If the changes COVID-19 has inflicted on the landscape of your life have you feeling “stuck”, you are not alone. In his recent Psychology Today article “Feeling Stuck in The Moment?”, Dr. David Clark admits to, like many of us, struggling within the confines of social distancing and other COVID-19 restrictions. Dr. Clark outlines four contributing principles to the phenomenon he has coined being “stuck in your COVID-19 moment”, or a general loss of optimism as the pandemic drags on and we begin to adjust to the new normal. Among these contributing principles are social withdrawal, preoccupation with the present, negative expectation of the future, and a distorted time perspective.
Each principle makes a unique contribution to the sensation of being trapped in the difficulties of the present. Social withdrawal equates to being less invested and active in relationships, in effect diminishing support networks. Preoccupation with the present takes shape as fixation on information related to the pandemic and can exacerbate feelings of worry and anxiety. Negative expectations of the future, as you might expect, invoke an inability to envision a future in which there is more freedom and opportunity. Perhaps most interestingly, a distorted time perspective is marked by the feeling that time is moving slowly or not all, through which it’s difficult to maintain the outlook that change for the better is on the horizon.
Elaborating on the idea of a distorted time perspective might hold the key to restoring balance in our fundamentally restructured lives. We now tend to work, eat, sleep, exercise, meditate, and socialize in the same place. While convenient, replacing our daily commutes and weekend outings with work from home and virtual happy hour have eliminated the changes of scenery we use to denote time and the passage of it. This environmental stagnation can contribute to feelings of preoccupation and hopelessness, as we crave some semblance of the natural variation of pre-COVID life.
Here is where virtual reality technology has the potential to restore balance and alleviate the distorted time perspective. Virtual reality is capable of transplanting users into a limitless array of new environments, which reintroduces the element of environmental variation that has been eliminated in these times of self-isolation. Through virtual reality, the stressful home environment (which doubles as an office space for many) can be traded out for a variety of other exciting and relaxing environmental concepts.
Building off of these capabilities, we set out to create a solution to the feeling of being “stuck” in the COVID-19 moment. Determined to free the mind from its state of apathetic stay-at-home status-quo, we imagined the place we longed to visit most in pursuit of freedom and repose. That place, for us, was the quintessential meadow: The rolling pastures of the Swiss Alps teeming with organic life and beauty. Striving to deliver a practical means of escape, Therapy Sheep, an interactive and immersive virtual reality concept, allows you to escape stagnation without leaving the safety of your own home.
Therapy Sheep whisks users away into the sheep-filled pastures of the Swiss Alps, where the sights and sounds of nature enable meditation, relaxation, and reset. With the ability to interact with friendly and fluffy sheep at dawn, day, dusk, or night, Therapy Sheep is as dynamic as your day, and serves a welcomed change of scenery in a time when exploration is difficult to pursue.
Reigniting our curious and explorative tendencies through concepts and experiences like Therapy Sheep could aid in restoring balance to our lives, serving as a reminder that time is passing, things are changing, and that we hold a powerful agency over our environment and daily lives. In regularly exercising these concepts, we free ourselves. We move away from feeling “stuck” in our moment, and towards a hopeful outlook for the future.
Link to Dr. Clark’s article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-runaway-mind/202005/feeling-stuck-in-the-moment