What day is it?
Has this question been on your mind lately? It’s no surprise given the weeks without end under a “shelter in place” order that the majority of America and the world is following for the time being. We mark the days and the weeks by certain rhythms, such as going to work, the children going to school, the weekend with an often errand-filled Saturday, date night Saturday, and a relaxing Sunday.
Goodbye schedule, Goodbye rhythms. We are in new territory indeed!
I was reading an article in the New York Times discussing the phenomenon of losing track of the days. The article points to more stress, anxiety, and uncertainty as several factors combined with a lack of rhythms to mark and differentiate time for ourselves. After all, time is made up by man. Man decided to carve out a five-day work week and two days at the end of each week to rest and relax. He also carved out the working hours of 9 to 5.
All of us pretty much abide by these artificial designations because it’s always been this way and we conduct our lives accordingly based on the day of the week and the time of day. What happens when none of that matters or makes sense?
Some of us are working from home so that gives some sense of how a day is supposed to be spent — but even then there is no space differentiation from working at home to being at work. We are just at home round the clock, i.e. living, working, keeping kids busy, and more. The days of the week are blending together and so it would be easy to work on a Saturday as it is a Tuesday.
What if you aren’t working? Then this is time out of time for you. Your routine has been completely disrupted. There is literally is no where to go and nothing to do outside. You are called to shelter in place day after day with no change. Time often doesn’t feel like that – it speeds up, it slows down, it tells us where we need to be, it keeps track of the hours we work and sleep, and how long it takes to cook something.
Time is still making up each of our days, but what does it matter when we struggle to see or feel any of it right now? Here are a few tips to help yourself keep track of the days and time that makes it up:
- If you aren’t keeping track of the days or you are finding it difficult, don’t fight against it. Give in and see what it is like to feel time differently, if you feel it at all. This is a unique situation and surely one where you can learn about you and your family.
- If it is important to track time, then orientate yourself to the day of the week upon waking up, “Today is Monday.”
- Once you have grasped the day of the week, approach it as you would that type of day in regular times. Is it Monday? Get up and begin your week. Is it Saturday? Perhaps the day you go out and grocery shop? Is it a Friday night, perhaps a date night?
- To shake it up a bit, once you remember the day, turn it on its head and do the opposite of what you are normally supposed to do on that day. As an example, on a Wednesday, spend the day watching shows. Just experiment with turning the normal routine of time on its head.
- Remember time has not changed — there are still 24 hours in the day, making up 7 days in a week, making up the 12 thirty or thirty-one day months, making up the 352 days in the year. How we experience this time is what has changed. Notice and observe yourself moving through this time and perhaps journaling about how it feels the same and different.
What day is it? I am often wondering it myself these days. Know you are not alone in feeling lost in how we have made up our systems of time. Lost is not a failure, but rather a place to explore and find unique ways to cope and turn time on its head for a split second of eternity.