Grab a martini, let's demystify menopause.
Today’s Topic: Where Did I Park the Damn Car?
Brain Fog: It’s All in Your Head
Maybe it starts for you with something harmless: Where are my keys? Where did I park the damn car?! These things happen to everyone, no big deal. But there comes a day when you realize it wasn’t just today with the car that commandeered your brain; you’ve somehow spent most of your week feeling as if you’re living whole parts of your life behind a foggy screen.
For instance, this: I’m lunching with colleagues, talking about recent goings-on in the Oregon legislature. This is pertinent because two of us at the table had recently testified before committees in favor of a bill up for debate. (Sounds cool, right?)
“What was your bill about, Kelli?” Crickets. I blankly stare at her, as I silently try and will my brain to come up with an answer.
“I have no f-ing idea,” I say.
A deep breath and some minutes go by and slowly I begin to feel more in control. I take a drink of water and begin to remember the story of the bill I had studied, written testimony on, and had effectively given that testimony in front of a House committee. On the scale of embarrassing, my brain fog moment that day was only at a 2 or 3, mostly because I was with women who loved me and I trusted them. But not every brain fog situation is like that.
Brain Fog - Brain Fog, Everywhere. I decided to ask some of the ‘menopause-survivor’ friends in my life if they had any stories of brain fog they could share. It turns out that I’m not alone.
Does this look familiar?
For instance, there’s my friend, Elsa, who shares an experience at work when she discovered a cash reconciliation sheet which was clearly the work of a complete idiot, only to realize that SHE was the idiot – she had been handling all the payments that day.
Or my friend, Mary’s story about a two-month long ‘reader’s block’ where she found herself incapable of concentrating enough to read a book. Tragic. No more book club for her.
Time for some learning. Now if you know me, you know my nature is to explore the science and the WHY of it all. So, as I found myself experiencing these symptoms, I was inspired to begin my exploration on brain fog and its connection to perimenopause. What I discovered is this: there really is something chemical going on in your body. Even though it feels like aliens have snatched part of your brain away, they haven’t.
You are not going crazy, girlfriend. You’re just getting older. (Now, don’t you feel better?)
THE SCIENCE OF WHY: 5 FACTORS THAT WILL REDUCE YOUR BRAIN FOG
According to gobs and tons (See? I even talk like a scientist) of scientific studies, the “Brain Fog’ phenomenon, is typically the FIRST symptom of perimenopause that a woman experiences. Let’s focus on five of the top factors and what you can do to live a better life.
Notice the ‘take action’ moments. I promise you, friends, if you take these actions, you will see results.
Factor #1: Get Your Dope On!
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, one of those chemicals that is responsible for transmitting signals in between the nerve cells (neurons) of the brain. Without getting into the complete encyclopedia of neuroscience (you’re welcome), when a woman reaches the perimenopause time in her life, her dopamine levels can plummet which can cause a lapse in concentration. To figure out how to get those dopamine levels higher, I recommend that you start by asking yourself this question: What makes you feel good? Then take out a sheet of paper and list out each of your five senses: Taste, Touch, Smell, Sound, and Sight. Think about what makes each of those senses happy.
Here’s a sample of my list to show you what I mean:
KELLI’S 5-SENSES HAPPINESS LIST
Taste: A delicious bowl of fresh pasta with browned butter, plenty of sea salt and freshly grated parm, a sprig of mint in my ice water.
Touch: Silk fabrics, clean cotton sheets, holding my husband’s hand
Smell: Roasting chicken, fresh lavender, the eucalyptus lotion I keep on my bedside table
Sound: My adult daughter’s sweet voice on phone conversations, Mozart’s C minor Piano Fantasy, Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic, the delightful banter and laughter of our tribe of Salem women at an M&M soirée.
Sight: The artwork I have hung on the walls in my home, the window I look out in my office that shows me a beautiful landscape and the gorgeous unfolding of each one of Oregon’s seasons, this picture of my family:
This picture raises all kinds of dopamine for me.
