Tag Archives: Menieres

Its awareness time for Invisible Illnesses!

A Invisible illness is a illness that you have that can’t be seen, MS, SJorden’s, Cluster headaches, migraine headaches, gastroparesis, Huntington’s disease ,fibromyalgia,chronic fatigue, lupus,reflex sympathetic Dystrophy, Myalgic Encephalomuelitis, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, RA, Prinz Metals Variant Arigina, Asthma, Hypogamma-globulinemia, PTSD, concussion, post concussion syndrome, Hep C, Chronic Back injury, Diabetes, cancer, autonomic neuropathy, autonomic small tissue neuropathy, autonomic dysfunction, Autoimmune disease of the inner ear, AIED, Menieres, So many there isn’t enough pages to list all the invisible illnesses.

The key to Invisible Illness is yet the hardest thing to do is diagnose a invisible illness, but the sooner you get diagnosis, get the right treatment, most invisible illnesses don’t have a cure. just comfort measures.

I have a invisible illness, several to be exact and I can tell you the hardest thing is having to defend your illness to everyone, they don’t believe you, they think you are doing it for attention. Believe me I would do anything to have my old life back, be able to work, go for a walk, hike, go have vacations, go to the mail box, walk in a line, Sleep! Sleep is so important and as a patient with invisible illnesses, I feel like I can sleep all the time, my brain is working on over time every day, just to get out of bed, just to do my hair..

I call it payback, if I go do something fun, the energy it takes to get ready and get somewhere be normal for a few minutes and then go home and crash, the pay back! the more stress the more pay back. It can take hours to get ready just for a simple dinner but I can sleep 14 hours after. Any Dr appointments wipe me out, specially if testing is to be done. So I plan. everything has to be planned, If I can make dinner I have to make it early so I am not sleeping when it’s dinner time, If I clean up the laundry room, I have to sleep after, I will do 1 load of laundry and pay.

When you have to defend your illness, its hurts inside, when your family doesn’t believe you it breaks your heart, your always on the defense. Your friends disappear, family disappears whether its because they can’t handle it or because they don’t want to. That’s the killer. You become the scape goat for family issues because your crazy. Its a awful place to be, your not only alone but your alone with your disease, not knowing what tomorrow may bring or if tomorrow will come or if you even want it to. Having a invisible illness F g sucks! more bad days than good, never being able to make plans.

So If you take anything from this post today is we are telling the truth, we are sick, we need your support not your drama. We don’t need to explain our illness or defend it and if you can’t be supportive then let the person go. Just be honest, Just tell the person, write them a letter, e mail them, so they don’t have a false representation of what your intentions are. That’s kinder to a person than to hang on and be a fake friend. Or family member. Every Dr that I talk to says the same thing, the hardest thing is the lack of support from family and friends and there not believed. Those are the words of the Doctors, it’s the highest complaint. Very Sad, that amongst the illness we don’t get the recognition that we are even sick let alone support from the people in your life. So if you are a family member of someone with invisible illnesses, learn about the disease, learn how you can help, not behind the patients back but from the patient “What will make your life easier”? Its not science, it doesn’t cost you anything, but be there! Remember we all die some day, some have a longer illness or life than others, so instead of nit picking, being abusive verbally, be supportive. Nothing hurts worse then being sick alone.

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My Blessings of the day!

kelly and group roseville

I had such a wonderful blessing today, I put together a support group in Roseville California, We made a connection that was amazing and they want me back. Something learned How many people have any type of vestibular dysfunction. Everyone at the table new a hand full of people with Vestibular Dysfunction of some sort. Which means we need to spread the word even more. But some ideas were brought to my attention and I am jumping on the wagon.
Kelly

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Positive Thinking doesn’t work, Positive Action does

Positive Thinking Doesn’t Work – Positive Action Does
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Mind over Meniere’s via mail88.atl11.rsgsv.net

May 26 (8 days ago)

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Positive Thinking Doesn’t Work – Positive Action Does

Living with chronic illness is hard in the age of the 24-hour news cycle.

The never ending circus of tragedy, crisis, and fear is hard to avoid. Somehow, we’ve decided that the darkest aspects of humanity are what want to see, and all the time.

It finds us on Facebook and Twitter, where the celebrities we follow, and our family and friends, parrot the fear.

We’ve never been more connected, but so many people just use that connection to spread negativity. You see it on social media, in the comments on YouTube, and on blog posts and articles. Everyone’s a critic now.

