We’ve all been there. Even for the highest-performing go-getters, the best intentions to stay on task don’t necessarily mean that the task will be completed. Every so often we all have the tendency to fall into a lull or a fog of absentmindedness. Our head may not be clear, we are distracted, inattentive, overwhelmed even, and unfocused. You don’t need to feel guilty over it, this happens to everyone BUT you can still take control of it.

There is no reason for you to spend days in a mental fog. While distractions seem impossible to avoid (thank you smartphones and social media) retaining your concentration will make you feel like your regular productive self again and will improve your quality of life- it just makes everything so much easier!

So, where to start? When you find your thoughts wandering off or are so overwhelmed you can’t think straight, there are some things you can do to get yourself back into your groove. We have found solutions through our 4 pillars: Functional Movement, Holistic Nutrition, Nature and Self Care - solutions that go beyond self-diagnosing for ADD or the usual “use social media less!” 

Functional Training

When we are distracted and unfocused, we don’t feel good in our bodies. Whether it’s a feeling of overwhelm or confusion, if you’ve got something going on in your personal life or work is stressing you out, working out will always help you refocus. When you are training, you have one single thing to focus on: your movement. There is no room for distraction or wandering thoughts. Giving yourself that one objective, even for the one hour or so you might be working out is a great way to rejig your thought process, break up the confusion or fog, and start to see a little more clearly.

Training with a trainer or coach keeps you accountable for maintaining focus. When you have a schedule or appointment to work out you’re setting an intention to, yes, complete a workout but also to be present while doing so. 

We see with a lot of people who have very high-stress jobs that they are naturally drawn to high-adrenaline activities like car racing, ski-diving, cliff diving, or shooting. That’s because, in some ways, they’ve already figured out that going through those motions requires ALL of their attention. Again, there is no room for distraction or absentmindedness because the result can be catastrophic. While this isn’t necessarily a great way to live all the time, the same kind of logic can be applied to your training. It helps you focus on just one thing because having a coach ensures that you are present in your body, focused on FEELING (which we are oftentimes trying to avoid by having racing thoughts). And when you do that enough, you are able to form a habit of maintaining focus on what needs to be done or the things that are already in front of you.

Holistic Nutrition

It’s best to see eating like a chemistry experiment. When foods interact with the molecules within our bodies they are either going to be symbiotic and maintain peace OR they interact like fireworks. If you are eating foods that cause more fireworks than peace, it’s no wonder why you can’t focus. When we choose foods that our bodies don’t process well we see this show up in our concentration. There becomes internal turmoil that is sending our hormones, central nervous system and neurons into fight mode. If you have food intolerances that result in bloating, nervousness, irritability, acne or psoriasis - among other things - or are allowing yourself to rely on sugar or coffee to get through the day, then you are more likely to feel anxious and less likely to be able to focus because your brain and body are just looking for their next “hit.” Food intolerances, yeast overgrowth, blood sugar hikes and plummets send our bodies into addiction-mode. So, while you are trying to build a company, have a meaningful staff meeting or are working through a 12 hour day (even if you love what you are doing) - your body is working against you.

Do we really need to be working against ourselves? It’s easy to label this unfocused behaviour as socially acceptable “hyperactive”, “anxious” or “depression” - it’s important to see food as playing a role and see how our food choices can determine our behaviour. We must open our minds up to realize that food may be what is behind our behavioural symptoms. 

There are certain foods such as blueberries and avocados that have been proven to help with focus. Mushrooms, in particular, the chaga and cordyceps mushrooms are increasingly being used to boost immunity and improve overall health- we even sell them in The Life Shop at EPIC! And for those not close to EPIC, here are some products we recommend for better focus!

But just listening to what your body needs is key. Biochemically, if you are ingesting foods like dairy and gluten that your body simply can’t break down properly then you will certainly be distracted by the pain in your stomach or, ahem, many trips to the washroom. If you are instead able to fuel your body with foods it agrees with and keep your digestion on track (literally :P) then it will be much easier to maintain your focus, your calm, your concentration and our natural “zen”-like state even amongst the chaos in our external worlds.

Nature

This is perhaps the easiest method to regain focus of all. Go. For. A. Walk. Or a hike, or a run, or whatever- just get outside! When we spend time in nature our attention is often drawn to the natural beauty surrounding us. Do we need to say “leave the phone at home?” Nah, you’re too smart for that.

Our community events are usually outdoors. We host monthly hikes and lately, we’ve been incorporating Forest Bathing into our regular events lineup. Forest bathing or Shinrin-yoku was developed in the 1980s in Japan and has been the reason the population has excelled in overcoming the ailments of overpopulation and stress. It provides an opportunity to learn about the forest and the elements which make the forest so soothing and healing. Get lost in that for a little while before coming back to reality with a refreshed perspective. It’s like hitting reset.

We started bringing our clients and opening up nature walks to the public many years ago because we wanted people to feel better. We wanted their immune systems to increase, their focus to increase, and also for them to calm down. Busy feeds busy and busy is not always good. Busy-ness and adrenaline propel more adrenaline even when it is not needed (addiction). It’s important to come down off the craze in order to rebalance our nervous system and give our brains a rest. Nature is an easy way to do this. 

Self-Care

Human beings are not, by nature, great multi-taskers.


(The Atlantic hits the nail on the head with why single-tasking is the new multitasking. It’s a good laugh but also … we feel SEEN!)

It’s normal to try to do it all at once- many of us have been programmed to think that we have to! But when we try to multitask we are just giving ourselves more things to be distracted by.

How do you stop? Be mindful. When you have a lot of things going on it can feel tough to know where to start so you try to start it all. Sometimes we forget that we actually already have made a decision, a strategy or a plan on how to tackle things. Remember to check your calendar, your journal, your to-do lists and you’ll likely find that you already have somewhere to start.

Meditation is also a proven method for increasing focus, decreasing stress and anxiety, and regulating moods. This is an important part of self-care that can provide you with clarity, peace of mind, and a sense of balance. It is a great way to break the cycle of stress and distraction so you can recentre yourself and find that focus again.

Another important (easy) thing to bring awareness to is the importance of word choice. Linguistics and language impacts on our mental state. What words we listen to, what words we use especially the tone of words we expose ourselves to impacts us. I find this particularly true when we think about music. When we listen to music it is (usually) a choice. If a song has a lot of “can’t”s, “don’t”, “not”s, profanity, aggression, hateful tone etc. those words with negative connotations and energy directly affects us. Even in an upbeat song, we might feel energized in the moment but there are studies that show we actually do use negative words more when we hear them in music. Songs are like spells in that sense. 

How does this affect our focus? When we are in a down or low mental space that is when we are drawn to stimulus. A simple flip of a tab, exiting out of a problem that we are trying to solve, and going to another task or even scrolling your social feeds really can be all about our subconscious efforts to change mental states (feel good!). So, if we program our minds to use words and hear words that are empowering, encouraging, calming, positive - we will minimize our draw towards that stimulus.

In order to function at our best, we all need to be able to focus. You don’t have to be on your A-game 100% of the time but there are things you can do to really optimize your performance in your day-to-day and be, at the very least, pretty darn close to your A-game. 

We are dedicated to you feeling good in a way that is sustainable. We know what lifestyle habits like the ones mentioned above are essential for you to feel EPIC. You can get started with tackling these tips and more by booking an EPIC Life Assessment with us to better understand where you’re at physically, biochemically, and mentally and what the best next steps are for YOU to live a more EPIC life! Move out of mediocrity into extraordinary.