13 May Brain fog = Allostatic Load
As this Corona cloud hovers above us, it’s created fog down at our level, centred around our brains. We have all noticed this brain fog. The lethargy or the “where-do-I-start” 5mins we need as we first set down at the dining table and open our laptops, even post-coffee. Brain fog is real, and it’s called allostatic load.
WTF does brain fog from allostatic load mean?
Allostatic load is the wear and tear on the body which accumulates from the result of repeated challenges of stress. You know that feeling just before a meeting with a new client? Or waiting on a call about a successful project submission? Or when you wonder if you deleted your Google search history before you lent your laptop to a co-worker? It turns the stomach, tenses the muscles, brain goes into overdrive and readies you for flight or fight mode. It fatigues the body physically.
COVID-19, constant dire news coverage, our changed physical environment and restrictions to activity have pretty-well kept us pacing back and forth in this state since we all first said, “Why would anyone eat a bat?!”
Normally we’d go for a run, swing kettle-bells, catch up with a mate or head to the pub for a knees-up to reset, shake or burn off the brain fog, the allostatic load. But we can’t really do that, so it builds up, clogs the brain like a clogged drain, and consequently it starts to get a little foggy.
Unclog the drain
We have put together tips on how to unload all the allostatic load, hence gust away the brain fog:
Walk in the fresh air
Fortunately in Australia we are allowed out and about, so get out and “exercise” with or without the dog, with or without the kid. Put your headphones on and breathe in that air whilst looking at the surrounds. Take interest in the things you pass bye, be them houses or park-lands or the coast.
Have good aural
Leave the murder mystery podcasts for brighter times; and, instead of doing the wallflower-shuffle to the minor chords of The Smiths and Depeche Mode, skip ahead to some Pharrell or James Brown or even Poison… something to make you smile and dance the happy-boogie. Do you remember Smash Mouth? Put together an isolation playlist with your colleagues.
Make sure you are connecting to your friends, for the purpose of recreation and a laugh. Our friends play vital roles in our well-being, as we do in theirs. So, charge the phone or laptop, pour a warm brew of chai or crack a cold one, and video call your friends and family for a face-to-face chat.
Mix it up a little
We have fallen into routine fairly easily, and sometime shockingly, compared to our plans going into quarantine (“I’m going to do yoga every day and only eat raw foods”). Sound familiar? It’s time to break that routine. When was the last time you walked to the end of Nobbys Breakwall? Try the other coffee shop tomorrow morning. Watched Netflix every night for the last 21 days? Blow the dust of Scrabble or read that autobiography you got for Christmas tonight.
We are all on the same boat (hey, wasn’t that what caused the problem in the first place?), so don’t worry yourself about that. You looking after yourself by being conscious will have positive effect. Tell us about the things you do to shake it off.
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