It’s something Kelli Maria Korducki expresses in her piece for The Guardian on “pandemic brain”. Korducki writes, “In the weeks and months after initial lockdown, people began to notice a sudden inability to focus, remember things and follow through on tasks.” As Yassa explained to Korducki, “The pandemic hasn’t merely been a stressful event. It’s been a collection of many simultaneous stressors, some of them life-threatening, that have been compounded by disruptions in our physical activity, daily rhythms, and routines, and stretched out over many months. Yassa thinks we’re finally “on the trajectory to recovery,” though it won’t happen instantaneously.”
So, when faced with “pandemic brain”, what are some measures we can take to counter balance these negative feelings, and how might we regain mental clarity and focus? It turns out there are some home remedies we can do to practice better mental health.
Listen to music
According to researchers, music can do wonders for not only boosting our mood, but our mental focus too. As Efthymios Papatzikis, a professor at the Oslo Metropolitan University who studies the neuroscience of music, explained to The Guardian, listening to music can increase production of oxytocin, which contributes to feelings of empathy and goodwill. And it doesn’t have to be classical music either. Rather, Papatzikis says any melody-forward tunes that the listener finds pleasing can produce therapeutic effects.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be all too easy to head for the fridge rather than the outdoors, but when it comes to increasing the brain’s adaptability to experience and change, exercise is one of the best things you can do. There’s ample evidence to suggest physical activity improves cognitive function and exercise is also believed to help prevent future conditions like dementia.
If it wasn’t before, 2020 made meditation the go-to activity for people around the world. It’s no surprise that our mood is deeply tied to cognitive function and consequently, mindfulness and meditation have been linked to improvements on both fronts. Guided meditation and exercises like conscious breathing can redirect attention, increase focus, and help counter feelings of being overwhelmed.