The “Pandemic Brain”

It is a known fact that stress is harmful to our health, especially if we’re experiencing what’s called chronic stress. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has affected our stress levels more than we might think; scientists believe that the prolonged exposure to stress during the global pandemic may be affecting our cognitive functioning.

Living through a pandemic, even for those who did not encounter the life-threatening illness first-hand, “exposes people to micro doses of unpredictable stress all the time”, explains neuroscientist Tina Franklin.  This continual exposure to stress can impact the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that is responsible for concentration and memory. Many people are feeling a sense of “brain fog”: forgetting things, struggling with recalling information and unable to work at their usual standard of efficiency.

Neuroscientists, however, are optimistic that most people will be performing their best again soon, thanks to the resilience of our brains. Ways to relearn focus is through typical stress management techniques that can reduce cortisol levels, such as exercise, listening to music and mindfulness, as suggested by professors Papatzikis and Sahakian in The Guardian.

If your workplace is feeling the stressful side effects of the pandemic and would benefit from stress management training to help build resilience, Neoskill’s “Developing Your Stress Management” course can help. To find out more or to discuss your specific training requirements, contact us.