We’ve all experienced the feeling of staring into the distance, while your mind is busy processing, working out which day of the week it is. I’ve spoken to several friends and, other than one clearly more switched-on person in my social group, all admit to this being a weekly if not thrice weekly event.
You know those first 10 minutes of the day when you wake up and you’re working out how many minutes you can still lay in bed on your side with your eyes closed, still wishing you were asleep? The time you fail to achieve any true benefit, but know it’s 100% the best thing in the world to do at that point, where your “what is it I am getting up for today” thoughts start flowing in. Clearly this process requires a key piece of information – what day it is. This is normally that “have to think a bit harder for that answer” moment. However, I’m finding any time of day the “eerrrmmm, urrgghh, hhmmm” blank face can strike and hopefully “Tuesday, it’s Tuesday!” arrives before then.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is another symptom of COVID-19. Well actually, the symptom of the lock down, directly related to the pandemic, so I’m blaming COVID-19. We’re all being asked to live in restrictive ways, with the level of repetition in our lives significantly increased. This repetition leaves us with fewer and fewer identifiable moments during our waking day, the things normally helping us latch on to the constant nature of time. With less markers during the minutes and hours, we’re struggling to keep a mental reference to time.
If you’re anything like me in working from home, it feels like a conveyor belt existence.
This is all spent within the same location and so it’s no wonder days morph into one, that yesterday felt the same as the day before. This is also having a significant impact on the speed of time. This year has had periods where I write a date out or look to schedule something and the realisation it’s the end of the month in a few days hits you – What the heck, where did September go?!
I’ve been reading up on the impact of working from home under lockdown and how it has applied to my life. I rarely work from home, I don’t enjoy working from home, historically I mostly did it when I needed to get something done uninterrupted. I’ve fallen into the trap of working more; with breakfast and lunch at work area, working right up to dinner etc. All within a consistent routine.
Time to put some effort into breaking this. Research clearly shows that for time to slow down and for memories to be implanted, we need things to be different, unique. If you’re still in a lockdown situation, as many of us are in some form, the following are simple things to help make a difference.
- Walk to work
- No, walking down the stairs is not enough! Go out, walk different routes, and arrive at work. Yes, it’s still home, but give yourself the activity and chance to put yourself in the right mindset that you’re going to work.
- This is also great for giving you the space to think things through calmly before you see the carnage of your inbox.
- Take meaningful breaks and do something different
- You can work around your work hours. If you need to complete eight hours in a working day, try talking to your employer about breaking up your schedule, they should praise you for working flexibly to keep your mental state in a good place. Mow the lawn, run your errands, bake a cake. These are all things you can fit around your work time.
- Mix things up
- If you like exercising, find something else to add to the option list; ride a bike, run, create a home gym, or order the gold net so you can practice your swing. Exercise is also a key ingredient to good mental health.
- Where safe to do so, find new places to take a walk.
- If you normally read books of one genre such as crime or fantasy, change it up for non-fiction or take the chance to read one of the classics.
- Take up a new hobby, it doesn’t need to be based on you watching an episode of “Forged in Fire,” learn a musical instrument.
- Whatever you normally do, change it for something along the same line, but different.
These activities are likely to provide benefits, not just to fix the brain fade introduced by the monotonous regularity of our COVID-induced routine, but to enhance almost any life routine. Changing things up, giving yourself new challenges, and doing things in different ways and in a different order is something to embrace and might even make your internal clock run a tad bit slower—it’s worth a shot, right?
Hopefully I’m going to take more of my sage advice and reduce my need to think about it being a errrmmm… Tuesday, today!