Last week I took a whirlwind trip to the east coast. I traveled through 6 different states to visit some of my favorite people and get a taste of fall. I did all the things to keep my immune system up and feel as good as possible.
Still, with all that prep I got the stomach flu (or maybe food poisoning or maybe too much Washington Nationals celebration), slept less, drank more and came back feeling emotionally full yet physically drained. This happened because:
- Even with all the prep, sometimes you get taken down by the unexpected and it’s important to adapt and be thankful that you have people to take care of you.
- A weekend celebrating and laughing uncontrollably with your best friends will do more for your overall health than all the sleep and vitamin D in the world. This should never be squandered. It really is the point.
Having said that, the post trip brain fog and fatigue are real. Here are the three things I added to my normal routine to help get myself back to 100%.
Water makes up about three quarters of your brain. It helps with the electrical energy of all brain functions including memory and focus as well as delivering nutrients and flushing out toxins. Studies have shown that if your brain drops even 1-2% in total hydration you can experience impaired thinking, trouble focusing, brain fog and an increase in anxiety. If your weekend included travel, alcohol or eating out, there is a pretty good chance your hydration dropped as well.
The good news is we can re-hydrate as quickly as we can dehydrate. Drink 16oz of water before you do anything else (yes, even coffee). Then continue to drink at least 2L or up to half your body weight in water throughout the day.
Have you ever been counting the minutes until you can sleep, only to find yourself tossing and turning all night? Digestion may be to blame. A larger meal eaten too quickly can be difficult to digest. If your body is using its resources to digest it can take longer to get into REM causing to stay in that “am I asleep or not” state. Ideally shoot to finish eating 4 hours prior to bed (2 at a minimum) to give your body plenty of time to digest and get into a rested state.
N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) is a precursor to glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps boost your immune system and prevent cellular damage. It can also help with your body’s natural detoxification of your kidneys and liver. NAC can be found in high protein foods. However, you can also choose to supplement with ~600mg of NAC. Follow this link for a recommended brand on Amazon.