It’s way too easy to see the world as a depressing place because, from a lot of angles, it is. But it’s also beautiful, and finding a sense of happiness is so important, especially when you have a chronic illness.

I believe in the power of positive thinking, but I also know it’s not practical advice. Happiness and positivity require positive action.

“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.” – Benjamin Disraeli

So today, I offer you a set of actions that can help boost your happiness. It is possible to live well with chronic illness; it just takes a bit more work.
1) Avoid the news:

While I don’t believe you have to practice positive thinking, you should make an effort to avoid negativity.

The news today is like a fire hose of sadness. It’s a constant barrage of negativity, hopelessness, and despair, without ever offering any solution. Every now and then we’ll see a positive piece thrown in for good measure but the overall trend is unmistakable, and it’s impacting you whether you realize it or not.

“News is to the mind what sugar is to the body.” – Rolf Dobelli

Just imagine what your life might look like if it was the opposite were true. If 99% of the news covered the triumph of the human spirit, our capacity to help others, and our greatest achievements, while only 1% was negative. I know I would be a happier person.

And while it may not be possible to avoid negativity altogether, you can get half way there by choosing to avoid the news. If anything truly important ever happens, you can be sure you’ll hear about it, one way or another.
2) Listen to something inspiring:

It’s important to cut out the negative content you consume, but you will also probably need something to replace it. It’s good then that we have more choices than we’ve ever had before.

The internet has given us access to an unfathomably large new source of information, content, and entertainment. Streaming services like Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon, have changed the way we watch TV, giving us access to the shows we want when we want. But in my opinion nothing is more powerful than audio entertainment, and we happen to be in a golden age of audio.

The internet has not only breathed new life into audiobooks but has also created the opportunity for anyone to have a radio show, called a podcast, that can reach millions of people. Over the last few years, podcasts have exploded in popularity, quality, and quantity, and there is now something for everyone.

Audio is so powerful because it forces you into the present moment, holding your focus and attention, as it activates your imagination. I find that listening to an inspiring story, audiobook, or interview, works wonders on my mental state when I’m struggling with Meniere’s disease.

Some of my current favorite podcasts:

This American Life – The most popular podcast in the US. Highly produced radio documentaries featuring inspiring storytelling on a new theme each week.

Radio Lab – “Radiolab is a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.”

Serial – “Serial tells one story—a true story—over the course of a season.” I highly recommend season one. It’s fantastic!

The Tim Ferriss Show – An interview show where Tim deconstructs top-performers in a wide variety of fields to extract the tools, techniques, and routines they use to be so successful.

Reply All – An amazing storytelling show about the weird world of the internet.

Audiobooks: You can use this special link to get 2 free books on Audible (it’s part of Amazon.) You have to sign up for the 30-day free trial of their paid subscription service, but you get to keep the books, even if you cancel before the 30 days are up!
3) Surround yourself with positive people:

We may not get to choose our family, but we can choose to spend time with the right people.

The motivational speaker Jim Rohn used to say, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Who are the five people closest to you? Do they support you and your ideas? Do they make you laugh? When you are with them, do you feel like you matter? Or do some of them drain energy, and fill your life with constant and unnecessary drama?

“Let go of the people who dull your shine, poison your spirit, and bring you drama. Cancel your subscription to their issues.” – Dr. Steve Maraboli

Living with a chronic illness is hard enough. You don’t need the added headache of emotionally toxic people. You deserve to be supported, loved, and inspired, and you have a say in whether that happens or not.

Keep the people who truly care, who motivate and uplift you, close to you, and try to spend less time with anyone who brings you down.
4) Hand write a thank you card to someone you love:

If you are already lucky enough to have positive and supportive people in your life, let them know how much they mean to you.

There is something deeply personal about hand writing a sincere and heartfelt thank you note to someone special. It’s such a simple act and one that can have such profound impact on your personal happiness.

“It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy.” – Unknown

First are foremost, you will strengthen your relationship with that person. Let them know that you care about them, and that having them in your life makes a difference.

It’s also a great way to practice gratitude. When you live with a chronic illness, it’s very easy to get caught up in self-pity and resentment. You may be limited in what you are physically able to do, and that can be hard to accept. But hand writing a heartfelt letter forces you to find and focus on something positive, someone you are grateful for, and gives you the opportunity to express it to them directly.

