Liza Hinchey is a Limited Licensed Professional Counselor (LLPC) in private practice at Trinity Family Counseling Center. Liza completed dual Master’s degrees in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Art Therapy from Wayne State University, and works with individuals, families, and groups across a range of presenting issues.
When your environment is uncertain, your brain shifts much of its energy into preparing you to quickly adapt to the next unpredictable situation you find yourself in. As the word “unpredictable” suggests, that is quite a challenging job. So, while your brain is busy trying its best to complete this task, you may experience a few side effects:
Lack of focus – When stressed, the part of your brain that helps you focus and plan (the prefrontal cortex), can be partially shut down as other parts of your brain work harder in an effort to keep you prepared for potential danger.
Feeling overly tired – Your brain burns energy much faster than usual when in a crisis.
Feeling like you should take advantage of this time to be creative (e.g. paint, bake, learn), but feeling creatively blocked – In the “fight or flight” state, your brain diverts energy away from creativity and towards survival.
Goals that were important to you don’t seem important right now – Your brain is focusing on the here and now, rather than on the future. It’s better from a survival standpoint (e.g. if you were in danger, you would need to focus on the immediate situation to survive).
None of these feelings or states of being are personal flaws or failures on your part. They are simply side effects of your brain trying to keep you alive and safe when it senses danger. Whatever you are feeling or not feeling, doing or not doing, is okay (and temporary).