suck and the world sucks and everything sucks.

As I kept going, wanting to quit the entire time, something changed in my mind and I remembered how a little movement can totally change your perspective. Getting out of that dark environment and out into the world, doing something mindless like moving my body, listening to this coach talk about energy, I realized she was right. Energy IS contagious and mine that week was just dark and negative.

As I was running I listened to her and her simple steps for changing your energy from negative to positive. It sounded cheesy but they really worked. By the time I got home, I actually felt better.

Step #1: A moment of gratitude. This always sounds simplistic, but it helps to pull you up out of that hole a little. I found something to be grateful about: My family is still breathing. Milo, the old cat, is okay right now.

Step #2: Pick the negative thing you’re holding onto. As I was going through the endless loop of suck, I realized what I was holding onto was Overwhelm. Not just the I-suck stuff but work stuff. Chores. Family. Milo. Huckleberry. Laundry…just all the things that get stuck in your mind and you feel like you’re doing all the work in your head but nothing’s actually getting done. And you’re exhausted.

Step #3: Learn to let go. I’ve heard this so many times that it’s kind of become a little cliche, but it really is true. If I wanted to change my energy, to feel less sucky, I had to let go of the overwhelm. Of the suck. And it isn’t something that just happens. It’s something that, once you realize what you’ve been holding onto and that you need to let go of it, it just kind of happens. You can’t really force it.

Step #4: Remember when you did something hard and succeeded. I thought about it and I thought – Just getting out of bed that day was a success. Going for a run when I felt crappy was a success. Thinking through all of my thoughts and trying to turn them around was a success. There are so many things we achieve all the time. Appreciate them. You start to realize you don’t really suck.

As I got through this really tough workout and went through these steps in my mind, I felt calmer. I had more clarity and I started to think about what I actually wanted to accomplish that day. Not the 1,000 things on my to do list, but one thing I wanted to get done.

My mind calmed. My energy changed. And I realized – I can do this. I can do life and it doesn’t have to suck.

And bad energy is something we’ve all been around, maybe we’ve given it out and it brings everyone around you down too. Similarly, good energy brings everyone up. Think about that…think about your energy right now. Is it in the negative zone? Try these 4 steps and see if you can get yourself out of that dark hole. I did. You can too.

Leave a comment and tell me about how you manage your energy these days.