I challenge every single one of you to hand write and send a thank you card to someone important in your life today. It’s such a simple thing to do, and it will immediately put you in a better mood.
5) Do what you can to help others:

When you live with a chronic illness, you are predisposed to hardship, adversity, and pain. Suffering is usually a part of the deal. But you can alleviate your own pain and suffering, by alleviating the suffering of others. There is nothing in this world that does more to raise the human spirit, than helping others in need.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Helping others can be as simple as being there to listen to someone in need. You may not be able to solve their problems, but you can be the one to understand their pain.

You can share your story with others, to inspire, or teach, or to help people avoid the same mistakes that you’ve made. You can start a blog for free at wordpress.com, or even just leave a comment on this page. Starting Mind Over Meniere’s has been one of the most rewarding decisions I’ve ever made.

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” – Charles Dickens

You can also volunteer your time for a charity that means something to you, helping them make a difference by spreading the word, raising money, or doing whatever it is that you can to help the cause. Volunteering for the Vestibular Disorders Association has been a wonderfully rewarding experience for me, and one that I recommend highly.
6) Achieve a small win:

When you live with a chronic illness, odds are, you are going to have difficult days. And it’s hard to feel positive when you’re too sick to accomplish anything important, or anything at all for that matter.

But even on our worst days, it’s rare to be completely incapacitated the entire time. One of the best things you can do is focus on achieving a small win.

What this involves, exactly, is going to be different for everyone. But you can always make the choice to take some small action, to achieve some small obtainable victory, and it can make all the difference.

“If opening your eyes, or getting out of bed, or holding a spoon, or combing your hair is the daunting Mount Everest you climb today, that is okay.” – Carmen Ambrosio

For me, that might mean going for a walk when I don’t feel like leaving the house, or meditating if I’m too fatigued. It could mean eating a something healthy when all I want is comfort food. Sometimes, if I’m working on a book or a blog post, it means just writing a couple of sentences. More of the time, however, it means allowing myself to rest without feeling lazy or guilty.

Whatever small win is within your reach today, take it. It will make you feel better.
Conclusion:

You don’t have to practice positive thinking to be a positive person. It can help, sure. But nothing beats positive action. The things you choose to do make just as much, if not more of an impact, than how you choose to think. And when you act first, the mindset follows.

“The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.” – Vince Lombardi

I hope you will give some of these suggestions a try. You didn’t choose to live with a chronic illness, but you can choose what you’ll do next. I hope you choose something positive.

Written by Mind over Meniers.

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Anxiety and Vertigo, by Mind over Menieres

Anxiety, Vertigo, and the Path to Inner Calm
Posted by Glenn
Anxiety Vertigo and the path to inner calm

The only thing more terrifying than a full blown vertigo attack is having a vertigo attack and a panic attack at the same time.

I’m sure many of you will agree. Because if you have to deal with vertigo, there’s a good chance that you also know what it’s like to live with anxiety. Possibly panic attacks, too

But there’s a good reason that you’re experiencing the panic and anxiety. And once you understand what’s going on, there’s also a way to get rid of it. When you live with a vestibular disorder, panic attacks and anxiety can make your life a living hell, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
What is a Panic Attack?

A panic attack is an exaggerated physical reaction to stress and anxiety. One that hijacks your body’s normal stress response systems.

Normally, the Fight or Flight response is there to protect us from danger. It primes the body to react to an external threat in a way that increases our chances of survival.

Adrenaline and stress hormones flood your system. Blood is pumped away from your extremities to more critical systems, like your muscles. For a brief period of time, you are able to see better, hit harder, run faster and react more quickly. And once the threat is gone, your parasympathetic nervous system kicks in to relax you, restoring homeostasis.

A panic attack happens when our fight or flight response is triggered in response to anxiety or stress without a clear environmental threat. And since there is no clear danger, it won’t always just go away.

It is, without a doubt, a terrifying ordeal for anyone to have to go through. But it’s even scarier when it happens with vertigo.
The Anxiety – Vertigo Connection

Unfortunately, the very nature of vertigo predisposes us to anxiety and panic. Syn Etc, my fellow Meniere’s blogger explains:

“Vertigo is terrifying because it dislocates our sense of space. One of my favorite psychology professors said that balance is our 6th sense. Whenever we lose any of our senses our reaction is fear because we are no longer getting all the information we expect to. Vertigo puts an extra spin (ha!) on things because it feeds us incorrect information. Without that data it is difficult to make decisions, and to have confidence in them. Anxiety is the emotional byproduct of uncertainty.”

