Cabin fever happens, and whether it’s due to inclement weather, a car at the repair shop, a season of quarantine, or another reason, big or small. It’s frustrating having to stay put longer than you’re accustomed to. Even introverts, who often prefer to stay at home, can get antsy during these stretches. So, what can we do to break out of that cabin fever feeling? Here are a few ideas that might help.
Fresh Air & Exercise
Clear out those cobwebs in your head! Sometimes it’s just good to get out of the house. Even if you have to stay close to home, there are creative ways to work around that. Outside, whether in your yard, down the street, or around the block can offer a different perspective and help invigorate you for the rest of the day.
The great outdoors, with its wonderful fresh air and sunshine offers great benefits and contributes to overall health and mental clarity. Good, clean air boosts your oxygen levels and cell efficiency. Sunshine provides vitamin D, which promotes strong bones and a healthy immune system. And of course, any exercise you do while outdoors, such as yard work, playing tag with the kids, or taking a walk, helps relieve stress, and improves sleep and healthy brain function.
Even if it’s cloudy, you can still gain benefits from being outdoors. It gets you outside those interior walls for a great change of scenery and inspiration. Spending time outside alone or with family or friends can be a game changer. A short walk, laps around your yard or neighborhood, an easy hike in the park, these moments get the blood moving and help improve circulation and ease your house bound attitude. Winter, spring, summer or fall, it can help refresh a tired brain and offer an opportunity to appreciate the sights and sounds of nature, too.
Reach Out to Others
Being at home, while not a bad thing overall, can cause us to be stuck inside our own heads too much. And since the planet does not revolve around us, it’s always good to reach out to others when we can. Write a handwritten note to a relative or friend, call your mom or grandma, or send an e-card to your co-worker. Send cards to residents at the local rehab or long-term care community, to those in the military, or to regional and state law enforcement officers.
If you’re running to the store for groceries, see if your elderly neighbor could use a few items too. Mow the lawn for the woman down the street whose husband is deployed or drop off those gently used clothes or toys to the local women’s shelter. Consider volunteering at the soup kitchen, food bank, suicide hotline, or assisted living facility.
There are many people out there who’d benefit from a friendly text, call, small gift, or other encouraging greeting. As others come to mind, make a note to reach out. We don’t always know what others are going through, and a kind word can make a huge difference in someone’s day. The bonus here is that by reaching out to others, we get our minds off ourselves and often gain a better, healthier perspective on life.
No matter how old we are, we’re never too old to learn. Learning something new or polishing existing skills can help us feel purposeful and productive. Keeping your brain active will energize and provide new possibilities, whether for personal enrichment, career goals, or just plain fun.
Who knows, it might just lead to a new job, side gig, or hobby. Offerings abound, from hands-on in person classes and workshops to online webinars, courses, and certifications. Just pick a topic or skill; there’s something out there for everyone with prices ranging from free on up. Don’t sell yourself short – there is much you can gain and give through continued learning.
Play a Game
From solitaire and online puzzles to board games or outdoor activities like croquet, having fun can offer a welcome reprieve from cabin fever. Whether physical or mental recreation, a break like this can help ease the pressures of life.
Think of it as a mini vacation. It can clear the mental fog and sweep away those cooped up feelings and emotions. Redirect your thoughts by indulging in recreation that can challenge, refresh, and change your perspective. You’ll feel better mentally and physically, and possibly build new skills along the way.
Count Your Blessings
"Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward the life that God intended for you with grace, strength, courage, and confidence.” Og Mandino
There’s something about counting your blessings that provides a mental pivot from clouds to sunshine. No matter how challenging our circumstances might be, it could always be worse.
Counting blessings, whether big, small, or somewhere in between helps sustain us in good times and bad. It provides a much-needed pause to slow down and regroup mentally, to reflect and to find fresh perspectives.
“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
We all have ups and downs, but a thankful heart will weather the storm much better than a bitter one. No matter where life might find us, it’s our choice to be thankful and to count our blessings. Fostering a “merry heart”, an attitude of gratitude, builds good habits, ones that can serve us well for all our days.
Though cabin fever may threaten to overtake you, fight back. Be proactive. Hang in there and don’t let it get the best of you. These days will pass. Look for the sunshine. It’s always there, whether we can see it at the moment or not.
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