MIDLIFE SCATTERBRAIN

Today's guest is Min from Write in the Middle and she's discussing brain fog in Midlife.

INTRO

Today's lovely guest for my Social Saturday series is Min from Write of the Middle. Min is another Aussie blogger who happens to live on the opposite coast of Australia to me - it seems most Aussie bloggers are East Coasters - it must be something in the tropical air over there that leads to the proliferation of Midlifers who blog. One day I'm going to buy a plane ticket and head on over to meet them all.

In the meantime, Min is here today sharing about something I'm sure we can all relate to.


MIDLIFE SCATTERBRAIN

One thing I’ve noticed since I’ve been in my 50’s is that I’ve become a scatterbrain! My mind is all over the place, skittling from one thing to another. There’s always so many tasks and things I want to do all swirling around in there and sometimes they can overwhelm me. But not only that, things fall out of my brain all the time. Yep – I forget stuff!

There never seems to be enough hours in the day to do all the things I need to do but at the same time, I’m aware that I can’t do as much in a day as I used to. I need things spaced out a bit more. I’m not as good at multi-tasking as I used to be. My concentration and focus are not like they used to be. I need quiet times and I need things to be at a slower pace. My new mid-life pace.


FORGETFULNESS

The other day I found myself at the local shopping centre and as I walked in through the doors I thought to myself, “why am I here again?” Luckily, I know myself and had written a note that I knew was tucked in my bag. I grabbed it out and there dot pointed nicely was a list of what I needed to do/buy.

There are times where for example I will be headed to the laundry to get a load of washing out of the machine and on the way will notice something else that needs doing and I’ll get sidetracked and completely forget to get the washing out of the machine. Sound familiar?


READING AND REMEMBERING

I used to be a prolific reader. I love reading books! These days I find it hard to concentrate and focus on reading. This makes me sad as there are so many books I’d like to read.

Ever been mid-sentence but a critical word or name completely escapes you? You can sense it on the tip of your tongue but ….. nope … can’t remember! Or you’re calling one of your kids and run through every name in your family before you finally hit on the right name!



Today's guest is Min from Write in the Middle and she's discussing brain fog in Midlife.

WHY HAVE I BECOME A SCATTERBRAIN?

I suspect it is my age and the fact I am peri-menopausal. It’s what is called ‘BRAIN FOG’.

Brain fog is a term generally used to describe slow or hazy thinking, difficulty focusing, confusion, lack of concentration, and forgetfulness. It’s similar to mild cognitive impairment (brought on by ageing) in that it can cause considerable angst, but it’s not a sign of permanent degeneration.


MENOPAUSE

Most women who experience menopause-induced memory loss report that their memory returned after menopause.

Why these symptoms arise is not entirely clear, but some tests have suggested it may be the result of hormonal changes. The key thing to remember is that brain fog is very much real and that you’re not going mad, nor will it be permanent.


Today's guest is Min from Write in the Middle and she's discussing brain fog in Midlife.

12 TIPS TO HELP SCATTERBRAIN/BRAINFOG

1. Avoid Stress, or at least reduce it where you can

2. Eat healthy Foods - your brain needs proper nutrients including the right vitamins, essential amino acids, and healthy fats

3. Exercise regularly – find what you enjoy (you won’t stick at something you don’t)

4. Exercise your brain - word games, writing, puzzles, sudoku, etc.

5. Get sufficient restful sleep

6. Have regular down time for relaxation and restoration

7. Get back to nature – it’s very healing and restorative to be outdoors and in nature

8. Tackle one task at a time - take a break from being a multi-tasking super hero!

9. Technology can be your BFF – for example: set reminders and alarms in your calendar, use your notes to help you remember things, use your camera to help you remember where you parked (as one example)

10. Digital Detox time - on the flip side to tip #9, take a regular break from social media/technology/screens. They can over clutter the mind.

11. See a doctor for an overall check-up (including a check for any vitamin deficiencies)

12. Consider spiritual practice (like yoga and/or meditation).


ALL IS NOT LOST

Interestingly, during my recent participation in Mindful in May (MiM posts can be found HERE) I not only learnt about the wonderful benefits of regular meditation, but I learnt about ‘neuroplasticity’ – the ability of the brain to change and adapt. In particular, the interview with Dr Michael Merzinich (Week 2, Day 10) was enlightening. He is the pioneer of neuroplasticity and has published many books on the topic. He leads an online brain-training system called BRAIN HQ that represents the culmination of 30 years of research in neurological science and related medicine. He tells us that the brain need not decline with age if we take control of it!

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Have you got a case of scatterbrain? How many of the 12 tips to help with scatterbrain can you put a big tick next to?

