Your life is hectic. Your job and home to-do's have you hustling, not to mention the school and extracurriculars that keep your family busy. This time of year is notorious for packed schedules where you're challenged to juggle many demands - and at times it might seem you don't have the mental focus to get it all done.
"When we're so busy, brain fog and mental fatigue is a real issue," explained Karen Todd, registered dietitian and vice president at health and research company Kyowa Hakko. "Fortunately, there are some simple things everyone can do to stay sharp even during hectic times."
Todd shared five tips with me that people of any age can try to support brain health.
1. Catch plenty of Zs
When you don't get enough sleep, your mind becomes fuzzy. It can be hard to get things done and cause you to forget or make mistakes. Keep in mind, adults need at least 7 hours of sleep per night, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You may find you need even more to feel your best.
And remember, if you have kids, inadequate sleep affects them also. Being tired can impact kids' ability to focus and learn at school as well as their attitude and temperament. For example, did you know that children ages 6 to 12 need between 9 and 12 hours of sleep a day? Adjust bedtimes and sleep routines so everyone gets the sleep they need.
2. Food for thought
Food is fuel for the body and mind, and certain foods help support short- and long-term brain health. Fatty fish is one example. Salmon and tuna are packed with omega-3 fatty acids that offer many benefits, including boosting brain power.
Plants can be powerful brain food, too. According to Mayo Clinic Health Systems, to boost cognitive function and maximize memory, strive to eliminate unhealthy fats while incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet. Some examples are berries, which are rich in antioxidants, watermelon, which is packed with lycopene, and dark, leafy greens, which are loaded with nutrients, including vitamin C.
3. Brain support and supplements
Eating smart is the most important step towards supporting brain health, but to further support your brain health, consider adding a supplement containing Cognizin Citicoline. This is an innovative form of Citicoline, a brain health nutrient that has been clinically researched for its effective role in cognitive function.
Cognizin Citicoline has been studied by teams that also work with Harvard Medical School, the University of Utah and other research institutions over the past decade. This work has created a pool of data supporting its effects, including supporting focus, attention, memory and cognitive health. Appropriate for adults and children over 12, you can find this brain-health ingredient in different supplements by searching Cognizin.com.
4. Find your Zen
When you're busy, you get stressed, and too much stress impacts brain wellness and overall attitude. Try meditation, yoga, walking, listening to music or another method to relax and re-center. This helps improve concentration and mental well-being. Explore techniques to find what works best for you, and make time for them daily to clear your head - even just five minutes makes a difference.
Set an alarm or add a calendar reminder so you don't forget or forgo this important exercise. While de-stressing, take a moment to focus on your attitude. Try thinking of the positive rather than the negative, and practice gratitude. This makes a big difference in breaking negative thought patterns and helping the brain rationalize appropriately during stressful times.
5. Move and groove
Regular exercise isn't just for your physical health; it can help your brain function better as well. When exercising you breathe deeply, sending more oxygen to your brain. Exercise is also good for reducing stress and, as long as it's not done too close to bedtime, can help you sleep better. Make time daily to move in a way you enjoy and watch your brain health soar.
"No matter your age, brain health is essential to well-being. These simple steps can help give you the brain power to stay focused and attentive as you face the challenges of this busy season," said Todd.