Coronavirus: Why time feels like it’s speeding up, slowing down right now

Does it feel like the days are dragging on and on right now? Or do the hours feel like they’re speeding up?

No, you’re not losing your mind staying home, not able to go about your routine.

Psychologists say it happens when a routine changes drastically.

Even if we’re still working, we’re not going through the normal routine that helps give us our daily benchmarks.

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There’s no 10 a.m. trip to Starbucks. There’s no kibbitzing with co-workers at the proverbial water cooler at 11 a.m.

We barely know what time it is now, let alone what day it is.

“This is a very common phenomenon. All my clients have reported it to some degree,” Zainab Delawalla, a clinical psychologist in Atlanta told the Huffington Post.

Not only do you not do your normal routine of get up, work, go to the gym, come home, but part of the problem is also you’re always home. There is no ramp-up in the commute to work or the reset that comes when commuting home.

“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," psychologist Rebecca Leslie told HuffPost.

You may be working more and even if you’re not working, you’re looking at a screen all of the time. The blue light generated by cellphones, tablets and even some televisions can disrupt your internal clock, HuffPost reported.

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Even during downtime, our routines have changed.

We have had to live by suggestions, even rules, about how to keep not only ourselves healthy, but also other family members.

That will make the perception of time move faster, but then the slow times come when we try to mentally process everything, Quartz reported.

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A normal day may bring 10 decisions, Quartz gave as an example. But now, “On any given day during the pandemic, you might that have literally made a hundred decisions and that’s why the day feels like a month,” Dawna Ballard, a chronemics expert at the University of Texas at Austin said.

“You are quickly managing a lot of new things, and that, at the same time, makes you feel like ‘It can’t be the same day that I woke up to,’" Ballard added.

So how can you make adjustments to help deal with the passage of time, whether it is fast or slow?

Ballard said try not to multitask, do less when you can and slow down, Quartz reported.

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But at the same time, set a routine and stick to it, Delawalla told the Huffington Post. When you do that, make sure you save things to do that will only be done on weekends. Don’t mix weekday activities with weekend ones. Finally, when work is done, pack up. Don’t let work bleed over into your personal time.

Also, make sure you can get outside and get some sunlight. Not only does it demark the time, but it also can improve your mood, Delawalla told the Huffington Post.

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