Let’s face it, it is a weird time in life, and focusing on our work is difficult right now.
In fact, since February, there has been a 300 per cent increase in people searching for “how to get your brain to focus” on Google.
The main reason for this is our prefrontal cortex, which is primarily responsible for our ability to focus, shuts down, and lets our more primal, cavemen brain functions take centre stage when we are in immediate physical danger.
With the coronavirus pandemic, however, we aren’t exactly in immediate danger (hopefully) but we still feel threatened and that we have lost control. Our prefrontal cortex is reacting to that and hindering our focus capabilities, so we are dealing with that on top of all the stress of this situation. And it may stay like this for the foreseeable future.
Melissa Wood-Tepperberg, founder of Melissa Wood Health, a digital wellness lifestyle platform that concentrates on meditation, yoga, pilates and healthy eating, shares some of her best tips for getting more focused.
1. It’s OK to be all about you
Wood said pay attention to your relationship with yourself and how you speak about yourself.
“Really try to be kind and gentle on yourself, without too much critique, and be really mindful about what you’re putting your energy into throughout the day. Get clear with what makes you feel good and what doesn’t.
“Prioritising all the things that make you feel good each day makes a massive impact on your overall wellbeing. It can be as simple as dry brushing in the morning, showing up for your practice every day (even if it’s just 10 minutes some days), choosing to read a book or listening to a podcast that inspires you over watching TV that may leave you feeling empty after, etc.”
2. Move your body
“Any movement you love that intuitively feels good in your body will instantly raise your vibration. Carving out even 10-20 minutes each day, wherever it may fit in, will help centre you and help you de-stress,” she said.
Her workouts are easy to do from home (and many only take 10 minutes) which is why she has seen a significant increase in users on her platform since March.
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“It (meditation) really helps ground you in feeling more centred around where you want to put your time and energy. It creates more space for the day to move through you, with less of a force or push in terms of ‘making everything happen.’”
4. Eat more greens
Focus on adding in more greens to every meal, and eating light to heavy meals, Wood suggests.
“This keeps me energised throughout the day. I start with my Spirulina Smoothie followed by a big salad loaded with veggies and a slice of avocado toast. Then later I’ll eat a heavier dinner,” she said.
“Also, don’t be so hard on yourself if you have a day that wasn’t your best. The relationship in which you talk about food and how you connect to it is most important. I would avoid saying ‘I had a bad day of eating’ because it’s only going to make you feel worse. Every day is a new day to begin again and prioritise all the things that make you feel your best.”
5. Over communicate
“Communicate, communicate, communicate! Communicating with the ones you love goes so incredibly far in making sure that anything that’s bothering you doesn’t build up inside, as that will only increase unnecessary tension and anxiety,” Wood said.
6. Be flexible
“I’m all about flexibility. I think when your day is too scheduled and doesn’t go according to plan it makes you naturally more anxious,” Wood said.
“I have a baseline of things that I prioritise each day, but I don’t put too much pressure on myself in terms of when they get done… Taking the pressure off checking off a list gives me so much freedom and space to just be.”
This article was written by Meredith Lepore and originally published on The Ladders.