Dealing with Brain Fog and Staying Optimistic and Motivated

August 21, 2023 Matt Brocklebank

Severe or otherwise, dealing with brain fog as part of COVID-19 while preventing the spread of the virus requires diligence and effort when we don't feel like doing anything other than resting and recovering. How can we stay optimistic and motivated while dealing with brain fog and illness and waiting for wellness to return?

Dealing with COVID-19 — Twice

I contracted COVID-19 for the first time during the summer of 2022. Nine family members caught the virus while staying together during a week-long summer vacation. I spent the holiday isolated in a small spare room with a high temperature and nothing to do but wait until we were all well enough to travel home. At the beginning of this month, I tested positive a second time.

Some say lightning never strikes twice. Yet, here I was again, sick with COVID-19 at the start of my summer vacation, precisely one year after I contracted the virus the first time. I knew I would have to cancel all my summer holiday arrangements for another year and spend the week confined to a lonely room. However, I had access to my computer, books, and other resources this time. I also had medication to take care of the physical symptoms unavailable to me the year before.

Dealing with Brain Fog from COVID-19

Although rest was essential for a swift recovery, I wanted to make good use of the time while I waited to get healthy again. There were several tasks I had planned to do later in the month that I could do from my smartphone and the computer in my room. There was only one real problem I anticipated based on my experience the year before — brain fog.

Brain fog is a term used to describe how people feel when their thinking is sluggish, fuzzy, and not sharp,1 and it was the most challenging part of my first encounter with COVID-19. It persisted for months, and I found it extremely difficult to get motivated. Even activities I usually couldn't wait to do seemed uninteresting and troublesome.

Dealing with Brain Fog

I was determined not to succumb to brain fog a second time, so at the onset of symptoms, I researched ways to combat it and planned how to spend my holiday week of isolation. I discovered that dealing with brain fog involves similar steps to increasing focus and cognitive skills. Influential factors include:1

  • Performing aerobic exercise
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Participating in social activities
  • Pursuing mentally stimulating activities

Of course, my situation ruled out some of the above factors. Still, I could focus on eating healthily, getting enough sleep and rest, and engaging in mentally stimulating pursuits.

While grappling with illness, I found that jobs requiring any degree of concentration took much more time and effort than usual. However, I could maintain momentum without halting productivity completely by recognizing the ebbs and flows of cognitive function and brain fog and allocating work to periods when I felt most focused. Even when my mental condition was wavering, this approach enabled me to progress.

Taking Advantage of Illness

Adapting my plans and approach to work this way enabled me to harness moments of clarity and utilize time effectively. My unfortunate circumstances served as an inspiration for efficient task management. Dividing tasks into small, manageable segments and allotting them to the moments when my cognitive abilities were at their peak enabled me to accomplish several goals without compromising my recovery from illness. This adaptable mindset helped me get work done and better understand the connection between health, time, and achievement and deal with brain fog.

More on Brain Fog


  1. Budson, A. E., MD. (2021, March 8). What is COVID-19 brain fog — and how can you clear it? Harvard Health Publishing.

APA Reference
Brocklebank, M. (2023, August 21). Dealing with Brain Fog and Staying Optimistic and Motivated, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 16 from

Author: Matt Brocklebank

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