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When the fog comes down: go out!


On my misty, drizzly walk to the beach this morning, I reflected on the stark difference from only 5 days ago. Bournemouth hit the news for its swarms of people, piled on top of each other, with the associated illegal parking and anti-social behaviour, not to mention the 33 tonnes of rubbish left behind (on ONE of the days).

Today the very same stretch of coast was bereft of humans, car parks were empty, no litter or views to be seen. Yet the sea, the sand, the fresh air are all still there. The views of beauty just hidden under the fog. Any people I did see scurried along, hunched over with scrunched up faces, avoiding the rain; we shelter from the fog and complain of the rain.

The similarities struck me, of the likeness between how we feel and treat ourselves, when “under the weather” or suffering from a little “brain fog”. We ignore what has been there all along, our skills, abilities, motivations and self-belief disappear under the “weather” pressures.

What if we could still see behind or above the fog on those days?

What if we could see a way through the drizzle and hold our heads high?

Going outside in such weather conditions is a physical reminder of what we have and honestly, there is not better way to feel alive than to be in nature and really FEEL it. An outdoor exercise instructor once said “your skin is waterproof” and it really stuck in my head. It use it to get me outside!

I started musing again, and wondering, how can we “lift the fog on the brain” and experience the current truths and realities when things do “grey over”, so here are a few quick tips I came up with:

  1. Try this super short meditation on “feeling alive”. I ALWAYS with a virtual trip to a Cumbrian Mountain, in a snowy blizzard, slicing into my face, you might find another lively space

  2. Brain fog often puts us into “fight or flight” when “rest & digest” is where clarity lies, so use breathing to send physiological messages to the body to calm, with this 7/11 technique

  3. Visualise sun beaming onto your face, soak it up, imagine it feels warm, and ask, what would be different now?

  4. Write down all the things that feel like fog. Examine them. Are they just drizzle? Or heavy rain? Let the drizzle float away, and collect the heavy rain in a bucket – plan a suitable time to deal with it, rather than drown in it now

  5. Literally take yourself outside. Go for a walk. Choose something to focus on e.g. what flowers can I see? Suddenly you see all the flowers, it’s amazing what appears with some focus. Switching tasks not only gives your brain a rest, but it helps practice focus, which can be used when you get back to your tasks. Subconsciously, your brain will be sifting an prioritising too, so things may feel lighter on your return.

I hope these are useful ideas to give the brain a rest from the fog!

What other tips work for you, that you could you add to the list for yourself?

Sheela Hobden is a Coach at bluegreen Coaching. Following her own mental health battles, she now coaches individuals, runs training sessions and speaks at conferences. She has a real passion for helping medics and healthcare professionals take as much care of themselves as they do their patients! She has a PGCERT in Business and Personal Coaching, holds ACC member status with the ICF and is CIPD qualified. She challenges herself with ultra distance running and Ironman. Find her at www.bluegreencoaching.com or swimming in the sea, in Poole, Dorset.

Parkstone, Dorset

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