How Do You Keep Your Brain Healthy During COVID-19?

September 22, 2020

How Do You Keep Your Brain Healthy During COVID-19?

In the beginning of the pandemic, most of us were doing fairly well emotionally, physically and cognitively, but the longer we are isolating at home, the harder it is for many of us to stay positive. Older adults and those with compromised immune systems are told to stay home as much as possible and to socially distance ourselves from others. Unfortunately, this can lead to decreased physical, cognitive and emotional health. In order for us to maintain or improve our brain health, we need to regularly exercise our bodies and minds and also be socially engaged with others. How do we do this while staying safe?

AgeWell Atlanta provides a wonderful variety of weekly exercise classes and educational programs, livestreamed via Zoom (if interested, contact AgeWell Atlanta at 1-866-243-9355). You can also get free exercise videos through YMCA360 and YouTube videos. Walking is great exercise and doing gentle yoga stretches in your chair also helps. Set a clock or alarm to go off at least every hour to get up and move for 10 minutes. Put on some of your favorite music and dance. It has been shown that listening to music you love can have healing powers and helps not only your body, but also cognitive functioning, especially with an individual living with dementia. Check out the movie, Alive Inside on Amazon to see a truly remarkable film about music and memory.

To maintain cognitive health, try to create a daily schedule, because having structure in these uncertain times is beneficial. Take up new interests and hobbies or take a class on one of the many free online opportunities through If you love to read, read books that you normally would not pick up. Read Fiction if you prefer Non-Fiction and Non if you only read Fiction. Or start listening to books on tape. Changing up what you normally read and how you read, can create changes in the brain, much like taking up a new hobby. Learn how to play an instrument, or if you already play, learn new pieces of music instead of playing music you already know. If you enjoy cooking, try memorizing the steps to a new recipe and then cook the item totally from memory. Anything to keep your brain active and sharp! And for a fun way to exercise your mind and body, while socializing with others, join our Zoom weekly Brain Health Boot Camp class. For more information, contact Georgia Gunter, at 770-677-9421 or

If you do not have access to a computer, here are a few more ways to work your brain:

  • Try doing things with your non-dominant hand
  • Wear your watch upside down on your wrist or read things upside down. Your brain will need to work harder to read the time or decipher upside down words.
  • Memorize a sequence of words and then recite them in backwards order
  • Learn memorization techniques using mnemonics, such as the Method of Loki, also known as the Roman Room Technique. This is a great way to remember items you need at the store without writing them down.

Physical and cognitive exercises can create positive changes in your life, but do not forget to get plenty of sleep, and eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat proteins. Learn techniques to help your emotional well-being such as stretching throughout the day and meditating for as little as 10 minutes. And give back to others. Regularly call someone you know on the phone to just say hi or send cards to individuals who may benefit from a cheery note. This can bring joy to their life and so easy to do. You can volunteer from your own living room and this helps give you a sense of purpose from helping others. And remember, once the pandemic is over, continue working on keeping your brain healthy and staying socially engaged. You will not regret it!