How the Blues Might be Mistaken for Cognitive Fatigue
Anyone else feeling pretty much at the end of their tether?
This lockdown feels for many a little tougher from the last. Perhaps the shorter days and lack on sunshine hours are contributing to us feeling less than filled to the brim with energy, enthusiasm and excitement. Find out how we can beat the Blues and why there maybe an underlying health issue, we are mistakenly ignoring.
Whilst the dense winter fog falls in the early mornings, our brain took a foggy hit too. If we’re struggling to concentrate at home or work, especially on the most simplest of tasks, it may be a more serious case of ‘cognitive fatigue’ or ‘errand paralysis’ rather than just the usual “blame it on the winter blues”.
What is Cognitive Fatigue?
Cognitive fatigue is described as feeling, increasingly emotionally and mentally drained. Symptoms can include exhaustion, forgetfulness, irritability, stress, comfort eating and lack of sleep. Our brain may feel like it’s in overdrive mode with ‘life admin’, which leaves us feeling less productive and despair.
Whilst some may class these symptoms as ‘january blues’ and we are often encouraged to ‘power through’, cognitive fatigue can affect us long term, and all throughout the year, which can lead to worrying health issues, such as increased anxiety, headaches and heart rate, affecting our overall mental and physical wellbeing.
Comparison to others, can also make cognitive fatigue worse, and we only need to scroll through our perfect Instagram feeds and see everyone supposedly ‘killing it’ to make us feel not even close to achieving our head start. Whilst we create annual ‘new year's resolutions’ with gleaming hope, in a fresh new diary, it only takes a few moments of negative comparison to cross out these goals and set a much lower expectation for the year ahead.
The NHS recommends ‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapy' (CBT) if we want to speak to a medical professional and have support with changing the way we think. A regular ‘talking therapy’ session, every one to two weeks, with a specialist, may help to understand our negative emotional patterns, trapping us in our current negative state of mind. CBT has been known to treat eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder and insomnia. Treatments can last between 5 - 20 sessions and 30 minutes to an hour per session, however we must be fully committed to the procedure to see beneficial improvements.
If our schedule does not allow for therapy or it isn’t something we feel comfortable with, or perhaps it’s not the extreme in our situation, adopting daily self-care activities may help us too.
Try to stay organised
Write down lists, where we can see them or put reminders and alerts in our phone. Tidy our room before we leave the house. Clean our desk at the end of the working day, wash up the dishes as soon as we have had dinner.
Take frequent breaks
Whether it’s first thing in the morning or last thing at night, start or end our day with improving our focus, memory and reducing our stress levels. Throw on some relaxation beats for 5 - 20 minutes, or download a meditation app and let our mind flow freely with guided practice.
Self - care and self-acceptance is the epitome of improved wellbeing. We should journal down five things we are grateful for each day, and five things we have personally achieved, however small or big and constantly remind ourselves, of our self - worth and value.
At Beautifully Nourished, our ‘Cognitive Enhancer’ daily nutritional supplement can tackle ‘cognitive fatigue’ and help to promote our mental alertness and boost our energy levels. The mild formula contains Guarana Extract, a Brazillian plant, to support with mental and physical fatigue. Amazonian tribes have used Guarana for centuries for its ancient therapeutic properties, rich in antioxidants and natural caffeine. The addition of Ginkgo Biloba extract, often used in Chinese medicine, has also been proven to positively affect our mood, memory and reduce anxiety.
Give Your Self Time and Permission to Rest and Just Be