Cabin fever can be described as a feeling of irritability combined with malaise and a lack of focus. It comes from being cooped up inside for extended periods of time, you might feel like you have claustrophobia or you’re “climbing the walls.” Right now, many people are facing isolation like they haven’t known before and cases of cabin fever will be on the rise. But you don’t have to suffer. There are ways to avoid the claustrophobic feeling of being confined.
The first day or so of staying home might feel like a mini-vacation but if you’re not actively engaged in work or some other productive activity, you’ll quickly tire of binge-watching all those shows you wanted to catch up on. When you start having the feeling of restlessness, it’s time to recognize that cabin fever is setting in.
These 7 tips will help you overcome cabin fever.
- Begin by watching your diet. Staying in shouldn’t be an excuse to discard all healthy eating. Watch the carbs and high-fat foods which will make you feel even less active. Eat on a regular schedule, don’t give in to grazing all day long.
- Go outside! This should seem like a no-brainer but when you start feeling lethargic, you won’t feel like doing much of anything, let alone going outside. But that’s exactly what you need to help turn things around. Breathe the air, listen to nature. The sunshine itself helps activate vitamin D which helps fight depression among other things. Going outside is also a great way to get a break from family members who may not be used to being in such close quarters.
- Establish a daily routine that includes meal preparation. By having a routine you’ll have incremental steps to get you through the day. This is especially important if you have children at home with you. Children really need and thrive with the regularity that a routine provides. Eat your meals together as a family if possible. And if your children usually have a story before bed be sure to keep that in the routine.
- Take on a household project. Spring cleaning, going through your home storage or reorganizing projects are all ideas that will take your mind away from isolation and help you feel a sense of accomplishment.
This could also be the perfect time to change your indoor decor, paint or even just rearrange the furniture. And since you can still order items online, you don’t necessarily have to leave the house. Shopping online can be fun too.
- Put your brain to work. Watching television is a pretty mindless activity that can lead to more lethargy. Instead find things that make your brain work: crossword puzzles, reading books or playing board games all stimulate the mind and help you move forward.
- Exercise. Take a walk even if it’s around the living room or walking the stairs in your home. Better yet, walk outside. Right now there are a number of health facilities and professionals offering everything from kettle workouts to pilates online – free. Try a few and see which one you like best.
- Stay connected. Thankfully we live in a time when we can reach out virtually to others. Facetime, messenger and many other apps allow us to see and converse with others. Use technology to check in on friends and relatives or collaborate with coworkers.
Staying indoors and practicing a social distance is counter to our instinct as humans. If you find yourself becoming depressed or finding it hard to engage in any of the above activities, you might need to reach out to a mental health professional for additional assistance.
This new normal may feel overwhelming and strange at times. Just remember, by staying home at this time, you’re part of the solution.