Foggy beach scene with text overlay: 5 Work-Arounds for Dealing with Fibro Fog https://reclaiminghope.blog

5 Work-Arounds For Dealing With Fibro Fog

“You’re really foggy this morning, aren’t you?,” my husband asked as I stood in the middle of the kitchen trying to figure out what I was in there for. He was just starting to make our morning coffee and I had zoned out about three times already.

Of all the wacky things that go along with fibromyalgia, brain fog is probably the most disconcerting for me. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m retired military, and making quick, sound decisions was part of my everyday life. Now, it often takes me a while to even process what I’m supposed to be making a decision about, much less make one!

Add to that the inability to remember things, and sometimes, I feel as if my brain is just shutting down on me. I’m learning to live with it, but I don’t have to like it :o). I teach a Life Group at church a couple of times a month, and sometimes, in the middle of teaching, I’ll just forget what I was saying, or where my train of thought was headed. It’s embarrassing, but thankfully, I teach a group of older ladies, and they just laugh and tell me it’s only going to get worse as I get older. That definitely makes me a lot more comfortable in the moment, but then, when I think about it, I start to worry a little. Worse? Really??? Yikes!

Whether I like it or not, brain fog is a part of life with fibromyalgia, so I’ve developed work-arounds to help me function halfway normally even on those days I can’t think straight. I thought I’d share them, and although most of them probably won’t be new to you, hopefully, you’ll find something helpful here.

5 Work-Arounds for Dealing With Fibro Fog

  • Make lists – I make lists for groceries, meal ideas, blog ideas, you name it, I probably have a list for it. These really are my lifeline when I’m having one of those foggy days. They help me stay focused and serve as my “memory” when I can’t remember things.
  • As much as possible, stay organized – Keep the things you use most often in the same place all the time, and after you use them, put them right back in the same place. When you’re having one of those foggy days, you don’t have to think about where things are; your muscle memory will take care of it for you. You’ll just go straight to what you need and not have to worry about trying to remember where it is.
  • Set up reminders in your computer, on your phone, whatever you usually have around that will get the reminder to you. I use my Amazon Echo now. We got one when Amazon had Prime Day – they were half off so I figured “why not?” I now have a new best friend! All I have to do is say, “Alexa, set a reminder” for whatever I need to be reminded of, or “Alexa, add ____________ to my shopping list” and it’s taken care of. The important thing is just to put your reminders in whatever format works best for you.
  • When you’re out and about, only lock the car door with the key fob from outside the car. I’ve had a fear of locking myself out of the car since this brain fog started, so I just make sure I have my key fob in hand before I even open the car door to get out, and I never touch the lock button on the door.
  • Set up a double-check system for things that are critical, i.e., I have a gas stove, so after I’m done cooking, I always go back and double-check each burner and the oven to make sure the gas is completely off.

Of course, the best thing we can do is to try to keep the Fibro Fog at bay. Taking care of our brain health  is a great place to start. Healthy diet, exercise, things that stimulate the brain such as brain games or reading, etc., and even deep breathing can help us take care of our brains and perhaps, lessen the impact of Fibro Fog.

Do you deal with Fibro Fog? What kind of systems do you have in place for your foggy days? Please share!

Blessings,

~Terri

30 comments

  1. Thanks for this Terri. As someone who doesn’t suffer from fibromyalgia, I often feel like an interloper here, but it’s rare I read something not helpful to me or someone I know. Your tips today are wonderful reminders for some of us who are edging into our years where forgetfulness happens more often than we like. And, knowing you, it’s nice to just hear your voice as I read your posts.

    1. Oh Tim, you could never be an interloper here! I want this to be a place where everyone can gather and feel welcome. Let’s hope we don’t edge into those “forgetful” years too quickly — for me, that would be a double whammy ha ha! I’m glad you found the tips helpful, and I really appreciate your kind words. Sending hugs to you and your lovely bride!

  2. It’s good the ladies in the Life Group take it with a dose of humour, I think that really helps as you say at the time, but it worries me to think this sort of fog can get worse, too!

    Chronic pain is bad, but I think I find ‘fibro fog’ to be one of the most disheartening, frustrating aspects, perhaps because I’ve always been more cerebral in life. I used to sit and write or read or study for hours at a time; I was quick with thought, quick with processing things, I could focus and concentrate. Not any more.

    I rely a lot of lists and in trying to be organised, so I’m glad you mentioned those points as I find them really helpful. Reminders are fantastic too, especially with the help of technology. It’s amazing Alexa can do that! I’m so curious about the Echo, but if I’m totally honest I’m not 100% sure how it works so I don’t know if I’d even be able to connect it to my Macbook’s notes & calendar and I’d end up even more confused 😂

    Regular breaks are important on foggy days, which is every day. Double-checking is quite reassuring to do and I always think ‘it doesn’t hurt to make sure’. Fibro fog be damned, you still produce such relatable, well written & useful posts, Terri!  ♥
    Caz xx

    1. Thanks so much Caz! I’m with you on the Fibro Fog being “one of the most disheartening, frustrating aspects” of this syndrome. As someone who’s lived with migraines for as long as I can remember, I’ve been in some sort of pain pretty much my entire life. Although it does bring me to my knees and send me to my bed sometimes, it’s still easier to deal with than the feeling like I’m moving through mud when I’m trying to think sometimes.

      As far as the Echo goes, mine connects to my WiFi. I do have the Alexa app on my iPad, but I mostly just set up my reminders by talking to the Echo. I haven’t tried syncing my Macbook’s calendar with it (I use my Outlook calendar), so I’m not sure if that’s possible or not. Maybe someone else on here knows about that….