The bigger problem is that it’s a negative feedback loop. The vertigo causes intense panic and anxiety, which in turn causes the vertigo to get worse, and happen more frequently. It can be difficult to break the cycle.

But because the two are so closely intertwined, the good news is that if you can start to get your anxiety under control, your vertigo will start to improve as well, or at the at the very least, you will be able to handle it much more effectively.

The best way forward, is to start taking steps to reduce your stress and anxiety today. To help, I have put together a list of the things that have helped me the most over the years.
Meditation:

Meditation has helped me manage my anxiety more than anything else by far.

Because of meditation, I stopped having panic attacks, I’m calm more of the time, and I was able to stop taking anxiety medication. It changed my life in more ways than I can count.

There are a lot of ways to meditate, and I will cover them in detail in a future post, but for now I wanted to leave you with a few actionable steps.

When it comes to managing panic and anxiety, the most important thing to know is how to control your breathing and trigger your relaxation response. Anxiety, and panic especially, will cause you to take short shallow breaths into your upper lungs. But breathing this way only prolongs the anxiety. Learning how to breathe in a way that will trigger your parasympathetic nervous system is incredibly important. The following excerpt from my book is a meditation technique that will help you get started:

“Technique #1 – Stomach Breathing Meditation

Stomach breathing is a simple and powerful approach to meditation. For beginners, it’s a great way to get started. It can be done while sitting or lying down. Turn the lights off and get comfortable. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and turn your phone off or on silent to avoid distractions. Close your eyes and start taking slow deep breaths into your diaphragm. Consciously relax your muscles, starting with your feet and working your way up to your head. As you continue to breathe, focus your mind on the physical sensations of your abdomen. Feel the movement of the muscles as they expand and contract. Continue until your timer goes off. If you catch your thoughts drifting away from your stomach, gently guide your focus back. You will find that this happens less and less over time.”

While I encourage you to take the time to practice this simple meditation style, I also wanted to give you something a little more tangible.

I have recently created a powerful audio meditation program built on the same underlying technology as the Symptom Relief Project, that allows you to experience the deepest levels of meditation in minutes.

The Program is called Zen Vitality and includes 42 MP3s for a total of 18 hours of audio. I encourage you to visit www.zenvitality.co for more details.

But I also wanted to give you something to get started. Click Here to download three audio meditations absolutely free.

It’s everything you need to start meditating. And if you like it, and are interested in purchasing the full program, you can get it for 50% off for a limited time if you use the promo code: menieres
Exercise:

Exercise is another fantastic way to manage your anxiety. It gives you a powerful outlet to channel your stress and it triggers the release of several anti-stress feel-good neurochemicals in your brain, like dopamine and endorphins.

I know how hard it can be to start exercising, especially if your vestibular symptoms are bad and you are experiencing a lot of vertigo. But it’s worth it to find a way. And it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Try going for a walk around your neighborhood, or on the treadmill holding on to the hand rails if your balance is shaky. The stationary bike and the elliptical machine are two other great ways to get a good cardio work out.

However, yoga happens to be one of the best exercises you can do when you suffer from a vestibular disorder. It combines exercise, with the breathing of meditation, and has the added bonus of improving your balance. There are even types of yoga that can be done sitting down in a chair.

You can find a local yoga studio near you by searching on Google or Yogafinder.com, however, there are also many yoga videos you can watch from the comfort of your home.

If you want to try it out without spending any money, there are literally millions of free videos on Youtube.com. Though if you want a higher production value, Amazon Video has a massive list of yoga videos you can rent or purchase.
Plan for every outcome:

One of the biggest problems is that the fear of having a vertigo attack can be enough to cause anxiety and possibly even trigger a panic. It can make it hard to enjoy the things you used to enjoy doing. It can make it hard to even leave the house.

One of the best ways I have found to conquer this fear and reduce the anxiety is to have a plan for every possible outcome anytime I want to do something that I’m afraid to do.

I have written extensively on specific tactics for facing the fear and creating contingency plans for all possible outcomes:

Meniere’s Disease: A tale of Risk, Regret, and Redemption

How to Conquer Fear with Imagination
Get better sleep:

One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that when I have anxiety before bed, it’s usually gone by the time I wake up in the morning.

Sleep has a powerful way of erasing anxiety, and is a crucially important part of managing any chronic illness. Getting enough high-quality sleep is utmost importance and can have a drastic effect on your overall anxiety levels.

