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Why We Lose Track Of Time In Quarantine

Popularity 1Viewed 1274 times 2020-4-23 15:15 |System category:Life| The, Psychology, Behind

A common refrain during the COVID-19 pandemic: Life is a blur. The days all seem to blend together — is it Tuesday or Friday? And the line between work and leisure time is obscured when your living room doubles as your home office.
Any time we have a big change in routine, this happens,We are accustomed to a certain amount of structure to our days. Moving to working from home disrupts the structure.Know that if you’re constantly confused about what day it is, you’re not the only one. This is a very common phenomenon 
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.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 in to work.

Working from home means that you no longer need to commute to and from the office — a built-in ritual that helped delineate between on- and off-hours. Plus, physically being at the office signaled that you were in work mode, while being home meant it was time to relax. If you worked Monday through Friday at a certain location, then the weekends marked a change.If you are now working from home and have nothing different that happens on the weekend, there is nothing to signify a change in days.If you had a consistent work schedule prior to the outbreak, working well into the evening can throw off your sense of time. 

Whether it’s logging extra time on your work laptop, scrolling on your smartphone, binge-watching TV or playing video games all night, the increased exposure to these blue-light emitting devices can disrupt the body’s internal biological clock, known as the circadian clock.Plus, many of the apps and games people turn to as an escape from stress are designed to pull you in and hold your attention for long stretches of time. And with much of our time spent indoors, we are limiting our exposure to natural light, which is an important external factor in resetting our circadian rhythms.

These days, you may find yourself staying up later at night because you don’t have to get up as early in the morning or because anxiety-induced insomnia is making it hard to fall asleep. What’s more, we may be staying in bed a bit longer after waking up, since there may no longer be an external push to get up and get going.When your sleep schedule is all over the place, it also throws off your circadian rhythm, which contributes to you feeling out of sync. Not waking up at approximately the same time each day may also lead to distortions in how we experience time, since it leads to some days being a lot ‘shorter’ or ‘longer’ than others.

Add some structure to life in quarantine by anchoring your days with certain rituals you do at the same time each day — like having coffee at 8 a.m., prepping a healthy lunch at 1 p.m. and taking a walk at 6 p.m. after you’ve finished the workday. Think of other activities in relation to these activities.For example, divide your day into ‘before lunch’ and ‘after lunch', and organize other activities into these smaller chunks of time. Instead of thinking, ‘I need to do laundry today,’ think ‘I need to do laundry before lunch.You can also tag activities to these anchoring activities.For example, after I take my daily walk around the neighborhood, I start making dinner.Then, to differentiate one day from the next, make new weekly traditions.

Plan specific fun activities you reserve for days off or things you only do on days off.I have work-related books that I used to read on the weekend, and now I have been strict in telling myself to only read them during the week. know this is a little thing, but the little things can make a big difference to help you distinguish the work week from the weekend. Put away your home office accessories and work materials on your days off so they’re not occupying your living space. 

Find little ways to care for yourself every day. Maybe that’s doing a guided meditation, taking a bath, writing in a journal or diving into a hobby like knitting. If possible, block out time each day to not work and do something enjoyable or focused on self-care.Keep this time consistent Monday through Friday.If the weather permits, make sure you are getting exposure to sunlight during the day,This helps your body know what time it is. It also can help improve your mood.

When our days are as unstructured as they currently are, getting ‘lost’ in this way can feel unnerving.In the moments you’re feeling overwhelmed by the state of things or anxious about the future, grounding techniques can soothe you and bring you into the present moment

If you're never sure what day it is anymore, you're not the only one.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Comment Comment (3 comments)

Reply Report Zorro2 2020-4-23 16:57
Life is a blur. The days all seem to blend together — is it Tuesday or Friday?
Reply Report Liononthehunt 2020-4-23 18:43
What most frustrates people working from home is that therea re too many distractions around you, l just think nothing of losing track of time.
Reply Report Zorro2 2020-4-26 16:36
Liononthehunt: What most frustrates people working from home is that therea re too many distractions around you, l just think nothing of losing track of time.
we are not adaptive to wok from home. and also we become more tired then working from outside of home.

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