Feeling as though you’re walking through a thick haze? Thoughts are racing and it’s a challenge to follow simple conversations? This is how brain fog feels and although it can happen to anyone for a number of reasons, it’s incredibly common in the early stages of alcohol and drug recovery.
Different circumstances can bring on a case of cloudy thinking known as brain fog. Stress, poor sleep, and depression and anxiety can cause forgetfulness, low energy, trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, and a host of other unpleasant symptoms that can impair day to day routine.
While healing from drug and/or alcohol misuse or addiction, many experience episodes of brain fog. This stems from withdrawal of the substance and the brain’s readjustment without the substance.
Although the lack of motivation and slow thinking can feel disruptive, brain fog is generally temporary as the brain builds new connections. This neuroplasticity of the brain may reverse damage and cloudy thinking brought on by substance abuse.
In addition to drug and alcohol abstinence, detoxification, and recovery support, people can pick up some new hobbies and skills and help restore cognitive functioning while in recovery.
6 Brain Building Activities During Recovery
While you can find a vast number of brain training apps, many experts agree there is little evidence these types of games help build cognitive functioning. What they find, though, is new experiences requiring mental effort and learning can help produce change. The following are some ways you can help build new connections and give your brain a workout during recovery.
Nourish the Body
When drugs and alcohol play a large role in life, people often overlook eating right. Entering rehab malnourished is very common and can intensify fuzzy thinking. While recovery is not the same as marathon training, feeding the body nutritious foods can help you feel physically and mentally stronger.
Learn a Foreign Language
Learning a new language is a great brain trainer, and you can find many language apps that can help strengthen your brain. Multiples studies show the benefits of learning a new language such as increased attention span and memory.
Dust Off the Board Games
Playing board games and piecing puzzles aren’t just for kids or your grandparents. Readily accessible and inexpensive, board games and puzzles can help build new connections in the brain and lessen the effects of brain fog. For best results, choose games that work both sides of the brain. Logic games, such as Sudoku and puzzles engage the left side of the brain while visual and creative games stimulate the right side of the brain.
As mentioned, creative activities can help enhance right brain thinking. You can get your creative juices flowing by learning to play a musical instrument, listening to music, dancing, creative writing, and even doodling. When short on time, try writing your name in different ways… print, cursive, upside down, backwards, and with your non-dominant hand.
Move Your Body
Move your body and the rest will follow. An exercise routine is not only great for physical health but can help with brain fog and lift mood. To stimulate those new connections in the brain, try out something new like a recreational sport or choose an activity that engages both sides of the body, such as swimming.
Get Plenty of Zzz’s
Not getting enough sleep is linked to higher stress levels, mood swings, impulsivity, and trouble concentrating. As your body heals during addiction recovery, good sleep is necessary. If struggling to get your zzz’s, try tuning out of all electronic devices, dim the lights, take a warm bath, and create a set time for sleeping and waking.
Addiction Recovery and Fuzzy Thinking
If in the early stages of your recovery journey and bothered by slowed, fuzzy thinking, you’re not alone. Brain fog is a common complaint and generally a temporary frustration. In time, and with continued abstinence, many see improvements in their memory and concentration.
Pura Vida Addiction Recovery Services
At Pura Vida, we understand the challenges of addiction and help men and women rediscover a life of joy without drugs and alcohol. If you need support, reach out for a confidential assessment.