10 Ways to get better sleep tonight for better health
Play a game:

In her best-selling book Super Better, Jane McGonigal outlines an effective way to deal with chronic illness, improve your health, and achieve personal-growth by turning your life into a game. Hundreds of thousands of people have used her scientifically verified system to fight their way back to health and improve their lives.

In her book, Jane offers a wonderful insight on dealing with anxiety:

“Anxiety—just like pain, traumatic memory, and cravings—requires conscious attention in order to develop and unfold. It’s fueled by active thoughts about what could possibly go wrong. Fear is a response to something actually going wrong right now. Anxiety, on the other hand, is the anticipation that something might go wrong in the future. The more vividly we imagine something bad happening, the more anxious we get … This is an important insight, because many people naturally turn to relaxing activities as a way to deal with stress, anxiety, or pain. But flow research shows that a challenging interactive task actually gives us more control over what we think and feel than a passive relaxing activity … to block pain or anxiety, don’t try to relax. Instead, focus your attention on any flow-inducing activity—something that challenges you and requires active effort”

Instead of watching TV or listening to music when you feel anxious, Jane suggests taking a few minutes to play a simple, yet challenging game on your smartphone, like Candy Crush, Tetris, or Angry Birds, to name a few.

According to Jane, the attention required to solve the puzzles in these games, is enough to alleviate your anxiety in a substancial way.

One of my favorite games for this purpose is a challenging and fun puzzle game called Three’s (IOS / Android).
Read or listen to a book:

Over the last year or two, reading has become a big part of my life. Every day I read for at least an hour before I go to bed. Reading played a big roll in helping me I learn to manage my Meniere’s disease. It’s also incredibly relaxing.

In a 2009 study conducted by researchers at the University of Sussex, reading was found to reduce stress levels by a whopping 68%. This alone is an amazing finding, but that’s not all. Incredibly, this massive reduction in stress was observed after the participants had read for only 6 minutes!

I encourage you to read or listen to an audio book for at least 10 minutes every day. It’s a simple way to reduce your stress levels and overall anxiety.

To give you some ideas, here are a few of the best books I’ve read recently:

Just Don’t Fall – Josh Sundquist – The hilarious, often heartbreaking and inspirational story of Josh Sundquist, a young man who lost a leg to cancer at age 9 yet went on to achieve greatness in the face of unbelievable adversity. Josh is an author, motivational speaker, and Paralympic athlete.

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal – Christopher Moore – My hands down favorite out of the 85 books I read in 2015. It’s also one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. Do yourself a favor and check it out!

Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! – Richard Feynman – The memoir of Richard Feynman, an incredible physicist who won the Nobel Prize, who was also an hilarious character who thrived on adventure. I loved this book.
***

Reducing your anxiety may not be easy, but I’ve found it’s worth the effort on every level. It triggers a cascade of positive changes that can substantially improve your vertigo, your other vestibular symptoms and your overall health.

Chronic anxiety and stress can cripple us if we let it, but it doesn’t have to. We can start taking steps today to reduce its impact.

You may not be able to completely erase your health condition, but you absolutely can get rid of your anxiety.

I wish you all a healthier, a

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Meniere’s and Chris Packham from the TV Wildlife show.

THE TV wildlife expert talks about Ménière’s disease, an ear condition causing dramatic vertigo and nausea that has dogged him for more than a decade
January 3, 2016 lussy
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‘My dizziness got so bad I feared it was a brain tumour,’ says Chris Packham.
Chris is determined not to let the condition stop him

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Chris is determined not to let the condition stop him [REX]

Next time you enjoy a beer and crisps in the pub, spare a thought for TV wildlife presenter Chris Packham. Alcohol and salt are just two of the triggers that can spark terrifying attacks of dizziness, vertigo and nausea which can leave Chris, 53, collapsed in a heap on the floor and barely able to see.

The presenter of hit wildlife programmes such as Springwatch, Inside The Animal Mind and The Really Wild Show has suffered for more than a decade with Ménière’s disease, a condition that affects the inner ear and can without warning send the brain’s visual perception of the world into a high-speed spin.

It also damages hearing and causes tinnitus, a constant ringing sound that has been known to drive some people to suicide.

“I’ve not eaten a packet of crisps in years and I have to be very careful with alcohol too because it can leave me dehydrated which is one of my main triggers for attacks,” says Chris, who divides his time between homes in the New Forest and South-west France.

