This is not a subject that applies to everyone. But the brain wires for experience. So, for anyone who’s had an extremely disrupted life due to COVID, there will be an inevitable transition period as a more scheduled life returns. We can expect it to be much like the adjustment ‘baby-brained’ parents need make when returning to work after extended childcare.
Most of us know a subtle form of this feeling from just taking two weeks of holidays. When we return from vacation, this effect often occurs as a slight discombobulation of our workflow. Fortunately, our brain-fogged mind pretty quickly re-establishes it’s old patterns and we’re fine.
In this case, after a year and a half, the transition period will be longer and more noticeable. But the process will be the same as the one we use when we recover from a holiday. It’ll just be a bigger version of the same change.
There is no need to panic. The feelings and limitations that we will experience are the unavoidable aspects of how bodies and brains work. There will be times where the brain fog will be very unpleasant and unnerving –though less so, provided we understand that those feelings make logical sense.
These challenges will be experienced by anyone whose schedule was grossly disrupted –and particularly if the schedule became moment-to-moment, with no real opportunity to ‘plan.’ In the cases of truly locked down people, caring for small children or dementia patients, the pandemic has felt like one long blurry continuous brain-fogged day.
There is no way to ‘fix’ the situation other than to do what we did we first learned our jobs, which is to do them. Bit by bit, familiarity and flow will return. But we will slow that acquisition process if our minds are busy complaining, or worrying, about our missing sense of flow.
Yes, it will be bad for some, and it will take weeks or even a month or two to sort out. Employers should anticipate this reality. But whether they do or not, do not psyche yourself out. That will only make it worse. Don’t overthink your discomfort. Anticipate it. Let it be, and work anyway. The doing is the solution, even if it starts as ‘discombobulated doing.’
Eventually, the literal acts and thoughts relating to our work will fill the space formerly occupied by whatever wiring our brains used to manage the chaos of long term lockdown. At that point we’ll feel more functional, and more like ‘ourselves’ again –although hopefully this more experienced version of all of us will be more actively grateful for the little things in life.
If you’re one of the people facing this change: don’t panic. It’s going to be weird, but it is okay to not be okay. You’ve got this.
If you would like to learn more about managing any major transition, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is strength in everyone. it’s important to know how to find our own.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.