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Mental Health COVID-19

Has Time Gotten Away From You During the Pandemic?

We’ve been stuck in the present. Which is a weird thing to start with considering the myriad of literature found both on the web or otherwise championing the significance of living in the moment, why now are we stuck in it?

We have developed our habits around our ability to structure, manage, manipulate and make sense of our experience of time. According to Einstein, “Time is relative,” meaning that each of us has a different concept of time. We are individually and constantly, “fighting to find time”, “make up for lost time”, create new and improved efficiency mechanics to “save time”, all while wondering, “where has the time gone?”

As the current pandemic management teeters between returning to normalcy and, well, not, Corona time has hijacked the way we experience our lives. Many of us have lost track of time, stuck in a present of restrictive time blocks with names like “quarantine”, “lockdown”, “work-from-home”, and so on, making it hard to plan ahead. We are stuck because we are unable to imagine a future that looks different from the present.

Read on to find out what you can do about it.

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Lean into it

There’s an idiom that states “nothing is certain but death and taxes”. The quote repeated by Benjamin Franklin and countless others shows that uncertainty is, and has always been, part of life.

When things don’t go according to plan, we tend to struggle against what is painful or unpleasant to chase idealised realities where we hope to feel more secure and comfortable. Our brains, unfortunately, have a habit of fixating on the negative with great detail whilst casually forgetting the positive aspects of our lives. As a result, we get caught up with every grievance and annoyance, increasing our stress levels and leaving us feeling helpless and frustrated.

The act of embracing challenges, especially with determination and tenacity, can be empowering. Instead of letting Corona time, uncomfortable as it may be, hold us back, embracing it as a means to make sense of it can potentially lead us to exploit it to our own benefit.

Modify your routine mindfully

Besides pushing back the Olympics, weddings, and holidays, to adapt to Corona time, we had to reconstruct the way we mark the passage of time. Where before we included travel time to help us distinguish between work, home, and leisure, movement restrictions and physical distancing have forced new rhythms to be implemented.

We have had to keep calm and carry on juggling Zoom meetings, project deadlines, homeschooling schedules, the best times to go to the grocers, that 6 pm post-work vice, baking bread (or your favourite hobby) over the weekend, and somehow still make time to rest and recharge while trying to stay sane and capable and functional as the pandemic continues.

It feels as if the pandemic has not only changed our routine but has also set us adrift to float through Corona time on autopilot. Here are three quick tips to remember when you feel frustrated or overwhelmed:

Simplify your morning

Instead of doing more, try doing less. All you really need are the basics: have a shower, don’t forget to brush your teeth, put on something other than pyjamas, have breakfast. Work out during lunch if it suits you. Under-schedule your day.

Keep your promises to yourself

Not only does this build self-confidence, but it can also re-establish healthy habits. Be disciplined about your work hours. Limit your social media time. Focus on what is directly in front of you, one step at a time. Be patient.

Stay connected

People are innately social beings and speaking to others can help reboot one’s perception of time. Try spending 5 minutes talking to a loved one on the phone or schedule a remote therapy session with a mental health professional.

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Reclaim the future

Our experiences of Corona time have trained us in temporal thought and flexibility. The concept of tricking time or future tricking is based on the idea that because time is a social construct and a resource that can change, we can reframe our understanding of it according to our need. This has left us to be more creative with our relations to time. We can trick time by finding ways to speed up or slow down, bend and restructure time in different ways.

Here are some ideas to adjust your concept of time to suit your needs:

  • Speed up time: Have more fun listening to music, spending time doing what you love. Ditch the watch.
  • Slow down time: Be more disciplined in waking up earlier or reading challenging books. Practice meditation.
  • Stop time: Try living in the moment by being spontaneous and improvising. Capture memories through pictures.
  • Save time: Be intentional with time management, prioritise tasks. Avoid perfectionism.

We cannot change the number of hours in a day nor stockpile it for future use. Time is a flexible tool and the only way to get unstuck from the present is to fill up our days with meaning and purpose. 

The Naluri app connects members to a team of health and wellness coaches to help you become your healthiest and best self, both physically and mentally. Schedule a demo for more info.

Written by:
Chloe Pharamond