Do you have days when you feel your brain turning to mush, your thoughts going slow, and the ideas’ well going increasingly dry? Everyone experiences, from time to time, a bad day, a day where they can’t focus. There could be a variety of factors that affect you at any moment, from being distracted by worries to not enjoying the tasks you’re dealing with. However, if your struggle to focus becomes a regular occurrence, it might be worthy to investigate your lifestyle choices.
Indeed, bad habits – and especially habits that you develop without knowing or realizing that they could have negative consequences – have a deep effect on both your mind and body. Therefore, the next time you find your thoughts escaping and your concentration running away from you, you can investigate your lifestyle and ask yourself if you’ve got issues with any of these elements:
#1. You woke up tired
Everybody knows the agony of going through a day packed with work and activities after a short night. Even after several cups of coffee, you’ll find your cognitive abilities slow down throughout the day. Bad sleep doesn’t exactly make you dumb, but it makes it harder for your brain to make connections; hence you’ve got the impression your thinking patterns are clogged up.
Not feeling refreshed when you wake up is, ultimately, a sign that your sleeping routine is in dire need of improvements. Reducing screen time before bed can help your brain to disconnect and shut down for sleep. Similarly, poor bedding can also affect the quality of your sleep. A hard pillow, for instance, can disturb your sleep cycle.
On the subject of bedding, here’s a great article that helps you to choose the best option from feather pillows or down pillows based on your needs. A duvet that is too warm or not warm enough can also make it hard to enjoy a refreshing night. You want to create a bedroom decor and comfort that helps you not only to fall asleep but also to maintain a healthy sleep cycle throughout the night.
#2. You are in pain
Desk jobs are renowned for causing back and neck pains as a result of a bad posture. The dull throb you feel at the back of your head is the result of a screen that is too low compared to sitting position, forcing you to keep your head inclined as you work.
Back pains, from sitting all day, can take your mind off your tasks too. Experts recommend regular exercise to reduce office-related pains. However, exercising can add more strain to your day-to-day life, especially as it forces you to use muscles that are inactive for the rest of the day.
Consequently, if you’re trying to reduce office pains with a gym membership, you need to know how to numb the post-workout soreness. A massage and a healthy stretching routine can help your muscles release toxins and reduce tightness on the next day, for instance.
#3. You feel bloated
Bloating is a common issue which is experienced by up to 30% of the population. In other words, you’re not an isolated case. However, when your belly feels swollen, sitting for a long time in your office outfit may become uncomfortable. You become self-aware of your discomfort and, ultimately, it distracts you from your tasks.
Bloating is not a serious medical condition. It is caused by the food you eat, which means that there is a simple solution; namely, changing your diet. Beans are always part of a healthy diet plan, so it might come as a surprise to discover that they are responsible for bloating and other digestive discomforts if you have irritable bowel symptom. If this is the case, you can try replacing them with quinoa.
Wheat is another controversial ingredient of bread, pizza, pasta, etc. You don’t need to have celiac disease to experience digestive problems. The carbs contained in wheat are fermented by gut bacteria which produces gas. Reducing quantities or trying alternatives can eliminate the issue.
#4. You need a desk plant
Indoor pollution is a phenomenon that is too often ignored. Indeed, outdoor air quality can be visibly perceived. From car fumes to industrial smokes, the naked eye can measure pollution. On the other hand, indoor air appears clean to the naked eye. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that your office air is pure. Invisible toxins that emanate from the wall paint, the furniture, the cleaning products, and even the A/C unit can infiltrate the office.
If you find yourself getting moody throughout the day or even struggling with long periods of lethargy, you might be affected by the effects of indoor pollution. Headaches, loss of concentration and irritability are some of the most common consequences. Renewing the air regularly can get rid of harmful particles. Additionally, houseplants can actively remove toxins in the air too.
#5. Your clothes steal all the attention
Your clothes are not only designed to protect your body from external, environmental factors. They are also an essential element of your self-confidence. Wearing the right clothes for your personality and body type makes you feel empowered and happy. Wearing the wrong clothes, however, can affect both your mood and your health.
Tight bras, for instance, can lead to back pain, sore shoulders and headaches, which act as distractions when you’re trying to focus. Wearing high heels that are not properly fitted or too high can be dramatic for your feet, knees, hips, and spine, leading to constant pain – and nobody can be productive with painful shoes.
Finally, a favorite for fashionistas is the skinny jeans. However, a study has demonstrated that tight-fitted pants could lead to numbness in the thigh and the lower back as well as burning pain. A word of advice here: Don’t wear your jeans too tight!
#6. Your sweet tooth is your worst enemy
You just need a little pick-me-up to get on with the rest of your day. Most people refer to it as the afternoon slump. However, your habit of dashing to the vending machine can prove counterproductive. Indeed, while it might be tempting to grab a chocolate bar, you should refrain from this destructive habit.
Food that is high in sugar, fat, and calories is digested quickly by the body. Consequently, you have a feeling that you receive an immediate boost of energy. However, the sugar high only leads to a sugar crash once the metabolism has burned the energy. The sugar high and low cycles affect your concentration and make you feel more tired than you were before you took that chocolate bar!
#7. You need new glasses
If you suffer from regular headaches when reading on screen, you might experience eye strain. Indeed, when your eyes have difficulties focusing, a prolonged activity can be straining and lead to headaches. Nearsightedness, astigmatism or even farsightedness are the most common causes of eye strain, meaning that you need to get your eyesight checked.
Admittedly, it’s fair to say that not all headaches are related to your vision. But you can test the theory easily. If you have an incorrect prescription, you should struggle with blurry vision when items are too close or too far from you.
#8. You’re already too stressed out
When you need to think of a million things at the same time, it can be difficult to maintain your attention and productivity across a long period. Chronic stress is the result of the accumulation of pressure over time – which can be frequent if you work in a hectic environment. While the body is a wonderful machine that can adapt to a variety of circumstances, it doesn’t perform well under long-term pressure.
You need to plan for regular relaxing activities to maintain your cognitive and physical functions. Failure to do so can lead to memory loss, short attention span and the increasing difficulty to make intellectual connections, meaning that the more stressed out you are, the slower you think.
#9. You’ve got SAD
Seasonal Affective Disorder affects every year hundreds of thousands as the season changes. While SAD is more common during winter time, you can also experience it in summer. In winter, the condition is more frequently seen in people who live in higher latitudes, such as Alaska or even Seattle for instance, as this depressive state is linked to a decrease of sunlight exposure. SAD can influence your mood, your hormones, your sleep patterns and can gradually lead to lethargic behaviors, loss of concentration and weight gain.
#10. You have a vitamin deficiency
Everybody knows that winter is the best time to stay on top of your vitamin C intake. Indeed, responsible for maintaining your immune system, vitamin C keeps you healthy during the cold months. But what you may not realize is that your brain also needs vitamins to function. Magnesium, e.g., is indispensable to assimilate vitamin B, which improves your long-term memory. Vitamin E also maximizes your memory and helps to maintain mental focus.
From your diet to your bedroom decor, simple choices you make in your lifestyle can have long-term consequences on your cognitive abilities. When you find yourself unable to concentrate on a task, don’t be too quick to blame it on laziness! It might be your body telling you there’s something wrong with your habits!