Executive Function in a Pandemic

If you follow my Instagram feed (and really, if you don’t, you should), you’ll know that I have been cooking like crazy but suffering from a variety of writer’s block. .There are all sorts of things at play here, to one degree or another. I could easily attribute it to my days being full of childcare, or I could point to my exhaustion at the end of the day. However, what resonates the most with my lived experience is a struggle with executive functioning.

In layman’s terms, the “executive function” system in your brain is the part of the brain that keeps you organized. It’s the part that makes to-do lists, has a sense of time, and nudges you to begin and continue tasks. It’s the part that needs support in individuals with ADD, and it’s one of the first things to misfire in people struggling with anxiety.

I know this. I’m a special ed teacher by trade.

I was reminded recently, in a tweet that has long since scrolled on by, that it is a very real, and common, response to trauma to have your executive functioning go all screwy. It really clicked with me – the malaise, the inertia, the confusion, the disorganization. It all matched what I was going through.

In short, this living through a pandemic thing is hard. I’m sure it doesn’t help that childcare and keeping the house stocked with necessities combine to take up most of my brain’s function.

My good intentions are with this blog, and as things feel less dire, hopefully my consistency will improve.

For now, I’ll leave you with a locavore tip that has little to do with cooking, but lots to do with enjoying things that are delicious: Four City Brewing, in Orange, NJ, makes delicious beer and delivers. We ordered from them on Friday, to go with a delivery meal from The OAK Barrel Pub. It was a welcome vacation from homemade meals.

By the way, if you’re concerned about the safety of ordering out, I totally understand. I was really hesitant to for the first few weeks. A doctor friend of mine posted this article about food safety, though, and I’ve heard others chime in in agreement that it is safe. We’ve adopted a policy of moving the food from the containers to our own dishes, then disposing of containers and washing hands before proceeding. I’m comfortable with this state of things, and it’s allowed us to continue to have some small comforts (and support some local businesses).

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