If you have had COVID-19, it might still be playing with your mind.
COVID-19 is frequently cited as a primary cause of the increase in persons suffering brainfog during this epidemic. While there is evidence that the virus has a specific pathway through the brain, there are also many reasons why the pandemic experience in general could affect your ability to concentrate, stay motivated or organize words and thoughts. Even without a COVID infection, long term exposure to stress can cause symptoms related to brain fog.
What is Post Covid acute neurological syndrome?
According to Premier Neurology & Wellness Center, the virus appears to be neurotropic, which means it enters brain cells and nervous system cells. Yoga impacts the nervous system by using the breath in combination with movement to activate the autonomic nervous system.. You may have neurological symptoms such as post covid dizziness, headaches, fatigue, disorientation, loss of taste or smell, changed mental state, depression, anxiety and, in severe cases, seizures during or after COVID-19. All of these states can be affected through the practice of specific yoga techniques.
Many COVID-19 infected patients experience symptoms of post covid brain fog, including difficulty concentrating, failure to accomplish activities, and forgetfulness. Meditation has been proven to increase gamma waves, which support cognitive function- including working memory, attention and perceptual grouping.
Furthermore, the post COVID brain is connected to movement problems ranging from tremors and involuntary muscular contractions to epileptic seizures, hearing and visual impairments, balance and coordination issues, and other symptoms akin to Parkinson’s disease.One of the ways that yoga trains the body is with bilateral movements, (coordinating movements from both side of the body)- this is essential for balanced, integrated and stable movement. Bilateral movement in the body also stimulates the brain.
Is Covid Brain Fog Permanent?
Symptoms are as follows: Difficulty concentrating, memory loss, attention difficulties, fatigue, inability to multitask, lack of motivation and easily confused.Fortunately, when most patients recover from COVID-19, these symptoms resolve within a few weeks.
Even without a COVID infection, you may have days in which you feel you are not operating at your best. You feel sluggish or tired, as though you are in a fog. You might experience brain fog as a temporary symptom when you have not slept enough, or your body has been under persistent stress. Some COVID long haul patients have reported some level of brain fog lasting for weeks or months.
It’s normal to desire a quick treatment to get rid of brain fog- many people use caffeine to make them feel more alert. Unfortunately this is a temporary fix that often results in a crash later in the day. A daily yoga practice can be very effective in providing long lasting relief from this frustrating symptom. Many who have committed to using yoga and meditation have found the brain fog dissipated within a couple of months..
Alleviate Post Covid brain fog
If there is an underlying cause for brain fog, your dr. may be able to advise you, but If the cause of brain fog is unknown or there is no recognized cure, here are six suggestions to help remove the brain fog:
- Spend less time on computer and mobile phone- these activities increase vata (the ayurvedic dosha related to air and wind) . We may be attracted to them for the temporary “hit” of energy we receive, but they ultimately deplete us and increase the experience of a racing mind. Remind yourself to take a real break. It might be best to momentarily quit and find more enjoyable activities outdoors.
- Try to focus on positive thoughts. Whatever is in the mind, goes everywhere in the body. Increase positive thinking and reduce stress using breathing focus, or pranayama. Make a practice of noticing your breath. First count the length of your inhale, then your exhale. (for example : inhale to a count of four, exhale to a count of four). Slowly begin to lengthen your exhale so the ratio is 4:6 or 4:8. Spending more time in the exhale will increase a feeling of calm. Make this a daily practice, use as often as needed and notice measurable changes to your state.
Here are a few other activities to try:
- Walking at a rate that slightly elevates the heart rate (speed walking not necessary!) Even 10 minutes may boost your mood. Walking in nature is clarifying to the system.
- Meditation sharpens mental focus. Finding stillness in the body, equanimity in the breath, and linking the mind to something that is supportive can profoundly impact the practitioner’s perception and mental clarity.
- Physical asana that offers even minimal challenge has been found to improve cognitive function.
- Gentle yoga postures before bedtime helps reduce insomnia and better sleep is linked to reduced brain fog.
With regular practice, you create a well of calm to dip into as the need arises to combat stress and improve mental clarity.