With all of us now under a nation-wide lockdown, and most social activities discontinued for the sake of preventing the virus from spreading, most people are looking at a lonely, boring few weeks of waiting until the worst of the coronavirus has passed.
It’s easy for this extended time indoors to cause major cabin fever. There are, however, several tips and strategies that people can incorporate into their new daily routines to help combat negative emotions and anxieties and to keep relatively sane during this confusing time.
1. Stick to a routine.
Go to sleep and wake up at a reasonable time, write a schedule that is varied and includes time for work as well as self-care. Blocking out specific times for different activities throughout the day — such as waking up, showering, reading, watching TV or doing schoolwork — can reestablish order and productivity.
2. Find an expressive art and go for it.
Our emotional brain is very receptive to the creative arts, and it is a direct portal for release of feeling. Find something that is creative (sculpting, drawing, dancing, music, singing, playing) and give it your all. See how relieved you can feel. It is a very effective way of helping kids to emote and communicate as well!
3. Organize or clean
Cleaning may seem like the last thing someone would want to do on a free day, but in such times, it can be therapeutic. Organizing that desk drawer that’s always overflowing, wiping out the fridge or taking time to dust off all of those high shelves can be an effective way to recapture a sense of control.
If one’s feeling overly anxious or worried about the COVID-19 virus and the quarantine, one activity they might consider during their days at home is mediation. Sitting down for just a few minutes a day and doing some deep breathing, mind clearing and introspective thinking has been proven to make people happier.
5. Breathe in that fresh air.
Its important to spend time outdoors and get that dose of Vitamin D. Open the windows and blast the fan. It is amazing how much fresh air can do for spirits.
Find some time to move each day, again daily for at least thirty minutes. If you don’t feel comfortable going outside, there are many YouTube videos that offer free movement classes, and if all else fails, turn on the music and have a dance party!
P.S. You can find free online Yoga and Dance classes on cure.fit.
7. Stay Social.
Social distancing is important but it doesn’t mean one has to be lonely. One of the best ways to stay sane is to remain social and to make sure to keep in touch with loved ones and friends. Having a whatsapp video call with old friends, screen-sharing a Netflix film with a significant other, starting a “Memes for the Quarantine” group with the homies on Instagram or even just picking up the phone and calling family members are all great ways to stay social and fight cabin fever.
8. For parents: Spend extra time playing with children.
Children will rarely communicate how they are feeling, but will often make a bid for attention and communication through play. Don’t be surprised to see therapeutic themes of illness, doctor visits, and isolation play through. Understand that play is cathartic and helpful for children—it is how they process their world and problem solve, and there’s a lot they are seeing and experiencing in the now .
9. Learn something new.
Now is the time to learn how to play the guitar, brush up your painting skills, learn Yoga or try your hand at an exotic recipe. Find something that will keep you busy, distracted, and engaged to take breaks from what is going on in the outside world.
10. Notice the good in the world, the helpers.
There is a lot of scary, negative, and overwhelming information to take in regarding this pandemic. There are also a ton of stories of people sacrificing, donating, and supporting one another in miraculous ways. It is important to counter-balance the heavy information with the hopeful information.
11. Find lightness and humor in each day.
There is a lot to be worried about, and with good reason. Counterbalance this heaviness with something funny each day: cat videos on YouTube, a stand-up show on Netflix, a funny movie—we all need a little comedic relief in our day, every day.
Lastly, remind yourself daily that this is temporary. It seems in the midst of this quarantine that it will never end. It is terrifying to think of the road stretching ahead of us. Please take time to remind yourself that although this is very scary and difficult, and will go on for an undetermined amount of time, it is a season of life and it will pass. We will return to feeling free, safe, busy, and connected in the days ahead.
Let there be a positive outcome from all the time you are spending in quarantine.
What can each of us learn here, in big and small ways, from this crisis? What needs to change in ourselves, our homes, our communities, our nation, and our world?
- Credits: Moumita Nandy