You’re probably familiar with lots of phrases that involve the word “focus,” such as “Just focus,” “Keep your focus,” or “Focus your attention.” But exactly what is focus, why do women in menopause frequently experience a lack of focus, and how can they remedy that situation?
What is a lack of focus?
First of all, we need to define focus and another closely related term, concentration. “Concentration” is how you choose to use your intention, while “focus” is where you choose to concentrate.
Let’s say you choose to read a book rather than start dinner. Concentration means you process a task with deep intention. It is the control of your attention. You become immersed in the book and block out noise and other stimuli, including perhaps your kids’ questions about when dinner will be ready.
Focus involves discipline and willpower. When your kids are bugging you about dinner, you must muster up discipline and the will to stay on course and pinpoint your attention rather than giving in to their demands. Lack of focus means you are unable to achieve or maintain the discipline and willpower it takes to hold your focus.
How is the lack of focus associated with menopause?
The lack of focus many women experience more frequently or severely in perimenopause and menopause can be attributed to various factors. Fluctuating and declining hormone levels impact physical and emotional stability. This can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and mood swings that are fuel for an inability to maintain focus.
A lack of support from family, friends, and coworkers may also contribute to a lack of focus. When you feel alone, alienated, or misunderstood by others in your environment, it can make it more challenging to maintain the discipline and willpower needed to keep focus.
How to manage a lack of focus naturally
Medications are typically not necessary to help you manage a lack of focus. Instead, here are some techniques and tips to integrate into your daily life to help you.
- Eat healthy fats. Your brain needs essential healthy fats to function at its best. Avoid fats and/or not getting sufficient healthy fats can dull your ability to focus
- Get enough sleep. If you aren’t getting at least 7 hours of quality sleep each night, your brain function (and many other critical processes) can suffer.
- Move more. Add more physical activity into your life, which boosts blood circulation and endorphin levels. This can translate into better mental acuity and focus.
- Avoid multitasking. Juggling too many tasks is a recipe for a lack of focus.
- Balance blood sugar. It’s difficult to remain focused when your blood sugar levels are spiking and falling. Choose wholesome foods and maintain an eating schedule that allows your blood sugar to remain as stable as possible. Also try a supplement known to support healthy blood sugar levels, berberine.
- Eliminate distractions. Do you REALLY need to have your phone on and in your pocket all the time? Is there background noise such as the TV, video games, or loud music going on? Minimize or get rid of things that can make focusing more challenging.
- Meditate. Take just a few minutes a day to practice meditation or mindfulness activities. These can improve your ability to focus and relax.
- Practice deep breathing. Deep breathing can be part of meditation or mindfulness, or you can practice it separately. Several deep breathing techniques are commonly used, and you can do them just about anywhere, at any time. Here’s one: breath in through your nose to the count of 4; hold it for a count of 7; then exhale through your mouth to a count of 8. Relax for several seconds and repeat the sequence several times.
- Take breaks. If you try to stay focused for a long time, it becomes more and more difficult. However, if you take short breaks by refocusing your attention on something else for a short time, it can significantly improve your ability to focus once you return to your original task. You might even switch from one task to another, which allows you to focus on something new and may improve focus.
- Listen to music. Instrumental music (especially classical) or nature sounds can be therapeutic for the brain and help with focus and concentration.
- Dedicate space. Choosing a spot that is dedicated to your work or task at hand can help you focus better. It doesn’t need to be a separate room, but make an area that is comfortable, lit well, and has noise-canceling headphones if needed.
When to call your doctor
Lack of focus typically doesn’t require the assistance of a physician. However, if you are experiencing accompanying symptoms that are causing you emotional or mental distress such as panic, depression, or problems with memory, contact your doctor and discuss your symptoms and concerns.
Lack of focus is not uncommon in perimenopause and menopause. It can be frustrating, but integrating stress-reducing and healthy habits into your lifestyle can help you bring your focus back.