Brain fog is a common menopause complaint. Heck, it can be a big issue for lots of non-menopausers too! I naively thought I’d skipped that perimenopausal symptom, until I noticed I couldn’t quite grasp the words I wanted to say. Easy words like… glove, dinner, or bike. I could picture the item, knew I knew the freaking word, but could not make my synapses fire it off to my mouth. After a couple of weeks of this, it hit me! This is the brain fog so many tell me about! Let’s dive into brain fog, what it is and what you can do about it.
From my perspective, there are some serious brain chemistry changes going on during menopause. It’s not just about hormones. Brain fog can result from changes in brain chemistry, not quite having all the right chemicals you need – when you need them – firing off like they used too. It can also result from little bits of inflammation, where the synapses are just far enough apart to prevent the chemicals from easily making the jump from one to another. Whatever the cause, it can be so frustrating and downright nerve wracking. I thought, “Oh geez, is this the start of old age? Or worse dementia?” But, I luckily had the brain-clear moment to realize it’s just menopause brain fog, normal symptom, that will pass. Whew!
What can help? Before we get to the essential oils that helped me turn this around – totally can say glove, dinner, AND bike on cue when I need to now – let’s talk about some food and lifestyle stuff. If you’re eating foods you know deep down aren’t serving your highest purpose in life, then taking one of those out can do a world of good on the chemistry and inflammation front. My #1 go to on this to look at is sugar. Then possibly gluten and/or grains. But, you’ll most likely have your own suspect, if you connect in and are honest with yourself. Oh, alcohol might be worth thinking (or not thinking as the case may be) about.
Lifestyle stuff includes sleep, exercise, time for you, connecting into something beyond yourself. Are you getting enough sleep through all the hot flashes? That can be a hard one to scratch off the list. If that’s an issue I highly recommend trying Zanthoxylum, Spikenard and Vetiver essential oils at bedtime. That’s my current favorite cocktail. Peppermint can seriously cool the hot flashes down too. I don’t find it too stimulating to prevent sleep, but we’re all unique. Try another mint if need be, like Spearmint or Cornmint. Are you getting daily movement? It doesn’t have to be marathon training, and I recommend it isn’t during this time, as menopause takes a lot of energy. I find people greatly undervalue good old fashioned walking. Walking is an excellent exercise you can do, even if you feel tired and foggy headed, doesn’t take a lot of focus or energy, but is excellent for moving all the juices around in the body – a key to good brain function.
Are you taking time for you during this transition? This is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO DURING MENOPAUSE! Yes, caps warranted here! Menopause is all about connecting more deeply into yourself, who you really are, and the wise woman you are becoming and getting ready to share with the world. How can you possibly arrive on the other side if you don’t take time and go within? I swear this will make the most difference in any symptoms you are experiencing. Knowing you, what’s right for you, what’s not right for you, is a huge gift we’re being offered in this transition. So find your inner freak flag that is you and let it fly!
Lastly, let’s talk essential oils to the rescue, and to the rescue they are! One of the very coolest things about essential oils (truly pure and clean ones, of course) is that they will only bring you into your own unique hormonal balance. You don’t have to worry that they will raise or lower your hormones too much. They aren’t “additive” like drugs or even some herbs and supplements. They are adaptogenic, meaning they bring you into your own individual homeostatic balance. Yay for that! No fear needed! My favorites for balancing ALL menopausal hormones are: Geranium, Anise Raven, and the Sages like Clary or True (the latter is my personal preference). Play around with them, or others, and see what feels right and brings you relief.
Major brain balancer essences are Artemesia Vulgaris, Frankincense, the Basils like Holy or Sweet or True, and the Junipers. Once I noticed my brain fog, I jumped right on using Artemisia Vulgaris, Basil Holy, Juniper Utah, and Frankincense and I’ve been feeling much clearer, even with a little sugar and gluten binge on a road trip to Denver to see Rod Stewart and back! Road trips are can be my dark master! So, go ahead, don’t be perfect, but make some changes that support the big beautiful wise woman butterfly you are becoming!