Pandemic Brain

I read an article on BBC news site about Pandemic Brain (Covid: How could the pandemic have affected your brain?). It was 3rd March. Since then, I was looking for a way to recover from the pandemic brain. Then today I found an article which gave me a hint.

It was posted in July 2021 and its title is: ‘Pandemic brain’ is making it harder for us to focus. Jeni Stolow, a professor at the College of Public Health, discusses how the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we think.

The article starts: “Many of us have been under almost constant pressure since the coronavirus pandemic began. If you’ve found yourself struggling to concentrate on a task, or having difficulty remembering a specific word or where you left your keys, you might be experiencing the mental fog known as “pandemic brain”—and you’re not alone.”

As BBC also said, memory loss is one of the main symptoms of the pandemic brain, others are: fatigue, impaired decision-making and trouble concentrating. Both article said this happens on people who did not catch Covid. This is due to people living in uncertainty and disruption to routines for months and months, and not because of the virus.

The professor, Stolow, also said that the pandemic brain is actually your brain adapting to your new situation the best way it can.

She gave an example like this: Some people might think themselves a little silly as they are thinking, “I forgot how to pump gas? I forgot how to interact with strangers on the metro? ” (I found this post in the US site)

We may also forgot how to speak to people face to face, simply because of the lack of practice. I totally agreed with her saying “Maintaining focus, whether it’s memory, interpersonal connection or just completing tasks, is kind of challenging for most of the planet right now”.

According to her, the first step is to be kind to yourself and try not to get frustrated.

There are more practical suggestions to how to clear the mental fog, like cutting back on screen time, picking up a phone and talking to someone (without a camera), or having face to face interaction (safely).

She also suggested that getting yourself moving can help, as well as change the smartphone setting to ‘do not disturb’ mode after certain time of the day, or placing a book on your bedside table as a reminder to read.

“Little tiny moments will feel more satisfying because we have been taking them for granted. “

She predicted that we would be dealing with the pandemic for some time, and in fact the Omicron appeared 4 months after the article was published. However, she is optimistic and the last phase of the article was, “From trauma comes resilience and we have all gone through trauma,” she said. “We know we can do that, so it will make any adjustment less scary.”

From today onwards, I will believe her words, give myself more credit without getting annoyed with myself, even if I have behaved in a silly way, and wait for the fog to lift.

Created date: 28 March 2022

Reference: https://news.temple.edu/news/2021-07-20/pandemic-brain-making-it-harder-us-focus, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-60558431