“Earth to Mom… Come in, Moooom!”
Ever felt so distracted, your kids need an interplanetary connection to break through? Getting caught in “outer space” is a humbling, yet very natural part of family life. Especially when a chatty kindergartener is describing her snack-time social dynamics in extreme detail. “And then Austin said carrots are dirty cuz they’re just super icky roots, even though Sarah had a whole bag in her lunch and…” Even Einstein could get a little lost in that story.
But when your mind is distracted or disconnected as a pattern you may be in the throes of serious brain fog. There are many possible physiological reasons for brain fog, including: chronic illness or pain, depression, attention deficit, trauma, and even pregnancy. Those are discussions for your doctor, but what about those run-of-the-mill moms and dads (like me 🥴) who find it harder and harder to concentrate for no clear reason? The job of being a good parent is certainly tough, but is it fair to classify it as a cause for perpetual brain fog?
If I had a dollar for every time I got distracted, I sure wish I had some ice cream.
I’d love to say, “YOU BET!” But parents, this is where we have to do some serious “adulting” by taking a hard look at our ingrained daily habits. All too often, our inclination on tough days is to feed our desires for pleasure (binge-watching past our bedtime), escape (endless internet scrolling), and comfort (foregoing exercise).
“What’s so wrong with that?! My days are trying and looking at my phone helps me unwind!”
Well, it may get you through another day in the short term, but brain fog can cause lasting issues. Don’t be surprised if a.) you eventually find yourself wearing your underwear inside out and b.) you, your children, and your spouse are growing distant due to less connection.
…Good news is—there’s a solution that only requires small daily steps. When we make an effort to model the character strengths of order, self-control, and moderation, we can clear our heads of clutter while showing our kids how to be fully present to others.
Here are three habits you can ditch today which will go a long way to banishing brain fog and boosting connection.
3 SURE-FIRE WAYS TO BANISH BRAIN FOG & BOOST CONNECTION
DROP THE PHONE AND WALK AWAY SLOWLY!
Allowing our minds to wander from time to time is actually a very healthy thing. Need proof? Hear from the experts who say a little daydreaming helps all of us. The problem is that all too often we don’t allow our minds to let loose. (This is a big problem for kids too. Check out our free screen time checklist (subscribe for access) for your tweens & teens.) Sadly, we pacify our brains with mindless technology, scrolling news, and social media feeds. The result is that we are more agitated, cluttered, and distracted. I’m not suggesting you ditch your phone. (Step away from the cliff!) But what about stashing it in an out-of-the-way place when you’re home. Make an effort to answer questions from your own head, not from Uncle Google. This will require day-to-day self-control and moderation, but in no time, you will have created healthier habits of behavior.
BUH-BYE LATE NIGHT BINGE-WATCHING!
There’s nothing like the sweet silence after all the kids are tucked in bed. If you’re like the hubs and me, you’re tempted to hunker down for some TV. But with the accessibility to countless shows and episodes, you can easily go down a rabbit hole of escape. “Well, that was good. Let’s just watch 9 more!” Obviously, you and your husband deserve downtime, but if it’s adversely affecting your sleep, you’re losing out. Not only do the adults suffer in the morning, so do the kids who have very foggy parents. If you choose to order sleep as a priority, you can partake in a show or two, but you’ll know when to call it quits. Set limits and stick to them!
YOU’VE BEEN CANCELLED, COUCH POTATO!
Staring at the same four walls for long periods of time is no fun. Thanks to the pandemic, we’ve all had a good taste of that. That’s why it’s so important to get outside whenever possible and take a stroll. It’s ok if you’re not a sporto (you don’t have to jog 15 miles), but make an effort to get some fresh air daily. If you have little ones, take them along. It may be too cold to be out for an extended period of time, so plan to take a spin around the block when the day is warmest and bundle up. A brisk walk is great for circulation which can help sharpen your mind. Take in your surroundings and feel the fog lifting.
It’s human nature to seek out big sweeping changes (hello, crash diets!) in order to fix a nagging problem, but often those nagging problems can be significantly reduced or managed with small steps in the right direction. Making these three changes in your day to day routine will have a big impact—not just in rewiring your own grey matter, but especially in all the amazing character lessons you’ll be providing for your children. Self-control—check! Order—check! Moderation/Prudence—check, check! Wait, is that the brilliant sun I see breaking through all that dense fog?
If you want a great way to track your day-to-day progress, we’ve got an amazing tool that our very own Jordan Langdon (our staff clinical social worker) helped create. It’s the Families of Character Signature Goal-Setting Guide for 2021. We’ll walk you through making necessary small changes for BIG impact. Make the winter months ahead even brighter with this helpful FREE resource! Take that, Mr. Groundhog!