How Lockdown Can Warp Your Sense Of Time



Few people with any social conscience would question the reasoning behind lockdown, when a pandemic that has killed upwards of half a million people worldwide shows no signs of going away. And those of us who understand the importance of not just avoiding infection for ourselves, but also of not passing it on to the most vulnerable, would never resent quarantine.

Pixabay – CCO Licence

However, one of the things that has been particularly difficult about these last few months, for a huge number of people, is that there has seemed to be no definitive end. 2020 started nearly seven months ago, but it’s been tough to track the passage of time. In some ways, the year could be just a couple of months ago while in others, it feels like it’s been going for twice as long as it actually has.

It’s worth thinking about what lockdown does to your sense of time, because this can help you deal with the difficulties it causes, so let’s look at why everything feels so stretched and unreal; reading through this information could help you get some sense of time and self back if you’ve been struggling.

We mark time off in landmark events

So many of us – without realizing we are doing it – tie our sense of time to events that happen along the way. Some people might remember that they graduated college in 1969, because they remember that it was right around the time that Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon. Equally, you might know that you were working in a certain place during 2007, because it’s when the final Harry Potter book was published. In short, we often use events as a way of marking off time.

The side effect of this is that, when much of the world is on pause, these major events don’t happen as often and one day, one week, runs pretty much into another. When you look back on 2020, will you remember what happened when? Possibly not, because when we don’t have events to call back to, time can feel like it loses meaning. Knowing this, it is useful if you can make your own events; try to do something each week to make it a little more special.

We aren’t having the same experiences we usually would

Whatever your usual routine may be, there can be no doubting that it will have taken a knock in 2020; there will be something you usually do that has been canceled due to the pandemic; an event or trip that you would normally look forward to is sure to have been postponed. The structure that underpins our lives has taken a blow, and as a result things are disorganized. 

In order to get more of your life back, it is essential to find a different routine and allow your life to take shape around that until things can get more back to normal. You might not be able to have a holiday abroad this year, but you can get some of the holiday experience by picking a country you’ve always wanted to visit, and for a few days or even a week you will eat the cuisine of that country, listen to its music, even watch YouTube videos of its great attractions like this fascinating look at Vienna’s Hofburg Palace.

We wake up with nowhere to go

Although the occasional day trip is more than possible within the rules of most places now, for many of us there is still a sense that each day is the same; you wake up, you go through your day, doing some work if you’re able to work from home, and then you go to bed, ready to repeat the process tomorrow. It’s more than possible that we’ll end the day in the same clothes we woke up in, and that’s bad for both our mental health and our appreciation of time.

In truth, even if you’re going to spend the day in lockdown, sometimes it’s essential to shake things up. If you’ve got to work, take your laptop outside and work in the garden. Check out the likes of SVD for some new clothes that you can be excited to wear. Build some spells that are different into your day, and you can be confident that life will start to get some variation back; all of which is essential for your well-being during lockdown.

Lockdown has been hard for us all – and if there is to be another wave of this pandemic, we might be faced with a lot more of it – so it’s important to make the most of the time we have within it.

This is a contributed post and therefore may not reflect the views and opinions of this blog or its author.

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