COVID-19 Brain Drain, Its a Real Thing

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Photo by Kristin Barclay

COVID-19 Brain Drain

DALLAS – Brain drain – brain freeze. It really is a thing. Just ask anyone who cannot remember what day it is anymore, what time it is or even what week of the month.

And that is just for starters.

“Without going to work Monday to Friday I lose all track of time,” said Francis Trammell who has been staying home and staying safe for the past few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now she said the days turn into weeks and she is glad to see things getting back to a slight hint of normalcy.

COVID-19 has indeed changed the lives of millions of people around the world.

We have learned we have no idea why toilet paper became such a hot commodity. No idea how our children behaved when away from the nest under the watchful eye of their teachers, or just how much we sometimes rely on the status quo to keep us sane.

You have probably heard the term summer brain drain for children in school. Now add to that COVID-19 brain drain.

According to Pam Slater, a psychologist in Cedar Hill “Staying in all day everyday feels like Groundhog Day because every day runs into the next.”

Slater says the foggy brain feeling has to do with missing out on the variety of life and the activities people do to stay entertained.

“When everything is the same, we are missing that piece that we all need,” Slater added. “When every day is running together, we miss the routine of leaving the house, feeling productive and coming home with that good feeling at the end of the day of a successful time at work.”

Fight or Flight mode can create brain freeze too

Another interesting angle to look at regarding brain drain is fight or flight. Three months ago, the world was an entirely different place. Seemingly overnight residents in cities and states were asked to stay home and stay safe and suddenly safety was very much on the mind. From lack of provisions if needed, to getting to the store before everything was gone to the worry of losing your jobs, to seeing people wearing masks to having someone cough on you. It became a scary world out there and the brain immediately went into fight or flight mode.

That might be good for a minute to survive, but not so good long term. Therefore, with too much time spent in fight or flight you can expect it to impact the body and the brain.

From there, the brain drain mode kicks in and Slater said this can create a sort of “déjà vu or just simply checking out or numbness.”

From a mental and physical standpoint, kick start your brain back up and create a routine, even if it is a new routine.

“Get yourself back to a place of rest because the fight or flight mode takes a lot of energy away from our bodies and our minds,” Slater concluded. “Create a schedule and create a new routine, don’t let your mind take all the pressure of this kind of stress.”