5 Ways to Beat Cabin Fever in Self-Quarantine

Part of preparing for COVID-19 is leaving room for more “social distancing” than you would typically would. Social distancing means that you’re avoiding large gatherings of people, working from home more often (if possible) and finding more opportunities to stay inside and away from possible points of infection. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) social distancing is a key factor in slowing the community transmission of COVID-19.

Remember, you don’t need to be infected with COVID-19 in order to start social distancing and self-quarantine.

However, with all this new time spent indoors, how do you keep yourself occupied and maintain positive mental health? Here are some pointers for how to battle cabin fever while you avoid the risk of COVID-19.

  • Living Room Exercises
    • Cabin fever won’t hit as hard if you’re able to stay active while staying inside. Whether it’s jumping jacks or yoga, the endorphins from working out can keep you feeling motivated and happy. Luckily, platforms like YouTube and others have tons of free workout videos that you can take advantage of. Even a daily stretch can keep your muscles from feeling tight and keep you from feeling lethargic.
  • Read A Good Book
    • Do you have a stack of books that you’ve never had enough downtime to read? Social distancing could be the perfect opportunity to pick up a page-turner. Any boredom you may experience while in self-quarantine can be curbed with an immersive fantasy novel or gripping nonfiction. You could also revisit a book you read many years ago, and remember why you enjoyed it in the first place.
  • Try New Recipes
    • The creativity and time that goes into cooking can help you feel more motivated, pass the time in a fun way and you get a delicious meal as a reward. Since you planned for your self-quarantine and stocked up accordingly, you’ve likely got a variety of food items and ingredients on your hands. Look up recipes that can help you put what you bought to good use, especially if an expiration date is approaching. Depending on your cooking confidence, you could use a recipe as a template and improvise the rest.
  • Declutter Your Space
    • This tip is especially good if you’ve been spending time outside the home to avoid that spring cleaning or other purging you need to do. Make your surroundings feel new again by sorting through some accumulated clutter and rearranging furniture. Just be sure to wipe down surfaces as you go to reduce further risk of contracting or spreading any virus. Making your home feel fresh again is an easy way to prevent cabin fever and feel good about your productivity.
  • Dust Off a Board Game
    • With so much digital entertainment, you may have forgotten about an old deck of cards, board game or puzzle you own. These are all great ways to stay sharp mentally and work on something over the course of several days. Taking some time away from streaming shows and video games can also help you lessen the overstimulation and burnout that is often associated with too much screen time.

Social distancing may sound lonely, and while it can be hard to transition into self-quarantine, it’s a necessary precaution to slow the spread of COVID-19—and may prove to be more productive or fun than you think. These tips can help you maintain your health mentally and physically while you protect yourself and your surrounding community from additional risks of infection.

Health and safety are always our top priorities at Memorial Hermann. This article reflects our perspective as of March 13, 2020, and we will update it regularly as COVID-19 evolves.

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Ali Vise