UCI News

UCI Podcast: Pandemic trauma disrupts our sense of time, says UCI professor of nursing

June 4, 2020
UCI Podcast: Pandemic trauma disrupts our sense of time, says UCI professor of nursing
“Being forced into the narrow moment of the present in dealing with this pandemic has made the past and the future just kind of fall away,” says Alison Holman.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many of us have felt our sense of time profoundly disrupted, with one day blending into the next. Alison Holman, an associate professor at UCI’s Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing, says that stress has affected our ability to keep track of time. An expert in trauma, she says that the coronavirus crisis has stripped us of our expected futures, unmooring us. “Being forced into the narrow moment of the present in dealing with this pandemic has made the past – which is part of who we are, part of what has made us who we are today – and the future just kind of fall away. That’s the temporal disintegration, when you lose that sense of continuity,” Holman says during an episode of the UCI Podcast. One solution, she says, is to focus on what you can control, such as taking precautions to prevent the spread of the virus – which will benefit both you and others. “For example,” Holman says, “you can wear a face mask every time you go outside. That will not only help protect you somewhat but it will also help protect people in your community.”