31 Mar Saffron Walden Company Cures Lockdown Brain
Not since Shakespearean times have we self-isolated to avoid a highly transmissible disease, so it’s not surprising its affects are not well-known. However, with thousands of us feeling a little ‘foggy’, Saffron Walden-based, Mark Newey, founder, leading mental wellness education provider, Headucate.me, gives us the lowdown on this phenomenon and top tips on how to shake-off lockdown brain.
Scientific studies have proven that people in self-isolation experience a drop in cognitive function, which results in a decline in verbal fluency and memory recall. Have you had someone’s name on the tip of your tongue, but can’t quite remember it? That’s a perfect example of lockdown brain.
How do we cure it?
We have to treat the brain as a muscle, if we don’t use it, we lose the muscle power and we’re not as strong mentally. It’s just like going to the gym, we need mental agility, just like we need physical fitness. In fact, many brains will have shrunk during this period, due to loneliness and a lack of stimulus to the hippocampus. The shrinking of the hippocampus can have a negative effect on your decision-making ability and social behaviour, so it’s essential to take good care.
When you’re on your daily walk, take a new route and make sure you say “hello” to passers-by, this will really help ‘wake-up’ the brain.
If you’re working from home, move your workstation to a different space, to give your brain something different to think about, again this will get you out of the same routine and help sharpen your brain.
If you’re returning to the workplace from furlough, make sure you give yourself time to re-adjust. For some, the whole experience could be too overwhelming, so pace yourself, try two days in the office and three working from home.
Many people have felt bored during lockdown, and boredom makes us sluggish. Try something new and get out of your routine as soon as possible, such as learn a language, musical instrument, or get outside and meet up with people (social distancing) as soon as you can.
Our attention span has also decreased during lockdown as we’ve relied on technology to work and communicate with others. This has led to a crossover of emails, work and social channels all colliding into the same space. Try and only look at social media one or two times a day, otherwise many find it addictive, and turn off notifications on the device to ensure you’re not disrupted.
Stress and anxiety are big energy-zappers and take up a lot of cognitive time and space. It’s hard not to stress in a pandemic, but you can give yourself a release by taking part in physical exercise, from yoga to a Hiit workout, both will alleviate stress and help you feel good.
Also, don’t forget to take a nap if you need one. Studies have proven that just a short nap will improve your memory!