So I counted it out on the calendar, and we are now 12 weeks into the end of life as we once knew it.
And it’s not a lot of fun right now. Most of us have been sitting at home in semi- or complete isolation day after day after day. A lot of people have lost their jobs, and some of those who are still working are risking their lives to do it.
If I asked you to tell me all the ways that this pandemic has made your life worse and all the things you miss, you could come up with a pretty long list pretty quickly.
But in hard times like these, we also need to try to find some positive in it, and that’s my challenge to you today.
Hi, I’m Tony Dearing, of GoCogno.com, the website for people with mild cognitive impairment.
There are so many things I miss right now. I would give anything just to get in my car and drive to the Y and swim a few laps. Just to be in the water. And smell the chlorine. And see my buddies who I used to swim with all the time.
Plus, I need the exercise. I’m out of shape. I’m getting fat. I can’t eat some of the foods I really enjoy because I can’t afford the calories.
So yeah, I can whine and grouse and complain. Just wind me up and I’ll gripe on and on and on.
But what good is that going to do me? How is that going to make anything better?
So what I always try to do when I’m going a difficult time in life — the kind all of us are right now — is to find one good thing among all the bad.
Really, that’s the sole reason I started doing these videos in the first place.
I have told this story before, but I want to share it again. The sole reason I started doing these brain health videos every week was to honor my mother.
My mother had mild cognitive impairment, progressed a form of dementia called frontotemporal degeneration and died in 2014. And while that was happening, I knew nothing about brain health or dementia. I was in complete denial. I let my lack of knowledge paralyze me.
That day, I decided that I was going to learn everything I possibly could about brain health and the prevention of dementia and share it with anyone who might possibly benefit from it. And every Sunday since then, you’ve found me sitting right here, talking about what you can do to defend your cognition.
So this idea of finding something good in something bad is important to me and it’s what I’ve been trying to do during this coronavirus pandemic. But it’s been hard to find something positive.
Fortunately, I was listening to podcast and I happened to hear a guy named Stu McLaren, and he suggested something that helped me — and maybe will help you.
He said: “The silver lining is that, yes, people have been quarantined, and yes, people are at home, and yes, they’re not going to events where we’re getting together in large groups. But what has this done? What does this make possible? It means that people have more time. They’re at home, and they are looking to do something other than just sit on the couch and watch Netflix. So people are grasping this opportunity to be able to immerse themselves in things that they have wanted to do for a long time, but just haven’t had the chance.”
And I thought, yeah, that’s it. What is more precious than time? And in the world we live in today, what are we more starved for than time? Miserable as this pandemic has been, the one thing it’s given us is the gift of time.
And I love the idea of using that time to try something new, something we’ve always wanted to do and just never could seem to find the time for.
For people with MCI, that can be particularly beneficial. Neurologists talk about that all the time. One of the single best ways to strengthen cognition and reduce the risk of dementia is by engaging in cognitively stimulating activities. And one of the best ways to do that is by learning something new.
For me, I’ve started using that extra time at home to take up yoga, which we all know is an especially brain friendly activity. So I’m getting that cognitive benefit. I’m not losing any weight. But you know, at least my fat is more flexible.
But the question is, what about you? What have you always wanted to do? Do you find that you have more time now, and can you use that time to take up some new craft or hobby or interest? Today, I’m challenging you to try that, and tell me about it. What new activity have you tried, or are thinking of trying? Leave a comment below.
I hope to hear from you, and I look forward to seeing you again next week. Until then, as always, be kind to your mind.