Surviving Cabin Fever & Thriving During COVID-19 aka Rona 2020
Day 134 of Quarantine is what it seems like although it's just been about a month. School is closed. Restaurants, barber shops, gyms, nail salons, malls, and movie theaters are completely empty but we are all home anxiously waiting for all of outside to finally re-open so we can enjoy what's left of spring. The thing is, it looks like summer might be cancelled,forcing us to take refuge in our homes longer than we hoped for!
By now, cabin fever is setting in and we are all feeling a bit stir crazy from being trapped indoors. Cabin fever is a popular term for a common reaction to being isolated in a building for an extended period of time. Cabin fever is not a psychological disorder but the feelings it's associated with are. Overall, it involves a range of negative emotions and distress related to restricted movement: irritability, boredom, some hopelessness and even, behaviorally, restlessness and difficulty concentrating.
Not everyone suffering from cabin fever will experience exactly the same symptoms, but many people report feeling intensely irritable or restless. Other commonly experienced effects are:
Sadness or depression
Lack of patience
Changes in weight
Inability to cope with stress
Given the nature of our current circumstances, cabin fever and associated symptoms are common. Our sense of normalcy and routine is long gone. As such, we're forced to make the necessary adjustments to combat cabin fever and thrive during Rona 2020.
Below are some tips to help you thrive during Rona 2020:
Get Out of the House: If you are able to go outside, even for a short time, take advantage of that opportunity. Exposure to daylight can help regulate the body's natural cycles, and exercise releases endorphins, creating a natural high. Even a quick stroll can help you feel better quickly. If you are not able to leave the house at all, get close to a window and start moving around. Go for walks in your neighborhood and make a point to do so for an hour every day. If all you have is a balcony, get out there. If you don’t have that, open windows and breathe in the fresh air. Connecting with nature, however you can do it, is healing.
Use Your Brain: Although TV is a distraction, it is also relatively mindless. Work crossword puzzles, read books or play board games. Stimulating your mind can help keep you moving forward and reduce feelings of isolation and helplessness.
Do projects: Most people have a list of things they’ve meant to “get around to” when they had time. Now you have time. Clean out that closet. Get pictures out of that shoebox and into frames or albums. Try out that recipe. Start to learn a foreign language in anticipation of a trip you want to take someday. Take up writing or painting or sewing – whatever you’ve always wished you had time to do. Accomplishing something will make you feel better about how you spent your day.
Balance alone and together time: Constant togetherness can be as challenging as constant aloneness. Establish a balance with the people you live with. Make sure that each of you have some alone time. This is especially true for parents who are on call 24/7. Find a way to establish a little “me time” every day.
Take deep breaths and combat defeatist thinking. In these unprecedented times, it is easy to lose hope or feel absolutely inefficacious about how you can improve the circumstances. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the challenges, take deep breaths. This resets your brain and body and tells it to chill out and veer away from a state of emergency or fight or flight. Then, manage any negative, catastrophic thinking. Thoughts are just mental events and not necessarily reflective of the truth, even when it feels that way!
Accept, Accept: As of today, there is no way for anyone to know exactly how long we’re all going to have to keep social distance in order to keep ourselves and our communities safe. Not having a “light at the end of this tunnel” is part of what makes it so hard. We’re not in control of when this will end or how we live in the meantime. But we can reduce our stress by finding a way to accept that this is the way things are for a while. Breathe. Lose yourself in music. Dance. Meditate. Practice yoga. Pray. Take it one day at a time. Do whatever works for you to help you stay reasonably calm in this unsettling time.
What are your top Rona guilty pleasures and favorite Rona snacks?
What is the first thing you’re gonna do when outside officially opens back up?
What did you take for granted pre-Rona?
What has Rona 2020 taught you?