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A mental health expert is sharing some tips on sharpening people's brain function if they have been feeling 'foggy' or 'fuzzy' during the pandemic. 

Terry Warburton is the Clinical Director at Recovery of Hope Counselling in Winnipeg.

"Many of us are finding that we don’t have the mental quickness that we used to have. Sometimes I have attributed it to my age, but many people of all ages have said they have the same experiences," says Warburton.

It may not be unusual for people's minds to be overwhelmed, considering the pandemic year. 

"Multitasking, stressors and lack of sleep brought on by this COVID year have created a mental overload. This is probably affecting us all, more than we even know, and this is probably particularly true for parents who have children at home."

She says that memory in our brain is affected from the hormone that people's body produces when they're stressed, called cortisol.

"Managing too many details can make us foggy and make us feel like our memory is failing us. There are often many things that we are trying to keep track of all at once, especially if we have children in school and are navigating some virtual learning as well.  Pre-COVID, life used to be divided into categories, like work, school, extracurricular activities, music lessons. Many of these things have now been muddled together without clear lines between them and this strains our cognitive abilities."

On top of changing schedules and routines, parents have been consistently asked to stay away from people with the provincial restrictions, which for many means the family they're used to being around. 

"We were never meant to parent alone. As families, we are meant to be part of an attachment village for our children, where there are not only parents, but extended family, grandparents,  aunts and uncles, teachers, and coaches. Part of the stress of parenting is that some of us feel that we don’t have extra support. We might feel alone in our parenting role."

Warburton suggests parents who are feeling particularly isolated or overwhelmed reach out for help.

She shares her advice that may help people in their 'mental fog'. 

"Going outside spending time in nature helps to clear out the fog in our brains and it reduces anxiety. Another important step that we can take is to reduce the multitasking that we are doing.  We can also take a good hard look at our schedule and responsibilities and drop the things that we can from our schedules."