“They can strike out of nowhere. There have been times when I have slumped to the ground without even having time to put my arm out to stop myself.”

Chris is now using his experience to highlight the plight of people with hearing problems in poverty-stricken parts of Africa. He is supporting a campaign by the charity Sound Seekers, backed by Specsavers hearing care, to boost the lives of children with hearing loss in southern Malawi, where infants are twice as likely to be partially deaf than those in the UK.

The Department for International Development has pledged to match donations pound for pound to generate enough cash to pay for hearing tests in the region and to recondition thousands of discarded hearing aids that could transform the lives of deaf youngsters.

Ménière’s disease is a surprisingly common condition, affecting an estimated one in a thousand people in Britain. Most are aged between 20 and 60 and the majority, for reasons which remain unclear, are women. The exact cause remains something of a mystery but experts believe it is to do with pressure in the inner ear.

The inner ear contains a coiled tube called the cochlea which has two fluid-filled chambers and is responsible for hearing. It also has another complex set of tubes that control balance. If the fluid pressure changes in these tubes it can spark vertigo and tinnitus. In Ménière’s disease this can happen on an extreme scale.

Sudden attacks usually last around two to three hours but it can take a couple of days for the symptoms to disappear completely. Over time these episodes become less frequent and can even stop completely after five to 10 years.

However sufferers can be left with permanent balance problems as well as tinnitus and hearing loss that gets worse over time. There is no cure but drugs are available to treat the symptoms. Patients are often advised to avoid dehydration by limiting alcohol intake and switching to a low-salt diet.

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Helping people with Brain Fog.

Productivity Tricks Brain Fog

My mind isn’t what it used to be.

It’s a weird thing for a 28-year-old to have to say, but unfortunately it’s true.

There was a time when productivity was a part of me and I didn’t have to make difficult decisions on how to spend my energy. There was a time when I had energy…

But no longer. Chronic illness changed all the rules. I’m not even playing the same game anymore, but some things remain the same. I still have dreams and aspirations. I still want to be successful and be happy and loved. I can still manage to get work done on my own schedule.

It’s just all so much harder now because I suffer from Meniere’s disease, and Meniere’s, like so many other chronic illnesses, causes a kind of cognitive impairment called brain fog.

In a lot of ways, brain fog is hard to describe, and experiences can vary from one illness to another. But for me, brain fog is a frustrating clouding of consciousness. It makes it hard for me to focus and concentrate, and as a consequence my work and productivity suffers. It also affects my memory. I often forget why I walk into rooms, and I frequently have trouble recalling words.

It is incredibly pervasive problem, too. The number of chronic health conditions that cause brain fog is simply staggering. From autoimmune disorders, Fibromyalgia, Diabetes, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Chronic Pain to Vestibular Disorders, Chronic Migraine, Crohn’s Disease, and Depression, just to name a few. It’s a problem that affects literally hundreds of millions of people around the world.

If you are used to be being a productive person, brain fog will take the wind from your sails. The fuzzy feeling of fatigue and lack of motivation that many people experience can make it nearly impossible to accomplish anything. It can be hard to participate in daily life when your mental energy levels are constantly depleted.

Productivity and illness are two words that clearly don’t belong together, but fortunately, over the years I have found helpful strategies for improving my productivity and getting more work done.

Write it all down:

The first rule of brain fog is to write everything down. In the past, I’ve written about ways to improve your memory. It’s an incredibly helpful practice but also quite difficult. A simpler solution is to just write everything down.

I keep stacks of index cards, pads of Post-it notes, and small notepads all over my house. It can be hard to organize all of the scraps of paper, but I don’t have to worry anymore about forgetting an idea, an appointment, or meeting my responsibilities.

I generally stick to several simple note taking strategies. For random ideas, and general note taking, I use 3”x5” index cards. I find that the small size keeps my notes concise and to the point. It also makes it easy to carry around.

For keeping lists, and doing creativity exercises, I use small notepads. My favorite of which is a product called the “Dotpad” made by the French stationary company, Rhodia.

I also use Post-It notes, though primarily for reminders. If there is something I need to remember, I write it down on a 3”x3” post it note and stick it to the place where I will need to remember something specific. Another good trick I’ve found is to stick post-it notes to the back of my cell phone. I do this with anything important that I need to remember in the near future. I keep a pad of post-it notes next to my bed for this exact reason. If I think of something while brushing my teeth or falling asleep, I immediately write it down and stick it to the back of my cellphone to make sure I remember it, and remember to read it in the morning.

