I’ve put together this easy list of cabin fever cures because over 100 countries have been in some state of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting billions worldwide. In fact, more people have been under lockdown due to COVID-19 than were alive during World War II.
The coronavirus’ impact goes far beyond those it has infected or killed. It is affecting mental health across the world as people are stuck at home to worry and wait—prisoners to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Personally, lockdown hit me hard. It’s unlike anything many of us have experienced.
Getting stuck at home might seem like a welcome vacation at first, until cabin fever starts to set in. Being forced to stay in the same surroundings day in and day out can start to take a toll mentally.
It can be hard to find ways to relax and unwind from your stresses. This is especially true if you’re juggling multiple responsibilities and trying to take care of a cooped-up family…
(Make sure you’re not on the road to mom burnout with my free quiz.)
Luckily, there are things you can do to help get out of the rut caused by being confined. Don’t let cabin fever take hold and worsen your mood each day. Try some of these cabin fever cures that have helped me.
Tips are based on personal experience and should not be considered medical advice. Full disclaimer. This post contains some affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission if you use them (at no cost to you). Full disclosure.
What Is Cabin Fever?
Cabin fever isn’t a real fever of course, but it can be harmful to your mental health. It’s the term commonly used to describe the feelings of restlessness, irritability, and depression-like symptoms caused by being cooped up longer than usual.
If you’re feeling down, grouchy, and having trouble finding the motivation to get going when stuck at home, cabin fever might be the culprit. Cabin fever is also referred to as going stir-crazy.
Sometimes a person will do almost anything to get free again. But what can you do if cabin fever is setting in and you’ve got a long stay in sight?
Cabin Fever Cures for Coronavirus Lockdown
1. Get Some Fresh Air
Experiencing part of the outside world can go a long way in releasing the claws of cabin fever. Even if you’re confined to your home, there are ways to bring the outside in.
Open up those curtains and even the windows if you can. Take some time each day to be mindful and experience the outside world: can you hear birds chirping, feel the sun’s warmth or a breeze blow across your skin?
Make a mental note of what the clouds look like each day.
Get as much of the outdoors as you can safely, following local regulations.
This may mean a short walk, sitting on a porch or balcony, or finding a spot near a window. Taking in some nature can remind you that you’re still part of a beautiful wide world and do wonders for your mental health.
For me, being surrounded by trees instantly melts away stress. Try to make experiencing nature a regular part of your week.
2. Take a Virtual Museum Tour
Did you know you have access to world-renowned museums at your fingertips? From the Louvre to the Guggenheim, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, National Gallery of Art, and more, you can visit collections that inform and inspire all from your couch.
You can even take a look at the Sistine Chapel! Start exploring and follow what interests you. Expanding your horizons virtually can make you feel less boxed in from the COVID-19 lockdown.
Be sure to tell a friend about all you found.
3. Connect Virtually
Social isolation is a major cause of cabin fever. When you’re stuck in your home, you miss connecting with others. After all, those connections are big part of what makes us human.
For this reason, connecting with others is the ultimate of cabin fever cures.
Even introverts can start to feel severely isolated when confined. Scrolling through social media is not the same as interacting with others.
To fight cabin fever, go beyond texting and try to incorporate some face time into your routine. There are plenty of free videoconferencing tools you can use to reconnect with friends, family, or coworkers, such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, Facetime, and Google Hangouts.
You might have to push yourself out of your comfort zone a bit, but the payoff will be worth it.
Some mom groups and Meetup groups are continuing virtual activities during COVID-19 lockdown.
Connecting virtually also includes your healthcare providers. If you need mental health assistance during these trying times, virtual online therapy is an option to consider. It’s safe, secure, and might just help you feel a whole lot better.
4. Play a Game
Everyone needs a little fun in their life. Games can be a great way to connect with others and spend some time away from the mundane for a little while.
If possible, try to play with someone else in person or virtually. There are so many options—from traditional or online board games to the latest video games.
You can host an online game with family or friends through Kahoot or a similar tool. If you have a favorite, share it in the comments.
Try out something new and aim for a variety, which will help fight the monotony of everyday life at home.
Playing a game will also take your mind off the COVID-19 news. It’s not productive or healthy to keep fixating on the latest infection tallies when there’s not a lot you can control from home.
I must admit, my oldest child got me to try Animal Crossing on the Nintendo Switch, and it’s actually pretty relaxing. Before COVID-19, I would have never spent the time on something like that. I would have been too worried about doing chores or something productive instead.
This experience has made me realize how important it is to take mental breaks, including for fun.
5. Try Cooking From Scratch
When you have cabin fever, it can feel like the hours tick by so slowly. Feeding yourself is an essential task, so why not turn it into something you might enjoy?
Set a goal for a dish you’d like to try and make, then put your mind to it. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment when you finish, even if it doesn’t turn out perfect.
Convenience foods are easy to grab and consume, but cooking from scratch can help you pass the time and may even open your eyes to a new hobby.
There’s a reason flour can hardly stay on the grocery store shelves. Tons of people stuck at home are rediscovering baking and cooking from scratch.
You can repurpose that time you would usually spend commuting in the kitchen making something tasty, exciting, or healthy.
6. Get Some Laughs
Laughter is good for the mind, body, and soul. It can help lift the spirits in a matter of seconds. Try and fit opportunities for laughter into your day at home.
You can try watching standup comedy, listening to a funny podcast, or having a silly dance contest with a friend.
With all the intense worry that can be caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, laughter will be a welcome shift. Share something funny you heard with a friend—they’ll certainly appreciate it.
7. Learn Something New
Being stuck at home is a great time to try and learn a new skill. Have you always wanted to take up guitar? Painting? Knitting? Learn French?
While open-ended time at home might not work for all hobbies (cross-country skiing, for example), there are plenty of indoor options.
If you can’t expand your physical world, expanding your mind can broaden your horizons. Take advantage of the extra time you have on your hands from not running around everywhere and apply it to an enjoyable new activity.
Check out this mega-list of hobbies for adults I compiled to get you started.
Maintaining Your Mental Health With Cabin Fever Cures
When confined to a place for an extended period, the monotony of seeing the same walls and doing the same things every day is enough to make anyone stir crazy.
You may notice a theme from the strategies described here; they are all about variety, passing time in interesting ways, and connecting to the broader world.
By staving off boredom, you’ll be less likely to get angered by being stuck in one place. Use your technology to get beyond the walls of your space until you’re able to get around physically again.
A variety of activities also serves as a distraction from the troubling COVID-19 news that may seem to worsen each day. If you don’t have a good outlet for escape, these troubling times can be a threat to your mental health.
Remember to mix up your days so your schedule does not become as boring as your surroundings.
Be kind to yourself during these difficult times. You may not be as productive or peppy right now, and that is OK. You’re going through a lot.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend, family member, or healthcare provider through one of the many virtual options available.