Tips from Mayo Clinic

MayoClinic.com, a website affiliated with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, has an updated link on chemobrain. (The website is reviewed by Mayo Clinic doctors.)

There are simple, nonmedical steps you can take immediately to begin coping, at work and at home. Some of their tips:

  • Control what you can about your working environment. If noise and commotion are contributing to your distraction, try to find a quiet corner where you can concentrate. Soft music may help drown out other noises.
  • Prepare yourself for success. Before tackling a complicated task that requires concentration, take steps to ensure that you will have the best chance for success. Eat so you won’t be distracted by hunger. Pick a time of day when you’ll be the most alert. Get a good night’s sleep. Have a plan so you know exactly what you’ll need to do in order to complete your task.
  • Stay organized. Use calendars or planners to keep on task. That way you won’t spend time wondering if you’re forgetting an appointment or an item on your to-do list. Write everything down in your planner. Make organization a priority at home and at work, too. Having an organized work space means you can spend more time on tasks that you need to accomplish.
  • Clear your mind of distractions. When distracting thoughts pop up, write them down in your planner. Recording your thoughts will help to quickly clear them and ensure that you remember them later.
  • Take frequent breaks. Divide your tasks into manageable portions and take a break each time you complete one part. Give yourself a short rest so that you’ll be able to continue later.
  • Exercise your brain. Try crossword puzzles or number games to exercise your brain. Take up a new hobby or master a new skill, such as learning to play a musical instrument or learning a language.
  • Exercise your body. Moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, can help you cope with stress, fatigue and depression. All can contribute to memory problems. If you haven’t been active lately, get the OK from your doctor first. Start slowly and work up to at least 30 minutes of activity most days of the week.
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