What do you do when you have a foggy language day?
Lately, I've been reviewing skills using Timed Practice. This lets me know if I need to spend extra time reworking the skill until I can get through relatively smoothly while under pressure from the clock.
So, this evening I signed in to do the Japanese skill, Activity. I've done it before and I know that somewhere in my brain, all of this information is stored. But, it's like everything has gone foggy. I try some skills I was doing just yesterday, and they are foggy too. I've noticed this before while working through the Spanish tree. I can have a smooth week of studying and then I hit a day where my brain just does not want to cooperate. I've read that other people have experienced this too.
So, what do you do when you have a foggy language day? Do you push through and do as many lessons as you usually do? Do you do more lessons? Fewer? Do you take a break that day? I'm just curious how different people approach this.
PS The internet has a severe, absolutely shocking lack of pictures, of bunnies in fog. :P
By artist Jan Mankes
There can be many reasons behind a foggy day: exhaustion from cramming in too much too quickly, being overworked from external elements, lack of oxygen supply to the brain, humidity levels. When it happens, I normally choose the gray area between putting things off and pushing too hard. I perform an easy , foggy brain-friendly task, a lesson that’s neither basic nor advanced. I’ve found this to help ease the fog and check the I did accomplish something today box.
Edit: in the spirit of bunnies and fog
That's what I do too--I try to gauge something appropriate to how well I'm functioning. I have some Health Stuff that means some days I have fairly severe brainfog, and it's often coupled with extremely low energy. On brainfoggy days, I tend to do review or go for simpler lessons.
I find that I, personally, do SIGNIFICANTLY better if I do something every day, no matter how small, so I don't take the day off entirely. But for instance: not too long after I first joined Duo, I had a bad period of brainfog and I also came down with the flu or something on top of it, and I was pretty much stuck in bed for a couple of weeks. My brain was not in any shape to be learning new stuff, and I didn't have the energy to sit up or focus for more than a few minutes at a stretch, but I didn't want to take days or weeks off, either. So I spent ages just redoing the first few skills (I was doing the French tree at that point), even though they were already gold. Basics 1, Basics 2, etc.--the first four or five skills, about up to where the Bonus Skills show up. One review session a day, sometimes two if I was feeling a little better. I just did them over and over. It kept the language in my head and, as a bonus, I learned those first few skills incredibly thoroughly and actually did much better than I expected when I went back to progressing through the tree.
That's my most extreme example--most of the time I just have a couple of slow days, and I try to find the middle ground Arachnje mentioned, in between not bothering at all and pushing myself so hard that I make everything worse.
I usually end up doing less work but I still try to push myself to my limits because I hate slipping down my leaderboard. ( つ＞ヘ＜)つ
Thanks! That's what I'm always going for. (^ ω ^) It's difficult to see someone's emotions online so I always spend time thinking about what kaomoji would best fit what I'm trying to express.
I'm dyslexic so I have good days and bad days even with my native language. I guess I've got used to the fact that some days I just have to work harder.
If I'm really struggling with learning new stuff then I revise old stuff, but I still stick to my usual study regime. For me that is 10 - 15 minutes in the morning (while eating breakfast) and my lunch break at work, so it's nothing too onerous. Sometimes the brain fog does lift once I get into the swing of it, but other times I just have to accept it's a spell check/dictionary type of day.
My mom is dyslexic, she has good and bad days too. I'm not dyslexic, but, some days letters lean, smear, grey, or just plain try to drop off the page. Looking through a specific color yellow barrier helps me, but, it hasn't acted up bad enough for me to invest in something for my computer. When I was in uni (math class, mainly), I bought yellow colored paper and asked for printouts on the same shade. It helped a lot. But, I had to experiment with several different colors first. My mom said colored paper helped her too. But, another friend with dyslexia said the color of paper didn't make a difference for them. The brain is cool, but also very weird. I'm glad you are still able to use Duolingo as a learning resource most of the time. One thing Duolingo's done is use a font that is easier for many dyslexic people to read. I did a bit of investigating, and sadly, there is not yet a single font which helps all people with dyslexia. And, "easier" doesn't mean perfect. Our species knowledge of health and science will keep advancing though. And, we'll keep improving things. :)
For me, I sometimes have days when I'm preoccupied with something that causes me to lose my concentration when I'm doing my daily language reviews. So it's not so much a vague fogginess but a distracted brain.
For example, recently I had an upsetting moment, and so instead of my usual hour of Japanese reviews, I had to cut it down to 15 minutes because I was still too upset to concentrate. Fortunately, these moments do not happen often.
Much more often, it works the other way around, where immersing myself in the quiet activity of my language studies lifts me from frustrating events. When I'm doing my language studies, I know that I am at least doing something to improve myself, and that therefore there is hope. It is perhaps hope that is as hazy as a fog, but still it is hope.
Good timing! (And great answer!)
I'm actually in the middle of planning a camping trip for not this weekend, but the one after. Or, as it's more quickly said in Japanese 再来週末 (saraishuumatsu). I get to go here: http://www.redwoodhikes.com/JedSmith/JedSmith1.jpg And do this: https://www.savetheredwoods.org/wp-content/uploads/rGrants_NorthCoast2008_JulieMartin129.jpg ^_^
Due to my feet injuries from my last backpacking trip in August, we're cancelling our annual thanksgiving backpacking trip. But, looks like we're still going to get out and enjoy the fresh, crisp air. I'm so happy I could cry.
Foggy language days are a fairly frequent occurrence for me, especially when I'm tired or stressed. So I have a few things I do when they come.