My Desk

Keep a fixed routine:

One of the most powerful productivity tricks I’ve found is to keep a routine. When a routine becomes a habit through repetition, the brain uses less energy to accomplish task. Through a process known as “chunking”, the brain turns a complex routine into a single chunk of information, allowing us to execute a complicated set of actions on auto pilot. It’s a way for our brains to conserve energy, and it pervades our lives. According to a paper published in 2006 by a Duke University researcher, up to 40% of our daily actions are not conscious decisions we make, but automatically executed habits.

For someone with a chronic illness, you can use this to your advantage. If you follow a fixed daily routine, over time you will have more and more mental energy available to put toward the work you need to do. It will allow you to be more productive.

For me personally, I tend to go to sleep, wake up, exercise, meditate, and eat, at the same times every day. I also have a fixed morning routine. By the time I need to get to work and be productive, I usually haven’t had to make any decisions that day or waste any energy.

Manage priorities and keep an I-did-it list instead of a to-do list:

I sometimes use to-do lists, but on a daily basis, I try to focus more on priority management. On most days I tend to have a lot of relatively unimportant tasks to accomplish, and one or two that are priorities. But because I almost never have the energy to finish everything on my to-do lists, it’s incredibly important for me to know which tasks to focus on first. As long as I can address one priority, I can feel like I’ve accomplished something important for the day.

Also, instead of keeping a to-do list, it’s often far more rewarding to keep an I-did-it list. I find a list of my accomplishments to be a greater motivator then an unfinished to-do list. The latter causes anxiety while the former inspires hope and momentum.

Find your most productive time of day:

You may not realize it, but everyone has a time of day when they are the most productive. For me, it’s after I finish my morning routine, roughly an hour after I wake up. If I have something important to do, I make sure to work on it during this time. On my most challenging days, when my brain fog and fatigue are at their worst, I can often at least get something simple done during this time. My energy has no guarantees, but I am able to get the most important things done by leveraging my most productive time of day. Take time to experiment and find out which time of the day you have the most energy and are most productive.

Get rid of distractions:

This may seem like a simple suggestion, but in reality it’s quite hard to put into practice. With the rise of social media, mobile devices, and web based entertainment, we face more distractions than ever before. For someone with a chronic illness, these distractions can rob us of the little bit of productivity we have left.

When you need to be productive, it takes time and energy to get into the mental space needed to complete a task. Every time you get distracted, you have to start over and re-engage with whatever you’re working on. It’s not always obvious though, and until I started writing, I didn’t realize how much time I was wasting.

For example, while writing this article, I’ve received five emails, two text messages, three phone calls, and four Facebook notifications. And every single one has disrupted my mental flow. Each time, it takes me a while to get back into the zone and sometimes, I never do.

Like many of you, I am addicted to my phone. But when I need to be productive I try to force myself to turn it off. I close my web browser and listen to ambient music to drown out any distracting background noise. It makes a huge difference.

I also try to keep an organized workspace. It may not be as problematic as a smart phone, but a cluttered working environment can be a distraction and a source of stress. I find that when I keep my office clean and organized, I am able to focus better and be more productive.

Stop working and go for a walk:

Sometimes the best way to be productive is to stop working and go for a walk. I get easily overwhelmed when I have a lot of work to do and I’m feeling brain fogged and fatigued. Sometimes I try to just push through it, but that usually makes me feel worse.

When the frustration starts to build, I always go for a walk. There’s something about walking that just seems to stimulate the mind. I find it boosts my creativity, and works incredibly well to reduce brain fog.

Walking is also all that’s needed for your brain to start releasing endorphins, your body’s “feel good” neurochemicals. Ever hear someone refer to a “runner’s high”? They’re talking about endorphins. The release of endorphins causes your stress levels to go down and your feeling of satisfaction to go up. If you are feeling brain fogged, the endorphins released during a nice long walk will help you feel better.

Conclusion:

All of these strategies have helped me cope with brain fog and improve my productivity, but I still have not been able to eliminate brain fog from my life, try as I might. I am, however, often able to mitigate it in the moment, and if I can be productive, get my work done, and meet my responsibilities when it matters most, then the end result is ultimately the same.

You can learn to cope with your brain fog, too. No matter what chronic illness or condition you face, you can learn take back your daily life, one minute of focus at a time.

Written by Mind over  Menieres.

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