Cabin fever is a popular term for a seemingly common reaction to living isolated in a closed space for a long period of time. It gives rise to claustrophobia and feelings of restlessness. The Covid-19 outbreak has had a global reaction leading from partial to complete lockdown in several countries to mitigate the spread of the virus. Forced lockdowns and proclamations by governments to self-isolate can lead to symptoms of cabin fever. This, in turn, can have a disastrous effect on mental health faculties leading to lethargy, sadness, depression, disillusionment, food cravings, frequent napping, hopelessness, and inability to cope with the current stress.
Here are some ways to deal with it and stay positive and protect your mental health.
1. Allow more natural light
Natural light can have multiple benefits on physical and emotional well-being. It provides us with Vitamin D that keeps muscles, teeth, and bones strong and healthy. While stepping out for an exercise may not be a viable option right now but spending 20-30 minutes by the window can be helpful. Exposure to natural light can help restore mental balance. If you are working from home, try moving your workspace towards the window with proximity to plants that will add a cooling effect to your eyes each time you deviate your attention from the laptop.
2. Nurture a healthy routine
Avoid treating the pandemic like a vacation. Continue to follow your former schedule and do things you would do on a regular day at work. Maintaining your schedule of waking up the usual time and prepping up to work helps you have structure and control over your day. Avoid unhealthy binge eating during the day and continue to eat your breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the right time.
3. Practice gadget-free living
Media channels and the internet are flooding with constant developments around the global pandemic. Tirelessly following updates can drain your mind and develop anxiety around the whole situation that can worsen your coping abilities. Be mindful of the use of technology and schedule a time to read books (paperback ones preferably), cook, clean and spend time with loved ones. This will not only drop your stress levels but allow you to be in the moment.
4. Stay Connected
Social isolation has thrust us into disconnecting from our friends and acquaintances. However, technology allows us to take a creative approach to keep in touch. Video chatting, downloading Netflix hangout to watch your favourite programs together, Zoom calls with distant loved ones can be a great source to stay connected. This will help you deal with boredom and remind you that we are all #InThisTogether.
5. Cherish your personal space
Spending too much time with our family members or partners who are facing the same situation can put us in a rut sometimes. It is imperative to balance family time and value your personal space to do things you love to do. Spending some time apart in separate rooms in the house and then socializing together in the evenings bring some novelty to connections.
6. Move about in your space
It is essential to remain active in these times to avoid slipping into mental stress. Exercise produces endorphins that relieve stress and pain. It helps reduce stress hormones in the body. Carve out time for workouts and meditate in the space you have. Watch YouTube videos to see how you could convert a small space in the house for a 60-minute workout.
7. Design your sanctuary
Cabin fever can make you uncomfortable about the environment you live in. The space you used to retire each day has now become a place to dwell 24×7. It can arouse feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. If your current space no longer makes you happy, design your sanctuary to the haven you always wanted to. You could possibly add some fairy lights, relaxing music, scented candles, Turkish lamps, soft cushions and in-house plants for a gentle atmosphere.
Although these can be trying times for us that test our mental endurance, it is also the time when some of the greatest transformations take shape through resilience. Embracing it with patience and forward-looking energy will escort us from the darkness to light. The lockdown won’t lock us down till eternity.