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Issue #18: Mindfulness


James Costa

July 18 · Issue #18 · View online

A batch of thoughts, resources, and motivation from a friendly digital agency owner delivered every Monday at 6am ET.

Lately, I’ve been trying to A/B split test my days to see what actions positively and negatively impact my day. Some things are pretty obvious (i.e. a heavy carb lunch after not eating anything for breakfast will ruin me), but other things have really helped to improve my days (i.e. I’m most effective working from a coffee shop). Understanding this and my schedule (especially hacking it to be most productive by spending as little time in meetings as possible on days of the week I know I’m particularly busy) has helped a lot.
One thing that I’ve been hit with a lot lately has been these weird foggy days. They tend to hit me pretty hard and make it hard for me to accomplish important tasks I need to get to, have a more negative outlook, or just be a bit of an asshole. Immediately I thought sleep was the issue, and I’ve been focused on getting at least 8 hours of sleep and trying to make sure I wake up more naturally. But even with this newfound love of being my own guinea pig, I haven’t been able to shake it.
I kept getting more and more bothered by it thinking it was only something I was faced with, but it turns out that “brain fog” (or subsyndromal delirium) is a real thing. Articles range in solutions from food (cutting gluten) to getting more rest. Approaching it as normal and something that can be overcome is key.
Ultimately, my quest for how to avoid and approach it led to my thought that there must be different types of rest other than sleep. While I haven’t been able to find a lot on different types of rest, this list by BK Meera Nagananda has been helpful:
  • Sensory rest. This is especially important given how much time we spend on computers, our phones, watching TV, and the like. There are a ton of apps to remind you to step away from the computer for a bit, but meditation can be helpful as well for sensory rest.
  • Emotional rest. Your personality type can have a big impact on emotional rest. For example, on the Myers-Briggs spectrum, I’m an ENFP. While I’m energetic, one important weakness I have is being highly emotional. I react to things very personally and it impacts my effectiveness. I find weekends are where I get the most emotional rest as I try and get away from anything that might impact me emotionally (i.e. trying not to check emails, getting some solid Netflix binging time in).
  • Mental rest. I believe mental rest is pretty similar to emotional rest, but focuses less on thinking in general. I find yoga actually helps me with this as I’m so focused on movements that I don’t have much time to think.
  • Physical rest. How we sleep has been studied extensively, especially given how much time we spend on it daily. Simple tips like only going to bed to sleep when you’re going to sleep (i.e. so you’re not up thinking about all the things you didn’t do today) are important to getting a good night’s rest. While the amount of sleep you should be getting per night seems to vary based on age and other factors, getting the right amount for you and staying consistent is important.
Balancing out these four different types of rest is important, especially as life gets crazy. While it might not stop that horrid brain fog every day, hopefully a focus on mindfulness will help to bring balance to the days we’re battling with our own minds. Creating habits that include mindfulness is important. I mentioned yoga and meditation above, and I know my initial reaction to them was that they would take too much of my time or I needed to go to classes. Apps like Headspace and Yoga Studio make both easy to approach, and short enough that they can fit into morning or evening routines easily. Trello also wrote an awesome article on how to leverage these days that I’ve included below in case you want to take the thought one step further.
Here’s to a week where we kick brain fog’s ass. 💪
P.S.: If you enjoyed this week’s issue, I’d really appreciate your support sharing this newsletter. Whether it’s a forward, a Twitter post, or naming your Pokémon after these articles, it would mean the world to me.

Good Reads
Foggy Brain? 4 Ways To Better Leverage Your Off Days
The time for rigor will come soon enough
The company that pays its staff to sleep
The Beggar CEO and Sucker Culture
Employee Evangelism: Make Your Team Badass
Weekly Motivation
“Stress should be a powerful driving force, not an obstacle.” - Bill Phillips
In Closing
Last night, Pokémon GO was released in Canada (finally). At one point while capturing a Crabby outside a bar, I overheard a few late-teens talking about how stupid people playing the game are and how they deserve to be hit by cars. I was surprised to find out a couple people actually fell off a cliff (they’ve also been carjacked, and found a corpse). Luckily, I only walked into a street lamp.
If you have any questions or I can help you in any way, all you have to do is respond to this email.
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