What are the Neurological Effects of a Pandemic?

Sep 18, 2020

Can’t be good right? 

COVID itself, once contracted, has a series of unwelcome neurological possibilities. These include exhaustion, memory loss, delirium, headaches, inflammation, and decreased oxygen levels. Scientists are now suggesting that the virus affects the same part of the brain that creates dopamine and serotonin; the chemicals responsible for pleasure, motivation, and action. Chemicals that are also responsible for aiding sleep, the ability to walk straight and pooping!

The pandemic, and the resulting isolation, is responsible for alarming upticks in anxiety and depression. That we already know. But GRIEF is quickly rising on the charts. Grief over the loss of mobility, social interaction, travel, adventure. Grief over the loss of a loved one or the sense of helplessness as many of us cannot reach friends and family; literally physically unable to move to see them. Most of us have dabbled in feeling lonely, isolated, afraid, unsafe. I know I have. We’ve also had to change many of our daily routines and share tight spaces as we try to work and help our kids with their online school and make a meal. Nothing about this time is easy! 

Or, at least it isn’t for me. 

I wanted to share with you some of what’s been working for me personally. Not that I’m the pro here! But, a few practices seem to help me better balance and function neurologically…so far….

Turn off the fire hose:

Limit your exposure to news. There’s no benefit to having news or radio streaming all day long. In fact, it will do your head in! Decide on your credible news sources and have them “pushed” to you. Set a frequency for checking in; say twice a day and no more.

The same is true for the phone. It’s a great practice to “check out” for an hour several times a day. Yep. I mean literally turn your phone on airplane mode and set a “phone-free” timer! Or, better yet, put your phone in another room in the charger so you can’t reach for it. Phone addiction, or gently put over phone use, is a “rabbit hole” to be aware of and avoid as much as possible. 

I’m also a huge fan of a timer on my computer. I literally have mine set for every 90 minutes. When the alarm goes off, an image of Buddha appears on my screen. I put my computer in sleep mode and GET UP and leave the room, walk outside, stretch, clean the kitchen or paint or knit or sing or do a few down dogs. Any thing….for at least 15 minutes!!!

Oh and, Bluetooth is a bad idea. Turn it off when you can and consider non-bluetooth headgear! This recommendation makes me very unpopular with the men!

Create a Healing Environment:

I’m a big believer in the reality that I reflect my environment. So, I try to make my environment as healing as possible. How? Lots of sunlight! Fresh flowers or real plants. I have large diffusers going all day every day with fabulous oils ranging from Rosemary (for creativity), Peppermint (for energy and lung cleansing), Frankincense (anti-inflammatory and general air purifier), and Lemon (reduces anxiety and energising). I have diffusers on both sides of my bed going every night…and I sleep like a baby! I use Thieves, RC, and Immunopower. I apply other oils like perfume! I love Abundance the most.

Oh, and I have music going ALL the time while working or on client calls. I love this link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeMAzOqN7jY. I have different music going to clean up or to cook or to just dance to. Music, music, music!!! You know Spotify has playlist suggestions for everything from cleaning the bathroom to cooking! And, I dance and sing loudly and smile. The other trick I use is the head nod!  

The head nod is this simple. Stand up straight. Take your right ear to your right shoulder and then left ear to left shoulder as fast as you can safely! Like a head tick tock motion. Guaranteed you’ll smile within a minute. It’s impossible not to. Really!

Beam Me Up Scotty:

I have 4 times each day when I consciously choose to be elsewhere. 

When I first wake in the morning, I do two things. I express my gratitude that I woke. My daily morning prayer or mantra is: 

Dear God (or Source or higher self or whatever works for you), 

Thank you for another day. 

May today I be exactly where I’m meant to be, 

With whom I’m meant to be with, 

Doing my best to love and to heal, 

So that I might be of service to another sentient being on this day. 

This gift of today! 

I then do the “Check-In” Meditation. And, next up is a perfect cappuccino with a heavy frothed foam as my treat! 