Min and where you can find her:




Min blogs at Write of the Middle.  She lives on Moreton Bay in Brisbane and is passionate about encouraging women to prioritise themselves and to look after their health and wellbeing in all ways – spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally.  She’s a photography enthusiast, nature lover, mum to three young adults, and adorer of her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, ‘Ava’.  She recently discovered the delights and benefits of a range of locally handcrafted 100% natural botanical skin care oils and writes about them in her Skin Care Saturday posts, and has an online shop where they’re available for purchase. 
Blog:  https://writeofthemiddle.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/writeofthemiddle
Instagram:  https://instagram.com/writeofthemiddle
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/riteofthemiddle
Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/writeotmiddle
Min’s Online Shop:  https://www.gorgeouswoman2.com.au


Disclaimer:  I am not a medical professional nor am I providing medical guidance. This post should not be taken as specific health advice. It’s a post that relates only to my own health.  If you have similar issues, I'd advise you to speak to your own Doctor or health professional.


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37 comments

  1. Hi Min lovely to see you at Social Saturday with Leanne. I hear you and often find I walk into a room and wonder what I was looking for, or I'm speaking and just can't think of the word that is on the tip of my tongue! Great tips and I know if I'm stressed my 'scatterbrain' is worse so I try to exercise regularly. Sleep is my biggest issue, I'm not a good sleeper and sometimes would just love to fall into a deep, calming sleep for 9 hours. Enjoy your weekend, ladies xx

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    1. Thank you Sue. I'm so happy to be part of Leanne's Social Saturday series. Scatterbrain is a pain isn't it? It's really only come on for me in my 50's. In my 40's my brain was much, much sharper. Hopefully it's relatively temporary and I'll be a little sharper of mind again one day in the near future! LOL Hope you have a wonderful weekend too! xo

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    2. It's a strange feeling when you once had everything straight in your head, to now have those moments when there's a mental blank - it freaks me out every time it happens!

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  2. Thank you so much Leanne for inviting me to guest post as part of your fabulous series! It's been fun to do and honour to be a part of. :-) xo

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    1. Lovely to have you Min - and this is one of those topics that people will come back to because we all have moments of "where was I?" these days :)

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  3. Hi Min, lovely to see you here, and I enjoyed reading your post. I don't know where I'd be without my digital calendar and reminders - I have several calendars "synced" to my phone, to minimise the risk of double booking, otherwise I know I'd be in trouble often!!
    Totally agree with your tips on healthy eating - including healthy fats!! - sleep, exercise, nature/sunshine, and reducing stress. It sounds lovely, doesn't it, but sometimes quite hard to do on a regular basis!!
    Thanks Leanne for featuring the lovely Min xx

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    1. I've taken to writing an extra note on my fridge white board if it's an important date Sue - I just don't trust myself quite as much as I used to and not forgetting is super important to me!

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    2. Hi Sue! I rely heavily on my devices too to remind me of what I've got to do and where I'm meant to be! I also have a hard copy diary on my desk where I write things to remind me too. I really need to make sure I set alarms/reminders or I might forget to check my phone/computer/ or diary! Hilarious sometimes! lol xo

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  4. Hi, Min - Lovely to see you here. I agree with your tips -- especially #10. There is a growing body of scientific evidence indicating that digital distraction is negatively affecting our minds and our memories. Thought-provoking stuff!

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    1. I read an interesting article a while back that said that younger people can't remember a sequence of numbers anymore - remember when we knew all our friends' phone numbers off by heart? Remember when we didn't have a calculator in our pocket or spell check on hand? Digital stuff certainly makes our brains more lax.

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    2. Hi Donna (hope I got your name right) - lovely to see you here too! Yes, the digital era is fabulous but fraught with problems. Amongst may other concerns, it means we're switched on too much and too often causing overly cluttered minds and unrested minds. Social media has shown to cause a lot of comparison envy too (and even depression) which is sad because most of what you see on say 'Instagram' is peoples highlight reels - just the good bits of life usually. I love the internet and some social media but the trick is to try and get the balance right. xo

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  5. Great post! Anyone over 50 can certainly relate. Thanks for the tips!

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    1. I always love it when a problem isn't just stated, but comes with a few suggestions on how to solve it Amy - that's much more practical for those of us who need help.

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    2. Thanks so much Amy. I'm glad you found the post relatable and helpful! :-)

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  6. Great post, I relate to this! I have made myself slow down over the past 2 years, and I enjoy and need more quiet time. Exercise and good sleep are beneficial when I start feeling scattered. Thank you for this post!

