Do you ever get a case of Foggy Brain? I do. Foggy Brain is when your thoughts feel cloudy and you’re not really sure what you’re thinking. You’re processing everything and nothing at once. It’s hard to focus and concentrate on something for more than a few seconds. It renders me very ineffective.
Generally I get Foggy Brain from too much computer time. It begins as innocent, harmless web surfing and ends hours later in the midst of internet purgatory. I don’t know where I am or how I got there. This is when it’s time to back away from the computer. Just… slowly… back… away.
When I get a case of Foggy Brain at work, it’s usually from staring at some spreadsheets or reports for waaaaay too long. Generally, I can kick it by standing up, stretching, taking a walk, and talking to a real live human. If I’m home, or if the Foggy Brain seems to last days instead of hours, I try to:
- Get into a good novel. Not something too silly or brainless (although I do like those from time to time). No, I’m talking about something really heady with outstanding writing that just grabs you and pulls you in. Something you can’t put down. When I’m into a really amazing novel, I read it over my lunch hour, before I go to bed, and at any other moment I have a spare chance. It definitely helps cure an internet overload. (See below for some of my favorites.)
- Force myself into physical activity. I’ll go on a really long walk with the dog or take a fifteen minute run and do some stretches. On the weekends, my husband and I might go for a hike or drive out to the Oregon coast and walk along the shore.
- Tackle a home project, such as deep cleaning the kitchen or organizing a closet. The sense of momentum and accomplishment help cure Foggy Brain fast.
- Call someone I haven’t talked to in a while. Since my family lives over 3,000 miles away, we have to try to get plenty of phone time in. Foggy Brain and internet overload are great reasons to get off my butt and call someone.
- Work on a creative project. My go-to used to always be painting, but now I draw and sew more. I haven’t painted for about a year now, but I’m beginning to feel the pull back to it. Especially when the brain clouds move in.
If you’re looking for a good novel to help kick out the brain clouds (or you just want to add to your reading list) here are some of my all-time favorite novels. They’ve not only kicked my most severe cases of Foggy Brain, but have also distracted me from anxiety during stressful times, banished depressive moods, and even kicked the mean reds to the curb. Cheers to the power of literature.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
You find out on page one that a murder was committed, so this is almost a mystery in reverse. The story follows a group of elusive liberal arts college students. The protagonist is Richard Papen, a transfer student drawn quickly into their inner circle. They seduce his emotions and fantasies with their privileged, intellectual life. He slowly discovers that he’s gotten himself into more than what he bargained for.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
We all kind of know the story, right? I thought I did too… until I read this novel. The details and intricacies of the narrator are so fascinating. Lolita is comprised of absolutely gorgeous writing and the most provocative character study I have ever read.
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
This novel slowly reveals itself, like a hike up a mountain gradually presents a beautiful landscape below. The tale is an intense study of an English butler who is coming to terms with his life and making sense of his professional choices. The end of this novel made me cry when I was reading it in a very public place! But it was a good kind of cry. (I actually got misty eyed just writing this summary.)
Emma by Jane Austen
Probably one of the funniest novels I’ve ever read. I absolutely relish the silly antics and dramas of the characters in this story. Did you know that the movie Clueless is a modern adaption of this classic tale?
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
This multi-part novel reminds me of a contemporary painting. In some ways, it’s difficult to pin down and the form the writing takes is quite unusual. It’s a provocative love story with all the fixings… jealousy, desire, and heart ache. Just lovely.
How about you? Do get Foggy Brain? How do you kick it? Any books to recommend?