Mental Health and Wellbeing Organisation and Productivity Physical Health and Wellbeing

How to Overcome ‘Brain Frazzle’

Do you ever sit down to do a task, such as writing a blog post, and you just can’t muster up the energy or motivation to get on with it? It feels too overwhelming, and you find yourself staring blankly at the screen or notepad with nothing coming to mind. Or maybe you procrastinate on social media, knowing you should be getting on with your important task but you just can’t drag yourself away and get started? I call this state ‘Brain Frazzle’.

How to Overcome Brain Frazzle

Surrender to the Brain Frazzle!

The first step to beating Brain Frazzle is to surrender to it. Accept the fact that for whatever reason, you are not in the right state of mind to do the task that needs doing. If you push yourself to try, you probably won’t do an effective job of it, and you are are likely to end up procrastinating. However, surrendering doesn’t mean you have to completely write off the day, or sit around doing nothing.

It may be that you genuinely need a rest, so by all means have a lie down, a nap, or give yourself permission to zone out in front of Netflix. But if you feel you still want to get things done despite your Brain Frazzle, then you need to find tasks that are productive and useful in some way, but that don’t require much energy or brain power!

Low Physical Energy Tasks

Sometimes, you may feel physically tired but still fairly alert mentally – just not enough to manage complex, creative tasks. The following tasks are good to do when you are in this state because you can do them sitting still, but they are stimulating enough that they won’t send you to sleep or drive you to procrastinate.

  • Clear out your email inbox.
  • Organise files on your computer.
  • Read a fiction book.
  • Watch a documentary or YouTube video about a topic relevant to you.
  • Talk to a friend on instant messaging or video call.
  • Do a guided meditation.
  • Read articles or blog posts.

Low Brain Power Tasks

Sometimes your brain is completely frazzled and you can’t even manage the above tasks, but you don’t feel as tired physically. In this case, I would recommend mindless tasks that don’t require much thinking, such as these:

  • Laundry.
  • Ironing.
  • Tidying.
  • Cleaning.
  • Cooking / baking.

For more ideas of ‘low physical energy ‘and ‘low brain power’ tasks, check out my blog post: Activities for Re-Energising Yourself.

Making the best of a less-than-ideal situation

Whether a task falls into ‘low physical energy’, ‘low brain power’ or somewhere in between, the important thing is to pick a task that you feel you CAN do, even while feeling the way you do. This way, you may not be doing your most important tasks, but at least you will be doing SOMETHING. It’s better than beating yourself up about not being able to write that blog post or whatever, and ending up procrastinating for the rest of the day. 

If you are completely exhausted both physically and mentally, then I would recommend abandoning all tasks and having a rest! In this scenario, that is the most productive thing you could do. A rest or a nap will replenish your energy, and you will be able to start fresh when you wake up.

What if you REALLY need to get that important task done today?

If you really need to work through the Brain Frazzle, then here are some tips. Break the task down into small chunks, and pick the easiest chunks to work on first. Action precedes motivation, and sometimes you just need to get started on one small part of the task to get the ball rolling. You could also set a timer for a short amount of time, such as 10 minutes, and just work on it for that long before taking a break, or giving yourself a reward.

If you still can’t break out of the Brain Frazzle, I would recommend at least taking a break to do a ‘low brain power’ task, and come back to the hard stuff later!

Brain Frazzle happens, but it won’t last forever

We all get Brain Frazzled from time to time, and that’s okay. It’s normal for our mental state and energy levels to fluctuate, even if we do our very best to stay level. This dip won’t last forever – you are bound to return to an energised state soon. Think of times in the past when you have felt like this, and remember that you got out of it. Picture times when you have felt energised and worked steadily away on something for hours, with focused concentration. Know that you are capable of it, and remind yourself that that state will come back.

Why did you get Brain Frazzled in the first place?

It can be helpful to think about why your mental energy plummeted like this, so that you can take steps to reduce the likelihood of it happening again. Possible reasons could include:

  • Not getting enough sleep.
  • Eating unhealthy foods.
  • Dehydration.
  • Not having exercised much recently.
  • Social burnout.
  • Overworking and not having enough leisure time or rest.

If you can identify a reason or multiple reasons why you might be feeling like this, then you know what things you need to change in order to get yourself back in top condition. Maybe you need to drink more water, get an early night or have a break from socialising. If this works, you’ll know what you need to do more of, or avoid, in the future to prevent yourself from getting Brain Frazzled again.