TAKE ACTION→ Make a 5-Senses Happiness List of your own.
What smells good to you? What feels good on your skin? Is there a place in your home or at your office that makes you calm or happy when you see it or walk by it? What sounds make you happy?
Once you make your list hang it where you can see it every day. These reminders – especially when our brains get foggy - are our gentle friends!
Factor #2: Exercise.
Once again, exercise is part of the solution. I recommend 30 minutes, three times a week.
TAKE ACTION→ Do your 30 times three! Keep moving your bodies, ladies!
SIDENOTE: It should be said, because we are all so wonderfully different, to learn more about whether estrogen levels should be a concern for you and before you get started on any sort of dramatic change in the way you move your body, consult your doctor.
Factor #3: Sex.
Yep, consensual sex is good for your brain. (have you read my Valentines Day post on “doing-it” while menopausing? Now might be a good time to check that out → READ MORE HERE)
TAKE ACTION→ Have lots of sex. Read Kelli’s Valentine’s Day blog, then DO. IT.
Factor #4: Social Networking.
Before you run away screaming that you hate networking - hear me out. Social connectivity with other humans is soooo good for your brain. When you meet a new person, your brain begins to work on processing what they look like and what their name is. And of course, when you hang out with your homies who love you, there is no doubt you feel better. All of this is good stuff for brain health and the EXACT inspiration to get you to come to a Martinis & Menopause soirée!
ACTION ITEM→ Get yourself out there! Attend a Martinis & Menopause Soirée!
Factor #5: You Are What You Eat.
There are foods that really make a difference to brain health and are important during this transitional time. Here’s a partial list that you can always find in my kitchen:
green leafy vegetables
Foods high in natural probiotics such as yogurt, kefir, and raw sauerkraut can also increase natural dopamine production
Speaking of pro-biotics, this is my latest go-to for a delicious probiotic drink: Kevita!
I LOVE Kevita. It’s an easy way to provide my body with a probiotic and it’s tasty too! (Here’s a LINK for where you can find some in the Salem, OR area.)
TAKE ACTION→ Take inventory of what’s in those cupboards. It might be time to go grocery shopping.
It’s powerful to know that the things that bring you pleasure are good for your brain, too.
Happy = Brain food!
June Martinis & Menopause Soirée: If you’re in the Salem area on Tuesday, June 27th, please come to our June Soirée at Taproot Restaurant and Lounge and get started on boosting those levels by building community, laughing, making new friends, and eating healthy food.
For more information on just how cool Taproot is, check out this recent article from Brooke Jackson-Glidden wrote in the Statesmen! If you haven’t been there yet, make this the reason to come!
TAKE ACTION: Get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to do ONE new thing this month.
Kelli pictured here with Topher Holland, owner of Taproot,
and Liz Bacon, a member of the KJVI! Marketing Team.)
ONE FINAL TAKE ACTION MOMENT → We want to see your results too!
Will you share your progress with us? Post pictures on our Facebook Page!
Comment below! Let’s share your evolution with the world!
Tune in and listen to Kelli on the radio!
This past month, Kelli was interviewed by Dr. Gayle Carson for her radio show, The Spunky Old Broad (SOB) Radio Network. She talks with Gayle about what Martinis & Menopause Soirées are, how to be a strong business woman in the real world, and how to help women over fifty harness their power.
COMING UP NEXT:
I’ve Got the Menopause (Red, White, &) Blues
Let’s talk about depression.
I’m Kelli. I am a menopause survivor, who has catapulted, stumbled, laughed, and cried my way to the other side of perimenopause and menopause. Along the way I’ve learned invaluable tips and resources to live my best self and beat the Hormone Groan!
No longer a hormone hostage (at least most days), my goal is to help you live well and with personal power through all the changes we go through in this incredible journey of life!