Pause, Blink, and It’s 2023: The Distorted Time Perception During and After The Covid-19 Pandemic

Time paused in 2020, and ever since, someone has been pressing the fast-forward button for a bit too long to the extent that the last three years felt more like a blur. Isn’t it weird how three years have never felt so long while you were experiencing it, but now it all seems like it’s flying away so fast once it ended?

How we perceive and experience time, or time perception, is often mind-boggling. Even when the “duration” of time itself is the same for everyone (e.g. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, etc), it was proved in the 2010 research by Sackett and Meyvis that some days may feel longer or shorter based on several factors, such as our emotions or the number of activities that differ from our routines, because time is subjective. Fear and happiness could make time goes faster, while boredom may slow it down. When we stick to a certain routine, after a while, time will go quicker without us noticing. But spruce things up a little, and at that moment, time wouldn’t go as hurriedly. 

However, the way these last three years went is more extreme than just an hour flying by or a day slipping away. Instead of flying by or slipping away, time was distorted, with it feeling both very fast and very slow simultaneously. In this case, our time perception during the pandemic could be more accurately defined by another keyword: Temporal disintegration. 


Coronavirus and Our Mindfulness Towards Others

Even if you don’t get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else.

– Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,
Director-General of the World Health Organization

During these uncertain times, it’s not a rare sight for us to see tons of news about the Coronavirus pandemic regularly. We see hundreds of people getting infected. We see countries that are forced to do a lockdown. Added with the large amount of schools, offices, and other public spaces that are continuously shutting down.

These significant changes everyone is facing can feel somewhat surreal. In result, almost everyone began to panic over the pandemic. Which I don’t necessarily blame by itself. But sometimes, these uncontrolled panic may cause a whole new set of problems.