    Lori Jo - 50 With Flair
    www.50withflair.com

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    1. I've cut back on my multi-tasking too Lori Jo. I just don't seem to be able to keep all the balls in the air without dropping one occasionally these days. It's much more efficient for me to do one or two things well than risk doing several not to the best of my ability :)

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    2. Thanks Lori Jo! I'm so pleased you could relate to what I wrote. I need more quiet time these days too.

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  7. I've always been a little scatterbrained but I find walking and getting exercise helps. Maybe it brings more oxygen to the brain. Whatever it is, it works.

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    1. Walking out in the fresh air always helps me too! It's not only good for the body but well known to be good for the brain/mind too! :-)

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    2. I think walking slows us down to a better rhythm Rebecca and lets our brains unwind a bit and shed all the stress. I always feel clearer in the head after a walk x

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  8. thank you min you have articulated this very well. would that I knew about this some years ago.. what living thru this change has done for me is made me slow down encouraged me not to multi- task , not to try to hoard information and not be upset with not remembering. accepting my headspace was different was the key for me and then adjusting accordingly - this actually has made me live more in the present and content with doing much much less. ( not always content with that but getting there) I dont feel stupid or less sharp these days just less interested in certain things. great tips all helpful in supporting us to move into this next phase of our lives when the fertility window has closed and another door of middle life creativity opens..

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    1. I'm so pleased you've found the post helpful Sandra! Yes I think the trick is to slow down, accept the days of being a multi-tasking Queen are probably over and to be kind to ourselves. We can be so critical of ourselves can't we? xo

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    2. Sandra I love how you've changed the focus of this and looked for the positives that it's brought with it. We might feel or think differently as we age, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, we just need to adjust and find what the best blend for us is and to not allow things to deteriorate (that's why I loved Min's tips too).

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  9. Hi Min, nice to meet you here. I will visit your Blog later to read more about you. This is a timely and interesting post for all of us 50/60/70 somethings who suffer from "scatterbrain" syndrome. I'd like to say it goes away, but mostly, it just becomes more manageable by being proactive. Your list is on point, especially #9. I put everything on my google calendar, which syncs to my phone, with updates set for the day before, 1 hour before, etc. just to remind me where I am supposed to be. Healthy eating, regular exercise and good rest make all the difference for me. Thanks for the reminders.

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    1. Hi Suzanne - lovely to meet you too! I'm so glad you found the post interesting and useful. Technology is fabulous isn't it for setting alarms and reminders! lol Healthy eating is so important during these mid-life years, as is good rest as you say. Have a wonderful week! :-)

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    2. I think we all need to adjust to the fact that our minds and bodies keep on changing and there are ways to still be just as productive and happy if we put little tweaks into place Suzanne - Google calendars are amazing and so is all the information we have at our fingertips these days - bless the internet!

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  10. Hi Min - great post! I can hold the basic information and current fundraising situation of almost 60 clients in my head - I take virtually NO notes. But when I head upstairs or downstairs - I forget why! I've heard some refer to it as 'threshold syndrome'. When our children were younger, we tried to practice asking them to complete tasks - once they were over the threshold so they didn't forget when they left the room. I do find slowing down and not always being so rushed helps tremendously!

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    1. Thanks Janet - glad you've enjoyed the post! I've never heard of 'threshold syndrome' but how interesting! Yes, slowing down is the way to go. I simply cannot operate at the pace I used to anymore.

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    2. Wow Janet I'm impressed that you still have so much memory space for all those clients! I'm finding that I have a drop off threshold - where once I finish something I put it away and then forget about it - all good unless it comes back for a second round and I have to refresh my memory because it had been "filed away"!

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  11. My name is Diane and I am a scatterbrain. ;)
    Great suggestions! Just what I needed!

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    1. LOL - you made me laugh Diane. I'm glad you've found the post useful. :-)

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    2. Ahhh but Diane you are such a creative scatterbrain! I think your brain works on a whole different level to the rest of us! xx

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  12. Min: Thank you for sharing your experience with midlife scatterbrain and your advice on how to address it. The list is good, and the gesture towards neuroplasticity is valuable. All my best to you.

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment Karen. I'm pleased you find the mention of neuroplasticity valuable. Our brains are like our bodies and need exercise. I think it is such an interesting and fascinating topic! :-)

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    2. It's amazing what we can still do for ourselves to make sure we don't spiral down further physically and mentally - I'm working on those brain exercises!

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  13. Hi there - visiting from the Bloggers Pit Stop. Absolutely great info here - I can so relate. Menopause certainly has it's pros and cons! Hope your weekend is fantastic.

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  14. Great post. I have been using CBD which I had started for a different reason but am now happily finding is also helping me with concentration and other matters of the brain.

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If you'd like to have a conversation, feel free to email me any time - leanne.lecras@gmail.com