LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — June is Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month, and the Alzheimer's Association is encouraging all Arkansans to make brain health an important part of their return to normal.
Executive Director of Alzheimer's Association - Arkansas Chapter Kirsten Dickins shares five tips to help people as they resume their lives and return to normal.
“We all know that following more than a year of this unprecedented stress and anxiety, engaging in activities that are good for the brain may be more important now than ever,” says Dickins. “Some of our reports indicate that chronic stress like that experience during the current pandemic can impact memory, mood, and anxiety, which I know I have definitely felt some.”
Stress and anxiety can also promote inflammation in the brain and other potentially damaging conditions affecting brain function.
Kirsten shares 5 suggestions to promote brain health and to help people restore their mental wellbeing:
1. Recommit to brain healthy basics
Evidence suggests that healthy behaviors took a back seat for many Americans during the pandemic. Eating a healthy diet and exercising as a regular routine can protect your brain’s cognitive function.
2. Return to normal at your own pace
“We don’t need to feel like we’re rushed,” says Dickins. “I know many of us are eager to return to normal, but we also don’t want to increase our anxiety.”
The suggestion is to take small steps. It may be good to set some boundaries and communicate your preferences of what you’re comfortable with to others in your social or work circles.
3. Help others
"Helping others makes us feel good and feel useful," says Dickins. "Research shows that helping others in a crisis can be an effective way to alleviate stress and anxiety."
4. Unplug and disconnect
Many of us have had to rely on technology during the pandemic, but it doesn’t always have a great impact on our cognitive function or our rest. We want to make sure that we take the time to move away from technology as we have the opportunity to do so.
5. Control your stress before it controls you
Make sure that you are stepping into what you are comfortable with and that you don’t feel pushed or pressured to jump into that too early make your own decisions.