I set aside two other times during the day when I take my breaks after spending 90 minutes on the computer.  I get up and change rooms or sit outside and meditate. I use breathing meditations to extend my lung capacity, highly oxygenate my body and beam me up and out of this world for a few moments.  

I fill up there in that higher space and end every meditation with the commitment to bring that peace, that sense of flow, of calm or capacity back here. Kind of like plucking a fruit and bringing it back to share. Up in that space, I picture a healed world where we are connected and loving. I see the planet heal and communities connect and the shifts that need to happen happening. That’s likely my highest service right now. To hold that space for me….and to share that fruit with others around me.

And, before I sleep, I always check out with my higher power and re-express my specific gratitudes for this day with the gentle hope that I’ll have another awakening. 

Reach out:

A Balinese friend lovingly told me years ago that the Balinese are like bees. The Balinese love to work together, not alone. Two go to the store together. Two tend the garden together. Two repair a broken rail. Two cook together. Sounds like genius to me!

While I’m very practiced being alone and I do love that space; I would more often choose to be with people than to be without. So, as the world changed suddenly, I made a list of the people I love. I literally made a list on my phone in notes. I used to have it broken down into friends and family and some geographies. But, the last 6++ months have made it very clear that my friends are my family and the geographical lines are meaningless when no one can get to anyone else anyway. I connect into that list daily to see who’s next to reach out to. When I’m on these “love” calls, I am sitting with my headset on (no Bluetooth) and my eyes closed. I’m wholeheartedly listening. After these calls or reach in messages, I feel so loved and safe. The feeling that “somehow it’s all going to be ok” fills my worry corners. 

Talk to Yourself:

Yep, like a crazy lady, I can be heard talking to myself much of the time. I never did this before! I ask myself, Anne, what do you think you want for dinner? Pasta? Just popcorn? Breakfast for dinner? Do you want to take a bath now? A little rest? Paint? Hike? Clean something up? Make something you can share? Can you stop working now? What really needs to get done today? I’m asking myself all the time how I am, what I need, what would be the most loving decision for me right now? And you know what, she ME answers every time. She likes it when I check in first! She likes it when I do less, less frenetically. She, ME, is feeling more loved and nurtured and listened to and cared for than ever in my past. I want to keep this behaviour forever. And, if I ever do need a padded room….purple, please.  

Upgrade that Thought:

I find myself wondering (sometimes aloud to myself) will we really wake up and make the changes we need to make? And then I catch that this is not my highest thought. My highest thought might be that we will wake up and we will make the changes needed and this will have all been for our own good. Or, I worry about someone who’s unwell, wondering if they’ll get better versus my thought upgrade. I send you all the loving healing energy and recognise that you are, were and always will be in higher hands. I send love and gratitude to the forest fighters fighting fires along the entire west coast of the USA. I sprinkle purple confetti love showers over my god-daughter in college to keep her healthy and happy. When my daughters leave for their important Wilderness Therapy fieldwork, I meditate filling them with purple hearts, as if they were crystals vases! When my husband needs something to happen a certain way at work, I meditate that it has already happened and why it would be of service to him, his family, his community, and the planet.

I notice when my thoughts are low vibe. I feel them. And, I try to consciously shift my thoughts to a high vibe. Sometimes there’s a stinkin’ thought that just isn’t easy to shift. I then stand and jump up and down 11 times. Little jumps. And, every time, it’s like something fell through the sifter and I have my higher thoughts available.  

Play with me on this one. Catch your thoughts and ask yourself…Is this thought my best thought. Smile. And, if it isn't’, shift it. You’re a miracle worker. So wave your wand and get to it! 

So turn off the fire hose, create a healing environment, beam up, reach out, talk to yourself and upgrade your thinking. 

These small small changes will help stave off unwelcome neurological possibilities from exhaustion, memory loss, delirium, headaches, inflammation, and decreased oxygen levels. And, ideally increase your dopamine and serotonin levels so that you can know pleasure, be motivated and act. Oh and walk straight, sleep and poop!

I just wanted to reach out and drizzle each of you with love and the capacity to navigate this time with grace.  

Consider yourself drizzled!

I’m here for you!



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