Covid Brain Changes

Have you been walking into rooms and wondering what you are doing there? Have you forgotten the names of family members not in your Covid Pod? Are you forgetting due dates for important work projects? You’re not alone and this is our “new normal”. 

In case you missed the insightful article, “Late-Stage Pandemic is Messing with your Brain” by Ellen Cushing in The Atlantic, we are forgetting things we knew from before Covid. This is something you probably already knew– or could guess- from instances in your own personal life. The extent of the problem is beginning to materialize. Stress on the brain CHANGES your brain, specifically executive functioning, learning, and memory (Cushing, March 8, 2021). 

These changes become a significant problem when our livelihood relies on our memory and functioning as is the case for most students. Students in the K-12 setting are especially vulnerable as they do not have the skills necessary to work around these learning and memory lapses.

Some specific strategies that could help:

1.Get an agenda. Some prefer a digital agenda, while others prefer a physical one. It’s up to you on which one you will actually use, but I prefer a physical agenda as it allows me to add sticky notes and other “frills” or colored drawings to draw attention to information.

2.Write things down. The point of having an agenda is to actually use it. Additionally, keeping a journal of major life events could help memory associated with major events. The act of repeatedly stopping to reflect on a singular event may come naturally after the practice.

3.Prioritize by urgency. To help executive functioning, you should prioritize your tasks that need to be completed. You could use the Eisenhower Matrix to categorize tasks by importance. I create a small list of 3 things to do each new day. 

4.Take pictures. To help remember important life events, document the event through pictures or drawings (if you’re especially artistic). While you may not remember the event, they act as proof that the event actually happened. So feel free to take all those selfies!

Did I forget any strategies that need to be included? Let me know!

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