Dispelling Brain Fog
February 14, 2011 2:03 PM   Subscribe

How do you quickly dispel post-illness brain fog?

After a very unpleasant weekend of illness, I am feeling much better but still suffering from "brain fog" and general weakness. I'd love to be at home in bed, but I can't miss the three-hour lab class I have later today. Unfortunately, I feel like I'm walking and thinking through a cloud of pea soup.

Is there any way to quickly get rid of this feeling, even temporarily? I have to make precise measurements, do calculations, and generally be pretty sharp, and right now I can hardly write this question.

Note: I am not contagious, and I wouldn't be out in public if I were. Going home is not an option.
posted by charmcityblues to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My drug of choice is a brisk walk (or jog) and a shot of espresso. ;) (And lots of water)

Exercise is probably a safe bet if you can get away with it, something light to get back into the swing of things. Then quickly go over notes from the last time you were in lab, so that you can get back on the right foot mentally.

I'd avoid cold medicine, it makes me twice as stupid.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:06 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Exercise. Metabolize your blood a few times.
posted by rhizome at 2:09 PM on February 14, 2011

Exercise, hydration. Lethargy is an indication that you still have an infection, though, so I don't know that you want to dismiss it just because you have a class.
posted by dfriedman at 2:11 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Gentle exercise, hydration and caffeine.
posted by infinitywaltz at 2:14 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sorry I wasn't more clear in the original question (for reason, see: topic of question) but exercise isn't really an option, I'm so woozy I can barely shuffle along.

It was a nasty, nasty stomach bug so dehydration is a likely culprit, I will try to hydrate even more in the next few hours. Thanks for the advice so far!
posted by charmcityblues at 2:14 PM on February 14, 2011

If you can't exercise, get a good sweat on via other means. I recommend a sauna/steam room paired with a huge bottle of water.
posted by dobie at 2:25 PM on February 14, 2011

Sit down outside and do some slow, deep breathing in the fresh air for 5-10 minutes.
Give yourself a scalp massage.
I once saw a Mythbusters show where they tested various hangover remedies. IIRC, vigorously slapping cold water on your face actually helped a bit.
I'd go for a double espresso, and some good chocolate.
posted by Corvid at 2:28 PM on February 14, 2011

If it was a stomach problem, skip the caffeine. Hydrate with ginger ale or 7-Up or something.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:19 PM on February 14, 2011

Fwiw, getting hydrated properly will take a few days. Have a big cup of coffee, take a cold/hot/cold shower and go for a quick 2-3 minute walk before lab.
posted by irishcoffee at 3:30 PM on February 14, 2011

OK, I'll be the mom in the thread and tell you: stop pushing. You're not better yet and your body is telling you that. Continue to take it easy or you may relapse! Pumping caffiene, chocolate, exercise, oy! OY! Hope you feel better ... but not too fast.
posted by thinkpiece at 3:32 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ah yeah, that Mythbusters thing is the mammalian diving reflex
posted by rhizome at 3:40 PM on February 14, 2011

For the benefit of future brain-fog sufferers:

I am feeling so, so much better now.

Before lab, I reviewed my notes an extra time (something I always do, but had completely blanked on). I then splashed some cold water on my face, and went outside (even though it was so cold today, brr) and walked around for a few minutes, enough to get a touch of sun and some fresh air. I also got an extra bottle of water and drank it before class because I realized I couldn't drink anything while I was at the bench.

Success, I got through the day! Thank you, metafilter!

And to assuage thinkpiece: no espresso or chocolate will pass my lips for days, and vigorous exercise is on hold until at least Wednesday. I was smart enough to skip my Monday morning workout this time around :)
posted by charmcityblues at 8:26 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

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