Why We've Lost Track of Time During Quarantine, According to Psychologists
Plus, learn how to get your routine back on track.
For weeks, Americans have been self-isolating due to the coronavirus pandemic, and whether you've been working from home or have had to navigate the task of at-home learning with your children (or sometimes both), it's safe to say that everyone's routines have been drastically changed. A common phenomenon many people who have been isolated at home are now reporting? Feeling confused about the date or time. So, if you've been losing track of what day or time it is, know that you're not alone. Psychologists explain that a lack of routine has caused a shock to our internal clocks, according to the Huffington Post.
If you or your child had a certain activity on a designated day of the week, such as a fitness class or after-school club, that routine has likely gone out the window. "You naturally did something different on work-out days, for example, like pack a gym bag, or wake up earlier, which made those days distinctive," Zainab Delawalla, a clinical psychologist, told HuffPost. "You knew it was Thursday, not only by looking at your calendar but because on Thursdays, you set your alarm for 7 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m., or you picked up bagels for the team on your way into work. Without these distinctions, all the days 'feel' the same, and it's hard to keep track," she says.
You may also find that you're working more than ever without a proper start and end to your work day, or the usual lunch break. According to psychologist Rebecca Leslie of Living Fully Psychological Services, her clients agree that the lack of a standard end time to the workday "can make the timing of days feel confusing."
To combat feelings of confusion or loss of control, psychologists advise creating structured days, just like you did pre-quarantine. Wake up at the same time each day, work out with the same frequency as you were previously, and eat your meals at the same time. Experts also advise getting outside every day, trying a grounding or meditation exercise, set aside time for self-care, and make your workdays look different than the weekends.