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!

Why The RaTW?

The best discussion is an open discussion.

I am the creator of The Rhetoric and Teaching Witch. This is a place to discuss issues related to English, specifically writing, news, and teaching (though I will probably branch out as the need arises). While I am just one person, I want to share my viewpoints on these topics to facilitate discussion.

Why read this blog specifically? While I am mid-career, I have a variety of experience not usually found in one person. I was an English Faculty and Coordinator of the Developmental English Program for five years at a college. Now, I teach English to students with disabilities in a high school. I’ve seen the experiences, abilities, and concerns of students at multiple educational levels.

What topics will not be discussed? Motherhood or the English monarchy. While motherhood affects my teaching, and it’s a fallacy to believe it wouldn’t, this is not the space for those discussions. This is the place for All Things English, but discussions of the English monarchy are on other outlets. The discussions of power and social status could be interesting, but I am more focused on the nuance of language or teaching here.

What are potential next steps? I would like to learn video making/editing to include elements on this website. A mix modalities is always interesting.

I also hope to blog every two weeks at the least.

If you’re a fan of The Office, the title is a subtle reference to Kelly Kapoor’s business acumen.

So, welcome to my site. I hope to have thorough, open discussions on topics relevant to the English language, writing, or teaching. Stay safe and see you again soon!