I don’t know how else to put it, but lately it seems like my brain is broken. I’m not functioning with the mental quickness I’m used to. I find myself struggling to locate words I want to use, like “vigilant” (it took me a full day to remember it). Sometimes when I’m especially tired in the evenings, I will trail off midsentence, and when my husband asks a follow-up question I will have completely lost my train of thought — it drives him bonkers.
I’m not the only one feeling fuzzy in this way. Anecdotally, I have heard from many parents that the multitasking, stressors and lack of sleep brought on by this Covid year have created a kind of mental overload. And it’s not just parents, either. As a sketch on “Saturday Night Live” that could serve as our pandemic anthemexpressed it, “I was fine in the fall but now I’ve hit a wall and I’m loco, as in my brain done broke-o.”
It turns out that many aspects of our pandemic lives could lead to impaired executive functioning, which is a fancy way of describing the mental processes that allow us to plan, organize and remember instructions. “A lot of things need to function well for our memory to work ideally,” said Marie Eckerström, a neuropsychologist at the Sahlgrenska Memory Clinic in Gothenburg, Sweden, who studies cognitive impairment.
This article was originally written by Jessica Gross. To view it in its entirety, click here.