Why Does Time Pass So Slow?


Elle King

Ellie King, Staff Reporter

I know I’m not alone when I say that in the past few months, time feels like it passed a little differently. It was almost as if all the months of quarantine blended into one week of uneventfulness. Why does time sometimes feel like it’s passing slower or faster than it is in reality? When we say, “Wow, that day flew by,” what does that mean? 

An article titled ‘Why does time seem to pass at different speeds?’ written by Steve Taylor Ph.D. explains that the more we pay attention to the things going on around us, the slower time seems to move. There is more to remember and look back on and your brain has more to process. This can also happen when we are in dangerous or high-anxiety situations such as falling down or waiting for test results. Sometimes it feels like time’s moving faster because we become less aware of our surroundings, like when we’re tired. Personally, when focusing on something like a song, drawing, or just looking at my phone, it creates the illusion of time moving faster. 

During the stay-at-home order, I wasn’t really doing anything. I didn’t have anything to pay attention to. I didn’t get out of the house much at all for the first few weeks. I didn’t have any motivation to be creative or to see my friends. I believe a lot of the reason for that was that I didn’t feel like I had to. I kept telling myself that I would get in shape for the cross-country season when COVID ended. I treated it like some kind of lazy holiday that was an excuse to finally have some time off. Obviously, I was under the impression that the virus would be long gone by now. I expected school to resume in May, but weeks kept rolling by. I didn’t do anything to motivate myself because I was waiting until I was told to. This is when the days began to merge, and my sleep schedule went out the window.

By the time I finally realized that COVID wasn’t going away anytime soon, it was already the end of June. The combination of sleep deprivation resulting from watching hours of Netflix created a routine that made the days feel the same and the weeks go by faster. It wasn’t good for my mental health, and it affected the way I treated myself and the people around me.

Due to my lack of activity, I got a mild case of Cabin Fever. I got my life back together once I started hanging out with my friends again. The cross country practices that started in July helped a lot. Having a stable activity that I can count on every week is an important object in my life. This creates a constant which keeps me both in shape and on track. 

When in a place where your focus isn’t in one small area, time passes slower. More ideas and creativity flow. Sometimes it’s better to do something else instead of looking at Pinterest or Instagram for motivation. Go for a walk,  just go outside, bake something, or do a puzzle. A change of scenery can do a lot to get creativity flowing, and self-care is important to this process as well, so use it.