Finding Focus

by | Apr 1, 2024

FINDING FOCUS

In our modern world, stress and fatigue have become so commonplace that, for many, both have become almost habitual. The pattern is all too familiar. We load our life plates up with jobs, life goals, family obligations, and top it off with the day-to-day tasks that come with being a responsible adult, and we end up with very little time to decompress. 

Despite the fact that there are many who choose to wear busy-ness as a badge of honor, the fact is that our minds just aren’t built to take all the chaos our lives pile on day after day. One of the side effects of ongoing stress and fatigue is that they wear down our mental wellbeing, leaving us feeling depleted and exhausted. 

Here are a few tips to help you stay sharp, focused and rejuvenated.

Get enough sleep.

Intentionally depriving your body of sleep and getting up incredibly early is not a life hack, or a productivity hack, or any other kind of hack. Over time, sleeping less than the recommended 7-9 hours nightly is eroding your mental focus and clarity and can impact your short term and long term memory. But because everyone is different and your mileage may vary, it’s important to pay attention to your body. If you’ve been burning the candle at both ends for a while, it might be time to disconnect the devices for a night or two. 

Take breaks. 

No matter what our culture says, our minds weren’t designed to “power through” an entire day. Multi-tasking is not the most productive way to get work done. Focus is at its best when we focus on one task at a time and take regularly scheduled breaks during the day. Try the 60 minute sprint technique. Turn off your notifications, clear your computer screen of distractions, and work on ONE project for an hour. At the end of that hour, take a 20 minute break – go on a brisk walk, grab some water, do some stretching or breathing exercises. These activities will help take your mind off the task at hand and let you re-focus.

Drink plenty of water. 

You have heard me say this before. Stay hydrated! Water can actually make you smarter. That’s because brain cells depend on water to function. Chronic dehydration results in a less efficient brain. When you hydrate regularly, it impacts focus, short-term memory, long-term memory, and your problem solving ability. The key to hydrating throughout the day is to make regular water intake as convenient as possible. Before you begin your work day, fill a glass or water bottle and place it on your desk. Or consider putting your car keys next to your water bottle, so you’ll remember to take it with you. For an added boost, add some Axio!

Break a sweat.

Exercising isn’t just good for your heart and muscles, it has an incredibly powerful effect on your brain. That’s because during a workout we deliver more oxygen while releasing tension and stress. In fact, some studies show that mental focus and IQ performance improve for a full two hours after a workout. If you can, try exercising in the morning, so you can carry those benefits throughout your day. 

Train your brain.

Feel like you have trouble focusing? Welcome to the club. You’re one of approximately  seven billion people who feels the same way. The idea here is to challenge your brain. Pick an activity – whether it’s reading a book, playing a strategy game, or writing. Then challenge yourself to stick with that activity for progressively longer periods of time, as if you were training for a marathon. Even if you’re only adding five additional minutes or writing one additional paragraph, you’ll eventually begin to see gradual improvements in your mental stamina. And the added bonus, you’ll feel increasingly proud of yourself. 

Eat some brain food. 

“You are what you eat” goes for both body and mind. Eating high-energy foods that burn slowly can help give your brain the nourishment it needs to process throughout the day. Consider adding foods like oatmeal, trail mix, and fruit. Consider whole foods like vegetables as premium high-octane brain fuel for your brain. On the other hand, refined sugars and simple carbs can do more harm than good. Plus, they can come with a crash, which derails any task. 

Make time to unwind. 

Often our days resemble sprints. We go, go go with a set of tasks that we absolutely need to accomplish. Then we burn out, get frustrated, leaving tasks to add to tomorrow’s list, meaning we have to sprint even harder to keep up. One of the best things you can do to improve your mental wellbeing is to do nothing. Stop and give your brain the chance to relax. Meditate, take a bath, do a craft, or shoot some hoops. Sit at a coffee shop without your computer. Have a conversation with a friend. Maybe even take a nap. When it comes to mental health, sometimes less is more.  

In many cultures and spiritual practices there is no division between the mind and body, and this is so vitally important in understanding and caring for our mental wellbeing. Alaka’i Associates is here to help guide you on a new path towards health and wellness. Contact us today to schedule a free 30 minute one-on-one assessment.

 

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Stress and Your Brain

“We’ve all experienced it before. You’re in a meeting giving a presentation, writing a paper for school, or talking to a friend when suddenly you just can’t seem to find the word you’re looking for. Or, you’re reading a book and suddenly realize that you have been looking at the same page for the last ten minutes but can’t remember anything that you read.

Experiences like these happen to the best of us, always at the most inopportune times and often happening more frequently than we would like. So what’s the cause?”

Take a look at this article to learn more about how stress impacts your brain function and tips for better focus.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

 

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As Life Unfolds…

“In Under a Full Moon and a Guiding Star, Lani Almanza has written a book to return to again and again as life unfolds its challenges. I worked as a colleague of Lani’s for over ten years and witnessed some of the transitions and growth of her life journey that she shares with readers in this memoir and guidebook. Rather than telling her story in strict chronological order, she presents it episodically and coherently through her influences and insights. She engages her readers with relevant questions and concepts to apply in our own lives. She challenges us through her example to deal with grief and doubt in a spirit of learning and, ultimately, with a grateful heart. Like a traveling companion with a good map, Lani navigates the terrain she invites us to explore with her. She extends her caregiving experiences to each of us. Her zest for learning and sharing creates a book that will become a favorite reference for me to return to over the years to come. In this lovely offering, I am both reminded and uplifted.”  ~ Erin M., poet, colleague and friend

A great gift for someone you care about.

https://alakaiassociates.com/book/

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