The pandemic may have disrupted daily life but it sped up our brains. Here’s how to reset your pace.

Woman leaning her head back, eyes closed, with a peaceful look.
Woman leaning her head back, eyes closed, with a peaceful look.
Photo: David Sacks/Getty Images

Is it any wonder the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown our sense of time out of whack? We’ve been forced to “slow down” whether we wanted to our not — barely leaving our homes, canceling social engagements — but at the same time, our minds are moving faster than ever. We’re processing huge amounts of information and dealing with enormous upheaval, flicking between health and politics and work and relationships at a phenomenal rate. Life has gone into overdrive even as it has ground to a halt.

“We need to be clear about what we mean by ‘slow’ and ‘fast’,” says…


The coronavirus pandemic is a breeding ground for false beliefs

Illustration: María Medem

It took almost no time for the conspiracy theories to emerge. Coronavirus is an engineered bioweapon made by the Chinese. It originated in a lab in Wuhan, or was created by the U.S. military. It’s an evil plot devised by Bill Gates to enforce mass vaccination and control us. It was caused by 5G masts broadcasting electromagnetic waves.

Conspiracy theorists have existed for decades, but in recent years, they’ve become more prominent and their beliefs more mainstream. Recent data from the Pew Research Center suggest that a third of Americans believe coronavirus was created in a laboratory. …


Your brain wants to protect you from your own decisions, but you can decide to override it

Photo: alvarez/Getty Images

Deciding to become a full-time freelance writer was itself a full-time job for me. I spent hours every day — for months — making lists of the pros and cons of being self-employed. But the more I deliberated over it, the more anxious I got, and then I would start the process all over again.

It feels a lot like what happens at the supermarket: I’ll pick up a box of cereal only to put it back down again and come back to it later.

The human instinct to weigh up the risks associated with each option is a survival…


If you don’t do it, nobody else will

Credit: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty

We’re often told that success is not about what you know but who you know. The implication there, of course, is that we should all get to know more of the right people — so we should all get busy building our personal brands, expanding our networks, and leveraging our contacts.

Of course, that’s all easier said than done. It can be difficult to strike the right balance between highlighting your abilities and bragging, and uncomfortable to try. Why do we find it so hard to promote ourselves, even when we need to?

“There’s a pervasive stereotype of this pushy…


It’s a scenario nobody wants to find themselves in, but experts have tips on how to talk to a person in crisis

A closeup shot of two unrecognizable people holding hands in comfort
A closeup shot of two unrecognizable people holding hands in comfort
Photo: PeopleImages/E+/Getty

Several years ago, I was walking across a bridge in central London with a friend when something caught my eye. A man who looked to be in his early twenties was standing very close to the edge. It was only as I got closer that I realized he was on the wrong side of the barrier. He was going to jump.

What happened next is a blur. I remember thinking that I wouldn’t be able to grab him if he fell, because of where he was balanced. Several other people had noticed him, too, and one woman took his arm…


The freelance life has its own stresses

Stressed at work.
Stressed at work.
Photo: mapodile/Getty

When I decided to go freelance two years ago, it was to avoid anxiety. I was commuting on cramped public transport, putting in long hours, and rarely switching off. This can be exhilarating and energizing for some people, but for me, it was unhealthy. Every morning, I’d wake up feeling nauseous, my stomach churning with dread at the day ahead. I was exhausted but couldn’t sleep. I began to have panic attacks.

So I quit. And I haven’t regretted it. Now I’m able to do my job — and enjoy it — while managing my health.

Sort of.

It turns…

Lydia Smith

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