Humans are social creatures. Since the pandemic has forced everyone indoors or in isolation, it's kind of hard to socialize. When stuck inside for so long, it's natural for everyone to go a little stir-crazy. Here are some tips for managing your mental health while stuck indoors:

What is "Cabin Fever"?

While "cabin fever" isn't an actual medical condition, it's used by many as the identifying label for feelings of loneliness, restlessness, and depression that comes with being isolated for a while. "Symptoms" of cabin fever also include anxiety, irritability, boredom, and a lack of motivation as well.

 

Typically, the best solution to recovering from cabin fever is to get outside and spend time with others. Unfortunately, that's not the best option considering the pandemic, and we'll have to work around this obstacle in a few ways:

Combating Restlessness

The best way to manage restlessness is to be in action. Going for a walk or practicing yoga outside can make for a great change of pace, especially since you'd be getting outdoors as well. Experiencing nature is an excellent way to manage anxiety and depression. However, not everyone has a backyard, an isolated park, or a relatively empty area to walk in.

 

Many exercises can be done from home, and even in bed! For those able, push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, and the like are all stationary exercises that can be done in the living room. Other activities include leg lifts, planks, and stretches. You can also use ankle weights in your workouts to create a more challenging experience.

Managing Irritability (Especially Around Those You're Stuck With)

Arguably the most challenging symptom to manage, irritability is most often caused by the loneliness, anxiety, and depression that come with isolation. To help keep your mind at ease, consider exercising your brain alongside your body. Actively participating in puzzles, reading books, and playing games can help stimulate your brain, as can learning a new skill or language.

Coping with Loneliness

Even if you can't visit people in person, that doesn't stop you from calling a friend or family member when you're feeling lonely. Chances are, someone you care about might also be dealing with the weight of isolation that is currently crushing us all. Video chat services are a great way to communicate with loved ones when stuck indoors, as long as you have an internet connection. Playing online games with friends is another way to socialize digitally as well!

Other Skills That Can Help

Among the many ways to manage cabin fever, there are a few other skills that can be done while social distancing:

  • Maintain a daily routine: keeping a daily schedule can help combat feelings of restlessness and depression, even if that schedule doesn't involve doing paid work or schoolwork.
  • Get a plant: if you can manage one, plants are a great way to get a little nature in your home. Plus, it provides an incentive to open curtains.
  • Speak with a therapist: now is the best time to speak with a professional about your feelings. Therapy sessions are covered under most insurance and can even be done virtually as well.

If you or a loved one is experiencing severe anxiety or thoughts of suicide, speak with your doctor immediately. You are not alone in your experiences.

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