As we move into week 4 of our Circuit Breaker, it is understandable that everyone is feeling a little edgy. Work and school keep us occupied to an extent, but as the weeks drag on, so does the restlessness. Walking from the window to the wall is getting to us each day because, by design, humans are social beings. All the same, we must stay home to protect and safeguard our future. Having your freedom of movement and choice halted can be nerve-wracking and can induce cabin fever.
Thus, what is cabin fever, and how can we overcome it? Here are some ways we believe will help.
What is Cabin Fever?
Merriam Webster dictionary defines cabin fever as “extreme irritability and restlessness from living in isolation or a confined indoor area for a prolonged time”. Often associated with being isolated at home during winter, natural disasters or as we are now a pandemic, it goes beyond the boredom that one experiences from staying home. Though not recognised as a psychological condition, it is a series of emotions that we should pay attention to as it can affect our daily lives.
How Do you Know if you Have It?
One may experience emotions and symptoms of:
- A disquieting sense of missing something,
- Loss of energy and motivation,
- Feeling low
- Irregular sleep or activity patterns
- Unable to concentrate
- Losing interest in engaging in activities
How can you cope with it?
- Remain in Touch with Loved Ones
“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.” – Paulo Coelho
While connecting with others is a tall order now, technology has made it easier for us to do so. Set a time to connect with family and friends virtually. There are many apps available now to do that. WhatsApp video, House party, Facebook chats, Zoom are some examples. The important thing is to share your thoughts, concerns, and joy with them virtually as you would in person. Do not shy away from the loved ones who can help you get through a rough time. They are your support network, lean on them if you must, reciprocate the support when they need you to listen. These are hard times, and, understandably, everyone needs a listening ear.
- Set up a routine
“Good habits are worth being fanatical about.”
– John Irving
Staying indoors is a new normal that we must adapt and adjust to, hence it calls for a new routine. The first thing we must bear in mind is that the circuit breaker is not a holiday. Thus, we must avoid going on a whim and binge on Netflix, overeat, overindulge in drinking alcohol, sleep late, and wake up late. A regular healthy routine ensures a sense of achievement and can help cool off your nervousness.
While there is flexibility working from home, do not get distracted. Determine a defined agenda for work or study and stick to it. If your lunch break at work or school was an hour, do the same at home.
Ensure that your home is welcoming for you to start and end your day well. It is your haven now, so treat it like one, establish a routine to keep your house clean. That will also keep your mind occupied.
- Healthy Habits
“It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.” ―Benjamin Franklin
It is tempting to dive into unwholesome habits during the circuit breaker, you tell yourself, ‘ Once it’s over, I will start my routines again’, well it is not that easy because habits are hard to break, particularly if you do them every day at home for over two months. So, the best is to use this opportunity to instil good habits and continue the ones you have.
Eat Right – Our food options now are online food delivery services; they can be costly and may not be feasible as everyday meals. So, the best is to prepare and cook your meals. When you prepare your meals, you can guarantee that it is nourishing. Get your family involved in the process, and it becomes a shared bonding experience. Try out new recipes at least twice a week, trust me it will be something you will look forward to once you get a mouthful of it! Baking and cooking feel calming because it requires focus, and the result gives you a sense of accomplishment. It is okay to indulge in comfort food at times, so it is better to use the food delivery options as a treat.
Exercise – A healthy body is a healthy mind. Particularly during these times, exercise can do marvels. There are several options on YouTube and many gyms offering online classes (I have not tried any of the online classes offered by gyms so I will leave that out). But here are some YouTube workout channels that I love.
- POPSUGAR Fitness has an assortment of exercises. They often have celebrity fitness trainers, and they always provide modifications. Their vibrant and clean aesthetic makes working out easy and fun. The trainers also provide constant encouragement, so that you do not turn off the screen! I have done their workouts for five years now. My favourite trainers on the channel are Kit Rich, Jeanette Jenkins, Marnie Alton; I find myself going back to their workouts.
- GymRa- is another great choice, although their exercises focus more on cardio and hitt workouts, they do have some yoga options. I do turn to them occasionally for variety, they usually do it outdoors, and that is a nice change of scenery. They too have a diverse range of trainers who conduct the workouts.
- FitnessBlender is a two-person show, and that gets a bit boring after a while. However, their exercises are great for beginners; sometimes, it is hard to follow online workouts, particularly if you are new to it. These guys take you through the workouts at a good pace.
Sleeping Well – “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,” said, Benjamin Franklin. Well, he is right, a good night’s sleep keeps us refreshed, energetic and prepared to take on a new day. Poor sleep patterns can dull our senses and make us sluggish. What helps is to create a routine before your bedtime, that will help you ease into a restful slumber. Have a cup of hot beverage like milk (I drink a warm cup of unsweetened soy milk). Read a book, or write in a journal before bed, this helps clear your mind of anything that happened earlier in the day. Avoid coffee, tea, or alcohol before bed as it may keep you awake. Lastly, think positive thoughts before you rest your head and tell yourself that when you wake up, it will be a great day. You will be surprised how much your mind can influence your actions.
- Personal Time
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
―Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you have never had time for yourself before this is a great time to do so, consider an hour each day for self-care, focus on something that you enjoy or feel strongly about. It can be doing a facial mask, painting, writing a story, knitting, organising your personal space, listening to music, reading and anything else that makes you happy. When we can self-regulate, we create a sense of calm that goes a long way during these times. Do not feel bad about giving yourself attention when you take charge of yourself; you can take better care of your loved ones.
- Set New Goals
“One day, you will wake up, and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.”
– Paulo Coelho
It is good to turn a negative to a positive, so this circuit breaker may be an excellent time to establish and align new goals. Is there something that you always wanted to do? For instance, losing weight, spending more time with the kids, eating right, composing poetry, starting a new hobby or even a business? This is a good time to explore, experiment and fulfil the goals you have in mind. What do you want to achieve by 1st June? Four weeks is a long time to let it drift by simply. Think of your goals, set the deliverables, and measure your growth at the end of the circuit breaker. At the very least, you will have a foundation to move towards in the next six months.
We are all in this Together
Cabin fever may come and go as it pleases; therefore, it is essential to take note of how you feel. If despite doing the thing mentioned in this article, do not help. Seek help from a medical professional.
We are all in this together, and tough times can either make or break us. Let us strive for it to make us stronger than ever before.
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