Not being able to focus on your work can be frustrating, especially when deadlines are looming and there is no one else who can do what you need to do. Having spent many years working in corporate London I know this only too well.
Brain fog, menopause, IBS and stress can all add up to simple tasks taking longer than normal and being more forgetful in terms of what needs to be done.
In this article, I share with you my top tips for overcoming this and making sure you are at the top of your game and can more easily sail through your working day or your retirement should that be the case.
I have separated this out into three steps to make life easier. All of which will add up to improving your focus in whatever it is that you are doing.
Firstly, lets discuss your diet. Grab a pen and paper and write down everything that you have eaten today. Be completely honest with yourself.
Now write down everything liquid that you have consumed today. And the amounts.
How much hydrating water have you consumed?
How many of these food items are green, organic and from the earth?
If most of your daily food consumption is caffeinated drinks and packet food then this is a really simple fix to improve focus. And the good news is that once you make the switch, as outlined below, you will feel like you have gained an extra 10 years in terms of focus, energy and vigour!
Ditch the caffeine! Yes, I know, this may sound harsh but caffeine is only beneficial if you are running a marathon or need extra energy reserves for some serious athletic adventures. For a sedentary life in an office-based job it is pointless. All it will do is dehydrate you, potentially mess with your blood sugars and cause highs and lows all throughout your day. Which interfere with your focus and productivity.
Hydrate your brain cells and your body with water instead. Ditching the caffeine and the sugary drinks throughout the day will make a high difference in how you feel and the good news is that this effect will take place within 7 days.
Just 7 days of swapping out caffeine and sugar for drinking 2 – 3 litres of water each day will have your skin looking fresh and young, your eyes will be bright and sparling, your urine will be clear and your whole body and mind will benefit. This is the single most valuable piece of advice I can ever share with you as it is the simplest and most powerful transformation.
*Always use filtered water and not tap water as it is unsafe to drink. Preferably invest in a water distiller or use bottled water as a last resort. Try using bottled water from glass bottles to protect our planet. I have more information on this here
Now let’s take a look at your food consumption. We can separate foods out into three categories:
1) Packet food (snacks and junk food))
2) Bread products (sandwiches, croissants, muffins, cakes, donuts, toast etc.)
3) Whole food = fruit, salad and veg items
If you are mostly consuming foods from the 1 and 2 lists in a day then you are most likely not getting enough nutrition in your daily diet. This may make you feel hungry all the time and not satisfied even after you have just eaten.
When we are hungry this usually happened for one of two reasons. The first reason is that we are lacking in essential nutrients and our stomach relays this information to the brain to go and eat more food… At this stage our brain is in ‘survival’ mode and wants to go for high salt, high fat, high sugar foods to fill the gaps in the missing nutrition.
This can lead to poor choices and more junk food is consumed. The body still has missing nutrients and sends messages back to the brain to go and eat more and the cycle continues.
What we should eat in those moments of hunger are natural whole foods that cover the missing nutrition such as nuts and seeds, avocados, home-made snack bars (see recipe) and fruit. This will actively quench the hunger and provide the body with a fast nutrient boost.
A smoothie would be the perfect answer at this point int eh day as you can cram in most of the above and make it taste nice. Plus it is easy for the body to digest.
The other reason we get ‘hungry’ is usually due to hormones, to comfort eat, to stress eat, or eating out of boredom.
In order to avoid these pitfalls try to ensure that you are stimulating your happy hormones om a daily basis. This doesn’t mean you have do leap from your desk to do a 5k run at lunchtime, a simple 20 – 30 minute walk will suffice.
Exercise stimulates endorphins which help us to keep on an even keel throughout the day.
Find something you like to do and aim to do it 4+ times a week, whether it is a class at the gym, running, yoga, walking, cycling, sport, dancing, sex. Whatever gets your pulse racing and makes you feel happy afterwards.
I delve into hormones in more depth in my Menopause course which you can get more information about right here.
Take Regular Breaks
It can be too easy to get into the zone and be sitting at your desk for hours, or become so engrossed in one task that you haven’t moved very much for a long while so do remember to take regular breaks.
I set myself a reminder on my phone every hour. Something this is annoying when I am in the middle of something however it does remind me that I A) need to drink more water and B) need to move around a bit. I often go and do some gardening and take a proper break and then come back to the job at hand feeling fresh and focused.
A walk around the office, a water break, doing some filing or popping out for a smoohie can all be included as a break away from your work for a few minutes and do make the world of difference in terms of allowing your brain to reset, rest and refocus on what needs to be done.
I hope you have found this useful and if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.