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Easy tips for staying focused all day

By WHN Editors

If you’re feeling distracted and scattered lately, you are not alone! Recent surveys show that in 2020 and 2021, a sizable majority of women report struggling with poor concentration. Women in their 40s and 50s — aka women in perimenopause and menopause — may be most susceptible to feeling unfocused.

Ready to clear the fog? Here are some easy tips for regaining your focus.

how to stay focused

Check your hormones 

The cause of fuzzy thinking and poor concentration for women in perimenopause and menopause? It’s often hormones that have shifted out of balance. Loss of focus is tightly linked to hormonal changes; specifically, when estrogen levels fall into imbalance. Research shows that when women are post-menopausal, those with the highest levels of estrogen in their blood have better brain function. They remember more words and have better judgment, and they’re also less stressed by their tasks. Got a case of “menopause brain“? Restoring balance to hormones can be a first step towards rebuilding your ability to concentrate.

Banish morning brain fog by tapping

Whatever your age or stage of life, if you tend to feel sluggish and unfocused in the morning, even if you’ve had enough rest overnight, you may be experiencing lowered levels of the focus-enhancing neurotransmitter called acetylcholine (especially if you are under a lot of stress). How do you beat fuzzy thinking in the morning? Try fidgeting! According to researchers, small muscle motions, like tapping your fingers or wiggling your toes, can increase acetylcholine release by as much as 55%, boosting your ability to focus — especially early in the AM.

Keep your blood sugar steady with healthy snacks

Having a small healthy snack every few hours helps your blood sugar levels stay balanced and provides a steady supply of energy to keep you fueled and focused. Avoid sugary treats that lead to spikes and drops in blood glucose levels — the sugar roller coaster is what sabotages your concentration. For an easy snack, try carbohydrate-protein combinations like apple slices served with a serving of cheddar cheese or nut butter.

Stop multitasking 

You’re scrolling through your phone as you watch a movie…and halfway through, you realize you can’t even remember the plot or even recall what you just looked at on your phone. Sound familiar? When you multitask, your brain is unable to focus completely on any one thing (as it wants to do) and so as a result, it’s more difficult to concentrate and you remember less. To take back your ability to concentrate, stop multi-tasking and start uni-tasking! When you watch a movie, be all in. You’ll enjoy what you’re watching more! When you sit down to write up a report for work or spend time with your kids, shut off social media and put your phone on silent mode.

If you’ve been multitasking for years, switching over to uni-tasking can feel strange. Think of focus like a muscle that needs to be rebuilt. Give your focus and concentration a workout by completing puzzles, reading books (ideally a real paper book) and writing in a journal. Engage in only the single activity for a set period of time. If you keep up this practice, going into “deep focus mode” will become easier and easier.

After uni-tasking, you can give yourself a few minutes of checking Facebook or browsing the headlines (or whatever your favorite distraction is) as a reward.

orange asterisk For more easy tips, read our feature article: How to strengthen your focus & concentration.

Last Updated: January 16, 2023
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