After a year of lockdown, many of us are finding it hard to think clearly, or remember what happened when. Neuroscientists and behavioural experts explain why and how to prevent Brain Fog.
Before the pandemic, psychoanalyst Josh Cohen’s patients might come into his consulting room, lie down on the couch and talk about the traffic or the weather, or the rude person on the tube. Now they appear on his computer screen and tell him about brain fog. They talk with urgency of feeling unable to concentrate in meetings, to read, to follow intricately plotted television programmes.
“There’s this sense of debilitation, of losing ordinary facility with everyday life; a forgetfulness and a kind of deskilling,” says Cohen, author of the self-help book How to Live. What to Do. Although restrictions are now easing across the UK, with greater freedom to circulate and socialise, he says lockdown for many of us has been “a contraction of life, and an almost parallel contraction of mental capacity”.
“I wonder if the pandemic has been a reality some of us feel is too horrific to bear. The uncertainty, the deaths, the trauma, the precarity; perhaps we have unconsciously chosen to live in the misty, murky brain fog rather than to face, to suffer, the true pain and horror of our situation. Perhaps we are having problems with our thinking because the truth of the experience, for many of us, is simply unthinkable.”
- Perform aerobic exercise.
- Eat Mediterranean-style meals.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Sleep well (Sleep at least 7 hours nightly, preferably eight or even nine when possible).
- Participate in social activities.
- Pursue other beneficial activities, including engaging in novel, cognitively stimulating activities; listening to music; practicing mindfulness; and keeping a positive mental attitude. You may try these easy yoga for beginners.
- Feed your brain. Sugary processed stuff is not your brain’s fave food. Stick to plant-based Paleo (mostly vegetables, enough protein, and always some good fats). Get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids.