Welcome to ‘day’.
Which day? My MacBook tells me it’s April 29, and a Wednesday, or ‘fake Thursday’ because Friday is a public holiday, which means that Thursday is ‘fake Friday’.
This generally only applies to those of us working from home during the lockdown, and even so, I need to remind myself of where we are in the week so that I don’t get up early on a Saturday.
For many of you out there, it’s simply ‘day’, signified by the fact that the sun is out. The lockdown has eliminated regular workdays. There are no more weekends or weekdays and it’s left our internal clocks horribly confused.
CBS Local expands on this phenomenon:
Along with these feelings of disorientation, it may seem like it’s getting harder to concentrate and taking longer to complete tasks, as if our brains are just working more slowly.
Experts say that there’s a simple explanation for all of this – the pandemic is affecting our ability to learn, think, and retain information.
“It is a perfect storm between changes in environment, loss of social anchors and increases in cognitive stress,” said Elissa Epel, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. “And then on top of that, most of us are not getting the quality sleep that we used to.”
Let’s break down some of the things getting in the way of normal functioning.
No More Routines
As much as you hated that early commute to work, it was part of a routine that kept you going during the week. We rely on physical and social experiences to help us organise the days into units of time, and weekends acted as a boundary between labour and relaxation.
Now it’s all Netflix, all the time, and that can be exhausting. The added strain of physical distancing and remembering hygiene protocols can also leave you feeling disoriented. Ordinary things like a counter in a shop is no longer a counter. It’s a potentially infected surface that could transfer the virus.
So Much Multitasking…
You have two options if you have kids. You can either have a good day, or you can help your child with their maths homework. You can’t have both.
Parents have found themselves having to take on multiple roles such as teacher, parent, and working mom or dad, all in the same place and often at the same time.
If you live alone, that pile of dinner plates that you’d normally ignore until you arrived home from work is now judging you from the sink.
This all leads to cognitive overload, making it more difficult to concentrate on one task.
Being unable to remember the day could also have something to do with stress. You might not even realise that you’re stressed or suffering from low-level depression.
The pandemic has been going on for weeks. We live from update to update, and it’s hard to imagine a future where we’ll see friends and family, or go into the office again. All of that takes its toll on your mental wellbeing.
So What Can We Do About It?
We have some suggestions on how to optimise your time during lockdown, especially if you’re working from home.
If you’re facing lockdown alone, here are some tips to stay sane.
For the gamers out there, Animal Crossing works in real-time, with tasks that require you to keep track of days. It can help to keep you on top of things when time feels relative.
Try to institute some kind of routine that separates your weekdays from your weekend. Take frequent breaks, exercise, and limit COVID-19 news consumption.
Finally, remember that you’re not alone.
Nobody knows what day it is.
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