Q: Im 38, a wife and a working mom with three kids. My days are jammed. Im worried about taxes; my boss wants me to take on more responsibility at work; the cellphone is always ringing. Sometimes I cant remember what I am supposed to be doing! Its scary to think I might have Alzheimers disease already!
GLENDA H., TALLAHASSEE, FLA.
A: Breathe deep and slow. Exhale. Now, lets talk. Forgetfulness is a predictable result of a frantic daily schedule and a lack of down time.
It sounds like your brain fog is coming from two sources. The first source is the nagging stress of super-juggling trying to fit all of your everyday responsibilities into an overcrowded schedule. Youre dealing with kids, work, the house, yourself (dont forget you!), your spouse, friends and family. Whew!
Your second source is information overload what Alvin Toffler called infobesity in his 1970 book Future Shock. Today, its well recognized that just like overeating damages your health, over consuming information causes nagging, chronic stress.
And all that stress can decrease neural connections in your brain. Studies have shown that multitasking makes each task take longer and causes more errors. The brain fog is real; fortunately, so is your ability to stop it.
Here are our suggestions that might help you feel mentally sharper and keep your brain young:
Write out a short weekly list of to-do priorities. Ask for help from your spouse, friends, and family.
Turn off the TV; answer your phone only when you want; check personal email once a day.
Every day get at least 30 minutes of physical activity and meditate for 10 minutes. They take time, but they minimize aging caused by chronic stress.
When you get your schedule under control, your brain will become even more vibrant.