Making Sense of Time in Quarantine – Some Suggestions

Making Sense of Time in Quarantine – Some Suggestions

Back when I was touring…you know, a month ago…I had this odd thing that happened regularly.

Most of the time, I was on the go. I had shows in the morning, afternoon, evening or all three, and they could be anywhere in the country.

The odd thing that would happen is that I would have the day off, get up leisurely, have my day, and then realize I needed something from the store. I’d get in my car, head out of my neighborhood, and discover that there were tons of cars everywhere! I’d miss light cycles, deal with impatient drivers, and find myself creeping to the store.

I would be so annoyed. “Why are all of these crazy people on the road like this on Saturday afternoon?”

Then, my brain would jolt back into reality: You are the crazy person. Today is Wednesday!

You see, any day I didn’t work in the midst of my crazy schedule always felt like Saturday. I was home, my husband works from home, I got two cups of tea, had a nice breakfast, got to do some housekeeping, hung out with my pets, did some writing, and made some plans about shows, or

projects. Sometimes I even gardened, and of course, during the spring and summer, I get on my bike.

That sounds like Saturday.

So, any day I didn’t tour felt like Saturday.

I suspect that in some respects, lots of people are starting to have this same odd feeling about time. It is difficult to know what day it is. This time fog makes days seem longer or difficult to grasp.

Sometimes events race and sometimes they plod, but there is no rhyme or reason to it.

Then there is the exhaustion that some people might be feeling.

As a performer, I deal with an odd physical reaction to not touring.

The days I have to get up and get dressed and drive out somewhere and perform, my body is prepped for that event. It is easier to get through the day.

On days I don’t have to perform, I feel like a slug!

I suspect that this is because of the lack of energy boost and adrenaline. In my case, the expectation of performance, the routine of the day, the process of work itself, dealing with many different personalities, the commute – all of those things give me a boost.

Interacting with people live and in real-time allows us to share each other’s energy. This is why some people make you tired and some people energize you.

Successful performers know how to harness and shape the energy they get from an audience to create a mutually agreeable shared experience. It is exciting, satisfying, invigorating, and exhausting.  It also requires an amazing amount of adrenaline!

On the odd days when I’m not performing, I get sleepy during the afternoon, and I don’t always get up easily, or willingly.

I have gotten used to this odd thing, and I try to combat it by making lists of what I mean to do on my “days off” which don’t always conform to a regular workweek.

People who are used to their workweek might very well be feeling this odd lack of extra motivation. It is hard to keep track of virtual meetings. Your brain doesn’t think they are real.


The energy you get from your office environment is not impacting you. The way your office smells, feels, sounds, and interacts with your brain is absent.

There are people who you try to impress, and people who try to impress you. There are co-workers who hug you, ignore you, check on you, and give you that odd five-minute random conversation.

All of it is gone for now.

If you are feeling odd, sleepy, disoriented, and lazy – there is a chance that you are feeling this extreme lack of energy.

I don’t know how long we will be out of synch with our lives, but here are some things I have had to do when I am in the throes of time fog from lack of structure.

1. Make a list of what you need to accomplish before you go to bed.
a.  Put the date and day of the week at the top of the page

b.  Plot out the day in times, and give yourself a time limit or guess for how long each activity should take.

c.  Program breaks into that schedule if you can.

2. When you get up in the morning, go through the same routine you would go through if you were actually going to work, including getting dressed in your work clothes or something comparable.

3.  If you can, have some designated time where you are working, and therefore unavailable to the rest of the people in your house.

– If you and your spouse are home with children, then this might entail taking turns doing homeschooling and childcare.

– If you are home alone with your children, and you are doing all of the childcare and the homeschooling….then you are hereby forgiven for everything. Get some sleep when you can, exhaust as many online services as you can. Lots of them are free. Good Luck! I am sure you are doing the best you can!

4.  When you are done with work, be done with it. Treat it as if you have left the office. Now, do all the home stuff you would normally do.

5. Make sure you get some kind of physical exercise.

6. Make sure you get some sleep!

These are obvious things, but it doesn’t hurt to hear them again…and again…and again.

I know there are people for whom this time is especially fraught and dangerous. Just because our economy stopped spinning doesn’t mean the things that plague us stopped happening.

If ever there was a time for us to look to our neighbors and help in any way we can, now is that time.

We can get through this. The longer we stay strong, the better chance we have of surviving this, finding a vaccine, and finding a way back to normalcy.

This is not forever…though with time fog, sometimes it feels that way!

Wash your hands.

Don’t touch your face.

Wear masks in public.

Stay home as much as you can.

Virtual Hugs if you are a hugger.

Be safe.