NORTHWEST, ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — “What day is it again?” is something we’ve probably all said during this coronavirus pandemic.
If your brain is turning into mush, you’re not alone.
Experts say it has to do with how COVID-19 impacts our cognitive health, which is our ability to clearly think, learn, and remember.
Bonnie King is an instructor at the University of Arkansas.
She’s been doing a lot of research on how our brains function, especially during times of stress.
“It’s been five to six weeks of us being under stress,” she said. “That is chronic stress and your brain can’t function like it used to.”
King said since we are staying on high alert for such a long time, it tires us out mentally, physically, cognitively, and emotionally.
“We are on alert day-in and day-out because we don’t know what our lives will look like,” she said.
It’s not a lost cause though, King said research shows people who learn new positive ways to deal with stress, can actually grow their brains.
“Neuroplasticity — our brain’s ability to heal — is real and remarkable, but it takes effort,” King said. “We do need to make conscious efforts to do healthy things, and help each other as a community to heal.”
She said some ways to help your brain heal during this uncertain time is making sure you are:
- staying active — getting outside, moving your body, exercising, etc.
- eating well — more fruits and vegetables, etc.
- creating a schedule — keeping wake/sleep habits the same, etc.
- verbally processing your feelings — talking to family & friends, seeing a counselor, etc.
Below are some resources, courtesy of King:
- Free online counseling sessions for students and faculty through CAPS on campus, click here.
- Free 24/7 chat support for anyone interested, click here.