Sometimes however, it happens for no apparent reason, or it may be for reasons beyond your control such as hormonal changes. In this case, it’s best to take it easy for a while and make sure you are taking the best possible care of your body and mind.

How to feel energised again

Getting on with some ‘low physical energy’ and ‘low brain power’ tasks may be enough to get your momentum going, and bring you into a more energised state. But if not, here are some more general tips to make you feel better soon:

  • Have an early night and get a good night’s sleep.
  • Get up early rather than laying in, because then you can make a good start on things the next morning.
  • Eat healthy foods, and avoid heavy carbs, greasy foods and refined sugar because they tend to bring on the brain frazzle.
  • Make yourself a healthy smoothie with lots of superfoods, to give you a boost.
  • Resist food cravings if you know you have already eaten enough. Giving in to the craving will just make you want more, and tends to make the brain frazzle worse.
  • Avoid eating late in the evening.
  • Avoid caffeine – you may think it will energise you, but it’s not actually doing your body any good. Remember you are brain frazzled for a reason, and it’s better to treat the root cause.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Do some gentle exercise.
  • Do the Daily Energy Routine (you can read about it in my April Challenges post).
  • Follow a guided meditation.

It’s important to be patient and give yourself time to feel better. Even if you follow all the suggestions above, you probably won’t feel better immediately. It takes time for the brain frazzle to clear. Be prepared to take it easy for at least a few hours before you are on top form again.

Brain Frazzle can even be a positive thing!

I actually wrote the plan for this blog post when I was in a Brain Frazzled state. I was struggling to write a different blog post, and just wasn’t getting anywhere. The idea came to me to write a blog post about what to do when you are feeling Brain Frazzled, and I started to jot down some notes. Before I knew it, I had written a whole plan, and it came effortlessly from my mind! So it just goes to show – if something isn’t working for you, sometimes you just need to STOP and do something else – whatever you feel inspired to do. Go with the flow, and you’ll soon get back into the flow!

This also shows that even ‘negative’ things like Brain Frazzle can have positive consequences too. In this case, my Brain Frazzle gave me an idea for a new blog post! There is something to be gained from all of life’s varied experiences, good and bad.

How do you overcome Brain Frazzle?

Do you sometimes get into a Brain Frazzled state? Do you have any particular methods for overcoming it? Let me know in the comments!

How to Overcome Brain Frazzle

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12 Comments

  1. I needed to read this!! I’ve been very unmotivated lately to get anything done, especially blogging. Now I understand why! 😀 Great post!!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Glad you found it helpful! 😃 Hope you manage to get motivated again!

  2. This is a great post! Thank you. I had a nagging backache today and had to lie in bed. I tried to read, but fell asleep promptly! Turned out it wasn’t a bad thing. My backache’s gone and I feel more refreshed. 🙂 Sometimes we just need a nap!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      So true – sometimes we just have to listen to our bodies, and do what we need to do to feel better, even if it contradicts our original plans!

  3. I usually get frazzled when I overwork or have not had enough sleep. I think these tips will help me prevent from becoming frazzled!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I get frazzled when I overwork too! I hope these tips help you! 🙂

  4. These are such useful and helpful tips! I like to clear out things like my emails etc as helps me feel less cluttered. Thank you for sharing

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      You’re welcome, I’m glad you found them helpful! It’s amazing how clearing out emails etc can clear out the mind as well!

  5. Millie says:

    Ooo I liked this! I do come across my fair few times of ‘Brain Frazzle’ (love that term btw!) and I very between giving in and trying to push on. Especially at work when I seriously cannot seem to do the task I am doing I will take the time to organise and clear up outstanding emails etc… Thanks for sharing!:)

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Haha, I wasn’t sure whether anyone else uses that term but it seemed to describe the feeling pretty well! Sometimes it’s better to give in and do something easier for a while until we are in the right mental state to do the task we need to do 🙂

  6. I’m terrible for getting a good nights sleep. Even if I try, my body doesn’t seem to allow it. I personally blame the cat since he constantly has to be either laying next to me or on top of me haha.

    Rob | ribby.co

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I count myself lucky that I usually get a good night’s sleep – I know a lot of people have trouble with sleeping! Haha, having a cat on top of you definitely wouldn’t help, especially if he starts clawing / kneading!

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