      That’s a great tip about taking frequent breaks — sometimes our brains just need a minute for a ‘reset.’ It’s kind of like when things freeze up on the computer or phone; you just have to shut down and restart to give it time to clear out the fog.

      Thanks for your kind words sweet friend – sending hugs!

    1. Thanks for sharing Ruth! I don’t know what I’d do without some kind of reminders. 😁

    1. Thanks so much Wendi! It definitely is stressful sometimes, isn’t it? Hope you’re doing well sweet friend! Blessings to you!

  3. Great tips, Terri! I use apps to remind me of medications, I use my calendar (app and wall) for even the most mundane things, and I still forget things constantly. My calendar also pushes notifications through my fitbit so that’s pretty handy. But even with all that, I still forget. This morning I had an important call for health stuff. I set an alarm after my phone reminded me last night. I then saw the calendar this morning. That was about a half hour before the call. Then my phone rang, I had no idea why or who that would be so I didn’t answer. I checked the my VM and realized…it was THE call, luckily she called back because I had no way to reach her. My brain just doesn’t connect the dots anymore, and sometimes no amount of calendars, notes, or apps will help navigate this journey through the fog. 🌼

    1. Thank you Mishka, and thanks for sharing! It’s disconcerting to forget things like that important call, isn’t it? I’m glad the person you needed to talk to called back. I really wish our brains would just get with the program and do what we want them to do. Hope you’re doing as well as possible sweet friend. Sending hugs!

  4. Great tips Terri! I set reminders for everything on my phone. I set alarms also. I write to do lists and if possible I try to avoid letting work based tasks pile up as it’s bad enough trying to cope with daily brain fog but when you feel overwhelmed, the stress increases and the brain fog gets so bad that any hope of being productive is derailed. I have to park up the task and walk away, hoping rest or a new day will ease the fog!

    1. Thank you Marie, and thank you for sharing! That’s a great point about not letting work-based tasks pile up. Like you, if I have too many things I know I have to do, I start to feel overwhelmed and stressed out, and can’t think straight. Hope you’re doing well! Blessings to you!

    1. Thanks for sharing G! I know what you mean about them gaining speed. My Mom has always said that the older you get, the faster time goes and I’m finding that to be true. It seems like each year goes by more quickly than the year before. Hope you’re doing well my friend!

  5. The greatest impact with Fibro fog for me is with language & communication especially on the phone. As I shared in my post Listening https://teawithjennifer.blog/2018/05/11/listening/ I have had to make several behavior modifications around this.

    Did you know that forgetfulness & having a foggy brain actually aren’t ‘normal’ in the aging process Terri, (it shouldn’t get worse)…What your ladies are experiencing can be corrected in the brains ability for Neuroplasicity. 😀
    Bless you,
    Jennifer

    1. Thanks for sharing Jennifer! It’s a blessing that we can find those work-arounds for whatever our particular issues are, isn’t it? I’ve noticed that there are times when I speak a lot more slowly (especially early in the morning) than I normally would, which can lead to other people trying to finish what you’re saying for you… That doesn’t always work out well because the other person doesn’t always get it right.😁 I did know about neuroplasticity and that there are ways we can keep our brains healthier. I’m not sure it completely keeps our brains from aging, but it’s good to know it helps. Blessings to you sweet friend!

      1. It does indeed!😁 Thanks for sharing the link – I’m going to check it out. I love reading about brain health; our brains just amaze me.

  6. My wife (Fibromyalgia) and I (MS) make lists. She is good about keeping track of them and consulting them. I, on the other hand, make neat lists, stack them on my writing table, and that is the end of them.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing George! I’ve been on both sides of that list-making coin.😁 Most of the time I’m good at making my lists, using them to keep me on track, and checking off items as I do them. One exception is the grocery list — I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made a grocery list and then ended up at the store without it. I’ve either left it in the car, or worse yet, left the house without it. Hope you and your lovely bride are doing well. Blessings to you!

  7. Yes! I agree, lists and lists for lists… Alexa! That’s so cool! And the locking the car door with the fob. I really like your ideas. One thing I am trying to do is to use one notebook for all my lists. I tend to loose them. I am however, not having much luck! Too much to look through to get to the one thing you wanted to remember! And if you want to throw the list in your purse you need to decide whatever size tablet? So, it’s a work in progress! Awesome post, as always, Terri! 💜

    1. Thanks so much Kim, and thanks for sharing! I love the idea of one notebook for all your lists. I also understand what you’re saying about having too much to look through. I wonder if you could use some of those Post-It tabs to stick a ‘topic’ on the side of the page so all you had to do was look for the tab for your particular list, i.e., Groceries, Moving, To Pack for Lake House, etc…. I use the Arc notebooks from Staples a lot – they have cut-out edges that fit into the notebook and you can pull the page out and take it with you, then stick the page back in if you still need to hold onto the list. They come in several different sizes too. Hope your moving prep is coming along. I know it’s a big job! Hugs!

  8. All great suggestions, many of which I employ. Thanks for pointing out a few new ones. Fibro fog makes me nuts. And locking myself out of my car!!!! I totally agree-it’s one of the ones that scares me the most!!! Great post. Thanks!!

    1. Thanks so much Stace! The fog is definitely no fun to deal with. It’s amazing how many little things we have to put into place to make sure we can go through our day as ‘normally’ as possible.😊 Blessings to you!

Please tell me what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.