Home Forums Noticings… 200826 – Covid Brain

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    August 26, 2020

    I forgot to make coffee Monday morning. No big deal, it’s just a little thing. But the thing was that I realized I’d forgotten to make coffee as I was half way to my weekly clergy colleagues coffee gathering (outside, and socially distanced, of course). I think I may have even said as I walked out the door, “See you later honey. I’m going for coffee with my colleagues!” And then I left. With no coffee.

    Are you finding that you’re more forgetful these days? Or maybe that you’re having trouble concentrating? Or maybe that your brain feels like it lacks the capacity to take in even one more bit of information? Or maybe that dealing with all the constant change swirling around you means you’re tired (and stressed, and grumpy, and passionless) all the time? You’re not alone. Some are calling it ‘Covid brain’. It’s not that you have the virus; it’s that all the changes we’ve made to adapt our lives to this new season because of the virus are scrambling our brains.

    One of the buzz words these days is resiliency. Resiliency is about how we overcome challenges and bounce back after dramatic or traumatic events. The problem is that our shared traumatic event is ongoing! You can’t really bounce back when you’re still being stretched out of shape. And dealing with that ongoing, never-ending, constantly changing landscape is what’s giving us Covid brain. We’re just not getting enough time to absorb new challenges, adapt, and recover. One of the best images I’ve seen to explain this is that it’s like we’re building the plane while we’re flying in it – scrambling to stay aloft, constantly fearing crashing!

    I’m not writing this seeking sympathy or because I’m particularly stressed, but it’s pretty clear that I have Covid brain right along with so many others. Perhaps you’ll recall a few weeks ago when during our livestreamed worship I forgot the words to the Lord’s Prayer! That’s Covid brain! I’m writing about this because I want us all to be really aware that none of us are at our best these days. We’re all feeling it, no matter what our work or challenges may be. Ministers are certainly feeling it. I live with a teacher who’s looking at a looming September of chaos and uncertainty. I’m sure the people in your life are experiencing it too.

    So what can we do? Deep breaths help. Remembering that the person who just said or did that unbelievable thing probably has Covid brain too and an extra measure of grace is going to be needed. Being a listening ear for someone who’s struggling with this season is perhaps the most loving thing you can do. The solution to building resilience are things like awareness, self-compassion, self-care, and meditation (prayer!) – things that are all hard to find the capacity for while you’re building your airplane mid-flight. So be gentle with yourself, and be gentle with others. It’s turning out to be a much longer season than we’d anticipated. As always, the best way to journey through it is to love, love, love. (Even with Covid brain I remembered that one!)

    Rev. Larry
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