- If available and it's not too late in the day, coffee. Especially valuable if it's a foggy day due to tiredness. If I can't have coffee for one reason or another, then tea (decaf if it's late) or some other beverage, preferably hot. This often helps clear my brain somewhat.
- Cold water. Sticking my head in cold water isn't always what I really feel like doing, but it can also help clear my brain. Even if it doesn't, I inexplicably absorb things better afterwards.
- I force myself to do something. It may not be very much, just a quick mental review of a concept, reading a paragraph in a grammar book, or doing that day's flashcard reviews (I don't even always do all of them, on particularly foggy days), but I always do a little bit. I've made completely skipping languages for a day simply not be an option, but if I'm struggling I don't force myself to do a lot. Sometimes this little bit stimulates my brain and acts like the sun on early morning mist, slowly melting the fog away.
- If I can tell at the beginning of the day that it is or will turn into a foggy one, I do that little bit as early as possible. Then, later on, I may be able to do a bit more.
I've also learned that all my breakthroughs come after a foggy period, so these days I also spend those days wondering what concept is going to suddenly make sense in the near future. I find this very encouraging. It's very easy to get down on those days where you just can't think, but I've learned to think of it as my conscious mind taking a break to let my unconscious mind prepare to reveal a great discovery.
I've also learned that all my breakthroughs come after a foggy period, so these days I also spend those days wondering what concept is going to suddenly make sense in the near future.
That was a bit of sunshine for me. ^_^
I believe Arachnje mentioned lack of oxygen to the brain. I over taxed my shoulder recently, so, I haven't been doing my daily exercises. And, that was good for me to put together too. So, between the two of you, I feel encouraged. :)
I just came for some cute animal pictures and wasn't disappointed <3
When having a foggy language day, I have a foggy concentration day in general.
It depends on the grade of exhaution, but normally I slow down or stop my progression pace and do something else with the language. E.g. strengthen some random skills on DL even when the tree is golden or watching some easy video in my target-language-of-the-day, or a video that I've already watched. Or I note some useless thoughts in my note pad app in the target language while lying in my bed or sofa and deleting it the other day because it was too stupid. So that I'm still doing something with the language. When I'm too foggy (migraine), I take a complete break for one to three days, although knowing that it'll be hard to re-establish my habits after the break (don't forget to have the streak freeze always active, since the streak is not important, but it's still annoying when it disappears^^).
When actively studying a language here, I have a daily goal set that enables me to advance at a good pace. It may be anywhere from 20 XPs on up, as 20 seems to be the absolute minimum for making any progress. And I always set a minimum daily goal of 1 XP (it usually works out to 10 in practice), just so I'll show up at the site. 90% of life is showing up, after all. If I'm not trying to "advance" in a language, or a day turns out to be extra busy, or I'm having a "foggy day," the fallback is always acceptable w/o recriminations. This works great.
You think you bunnies have it bad! There are precious few pictures of triceratopses in the mist.
Well, as you can see, I don't have that much learning to have to, so I might not know what I'm talking about. Anyhow, I usually push thru it, because I have all the words written down so I can easily find them. Also, here is a quote I found in our family book. "It is the journey, not the destination that matters. Remember it all happens for a reason, so listen well on the rainy days, and know the sun will always return" Author Unknown :D
I usually push myself through it by sticking to my routine. Basically, I try to act as if nothing is wrong and do whatever it is I'm trying to do in the foreign language. If I'm foggy on Duolingo, I just do the lesson and bite the mistakes. If I'm struggling to read text, I open up a dictionary more frequently. If I can't understand a video, I stop and listen to it again, or turn on subtitles in the target language if available.
At the very minimum I do a review of one lesson of one of my languages. Not for a matter of streak (although seeing that number continue is also nice) but to not lose the daily habit of reviewing languages through duolingo. (I remember the last time I lost it took me a long while to get back at it, it was not nice tbh)
For me, the streak lets me see the length of my daily habit, and encourage me to continue the habit. :) After I lost my super long one, I didn't study for a year. Now, I'm ok with getting smaller streaks and letting them go and coming back again. But, that first one was hard to lose. I've got more confidence now though, that Duolingo is in my blood. :)
When I get brain fog I do one strengthening exercise at a basic level, then curl up in bed until it passes strengthened by the support of my friends.
I can't reply to your wonderful message any other way Usagi, so I'm adding it here, hoping to sneak it under the spam radar :-) So, here goes ........ Thank you so much for your kind words which warmed my heart, I really appreciate you taking the time to write. Thank you also for sending the kitties to keep me company whilst I was so incapacitated, they are lovely and I am a complete pushover where cats are concerned, they are such a comfort when we are at our lowest ebb.
If you want/need to delete this after you've read it I fully understand.
Have a plate of chocolate biccies to compensate for the lack of bunnies.
Gena, probably best there aren't other bunnies, so I don't have to share ;) I'm glad you are feeling well enough that you could join us in the forums today and yesterday.
I have yet to do a lesson today. I am a bit anxious that I'll be foggy again. But, reading yours and everyone's comments here, I think I'll hop on and do one. If I can only do one, that'll be ok. ^_^
Edit: Much less fog today! I did the same lesson in Timed Practice as yesterday, and I got 16XP. :D
Well, as I am rather used to appreciate every excuse to procastinate this is not really a problem for me ;) If I do not feel like learning now there will come a better time. But I have to agree that the fog is either caused by not feeling physically well at all, so that I need to push myself to be fully awake, a walk or some exercise helps then. Or that it comes from being too busy thinking about other things, again physical exercise helps then to calm down, but also listening to podcasts or a phrasebook is helping me to refocus. It depends on the circumstances and the music if listening to music helps as well to refocus my mind or if it makes me more agitated.