Life In The Time Of Covid-19: How To Prevent Cabin Fever


Dr Adina Gould Plank

So it’s 2 weeks into my voluntary participation in the #StayHome movement. Before government warnings, I made the choice to be socially responsible to protect myself and others from the spread of the Covid-19 and to be on the right side of history by helping to end this pandemic. But how does this work in the Land of the Free, Home of the Bold and Audacious? Words like self-imposed isolation, quarantine and mobilizing national guard don’t register for most. Social responsibility and considering others is tantamount to containment and survival at this point, so what is the key to successfully enduring physical isolation? I believe it’s staying occupied, maintaining communication with others, reinforcing our family and friends to stay the course and reframing this entire situation into something a little more positive like an extended, very literal staycation. If people could see it this way, then they could focus on creating a daily schedule at home in a similar way to when they travel to a new place.

Short of binge-watching series after series on Netflix, fixating on back-to-back movies or surfing social media to kill time for hours on end, there are other more productive methods to slow the proliferation of cabin fever. So how do people typically schedule out their get-away? For many, it’s with relaxation like laying out on the beach or by a pool, surfing/bodyboarding, reading a book or going to the spa, sightseeing, hikes, new experiences, dining out, cocktails, dancing and fitness. With a little ingenuity, we can stop pacing our homes or succumbing to the couch potato pudge by brainstorming an interesting daily, at-home routine to keep us engrossed and sane. We. Got. This. Together!

Let’s start with some relaxation. All of this pandemic talk could make anyone feel anxious. Maybe try meditation for the first time? There are plenty of apps you can try for free, like Ten Percent Happier MeditationHeadspace or Calm. Many successful CEOs meditate to reduce stress and maintain sharpness, so why not try it in your spare time? It’s not a major commitment as you can begin by only doing it for one minute daily. As you get better at it, you can increase a minute or two, then five and even ten. While that may not stop the walls from caving in, it will certainly put your head in a better place.
Still feeling the intense urge to get out of the house? Another option is to cautiously and responsibly leave your home for walks around your neighborhood or to a nearby park, keeping safe distance from any passer-by, while taking in some Vitamin D and fresh air. And now more than ever, stop and smell the roses or any other flowers you see along the way. Really take in the scenery and see if you missed some sites that have been in front of you all along. Maybe, track your steps if you have a fitness device or smart watch and work your way toward a target of 10,000 by giving yourself achievable daily goals of 3,000 or 5,000 until you get there. Go for a bike ride. Take your dog for a walk multiple times a day or play ball or other games outside. If you have a pool and it’s warm enough, go for a swim and do some aquatic exercise or just read a book or listen to music in a lounge chair. Create your own pool party for one with your playlist paired with cocktails and then invite friends to join you virtually through Zoom. Consider catching up on some outdoor projects safely in your own yard away from people, like cleaning out plant beds and other landscaping, planting or gardening. How about walk the interior and exterior of your home to create lists of things to do now or in the future? Start a honey-do list or catch up on one and if you don’t have a honey, maybe knock off 1 or 2 items daily yourself like organizing a closet or the garage. There’s always washing and detailing the car and now, remembering to disinfect the interior.
Planting Cucumbers, nasturtium and lettuce in pots

Can’t go to the spa, bring it to you. Go online for tips on giving yourself a refreshing facial with products you already have. No more mani-pedi appointments for a while, try to give yourself one at home or test your skills on a partner. How about learning some new make-up techniques online to give yourself a makeover or learn some smokey eye pro tips?

Binge eating out of boredom? Try an online fitness class. There are multiple apps with free trials right now, including Down Dog for yoga or Peloton for a variety of other workout modalities, not just spinning. Do you have gym equipment collecting dust? Create small goals of 10 minutes daily and up it by 10 until you get to an hour. How about learning some new dance moves online and then entertaining your friends by sharing short videos on your social networks? Hungry and thirsty? Work for it. Explore your kitchen by recipe testing new ideas, bake a dessert, create a new smoothie concoction or practice mixology and post about it. A good way to garner collective attention is through posting, so practice your amateur photog skills along with learning how to photo edit to grow your network.

Dr. Adina Gould

Feeling less active? Expand yourself by learning and practicing a new language. There are free trials on sites like Duolingo, where you can take baby-steps with couple minute courses. Not interested in a new language, how about online courses in something of interest to you? Looking for a creative outlet? Start a journal, write a story or an article. Writing is cathartic and these days, you can self-publish anywhere by sharing online. Script skills no good? Research DIY ideas on Pinterest and start a new craft. Or just pull out a blank paper and start doodling, sketching or painting your thoughts. Not artistic enough, how about touch-up paint those scuffs and dings around the house to freshen things up and feel more accomplished?  Need to exercise that brain function some more, start a puzzle, finish a crossword or begin a game of solitaire.If the solo life does not cut it, turn to some creative virtual experiences. Plan a virtual wine tasting with friends, where each suggests a wine, everyone purchases it for delivery and then discusses it with each other. You’re more of a cocktail person? How about a virtual mixology class? Everyone conceives their best drink idea, shares the recipe for others to make, tastes through them all and votes a winner! In the meantime, you’re having a cocktail party together.

Life In The Time Of Covid-19: How To Prevent Cabin Fever

Other virtual experiences could include a fashion show, where everyone puts on their best ensemble and does the catwalk. Or how about a costume party and the winner gets sent a gift card from everyone. Or make souffles together and share whether yours held-up or deflated? Reveal the ingredients to your favorite recipe for someone to make at home under your virtual supervision. Missing your daily Starbucks’ run, learn to be a barista at home by reviewing videos online and coming up with a menu of fresh-brewed specialty coffees. Elevate this to adult-rated with a shot of Bailey’s or amaretto.

Bored of playing board games alone, set up a virtual game night. Order from the same local or national restaurant and host a virtual “dining out” party, like a Meatless Monday GoToMeeting party, a Taco Tuesday Skype soiree or Spring Break Facetime tequila shots! If that is not enough to curb your social needs, host an online party to showcase your skills by teaching a pasta or pizza making class, decorate cookies or cakes and pick a winner, showcase your favorite wine and food pairing, share your favorite wine or craft beer and why, hold a home cook competition and post photos online for people to select the best dish based on creativity and presentation. And if that still isn’t enough, just go online and pass time by completing your U.S. census.

Life In The Time Of Covid-19: How To Prevent Cabin Fever

Missing the mall, bring it to you. Can’t afford to spend on random stuff during these uncertain times? Check that wallet for unused gift cards collecting dust. It’s a perfect time to use them for retail therapy and to assist in boosting the declining economy. There are many sales and many retailers offering free shipping with no minimums. Surprise your friend or family member with something new to make their day. Or buy dinner for someone and have it delivered to their home.

No gift cards? How about using your spare time to earn some? Complete surveys at places like MyPoints or E-Rewards or upload receipts through Fetch Rewards app (Referral Code: 9G6DY) or Ibotta (Referral Code: gjkdhfu) to earn points toward gift cards or cash back. It only take a couple minutes and they can add up over time. Other sites include Walgreen’s Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices, where you can quickly track your healthy living in exchange for points toward future purchases, Miles for Opinions to take surveys and earn points toward American Airline flights or Florida Blue Better You Strides, where you can complete multiple healthy living programs for a value of $20 each up to $100 toward health premiums. If all of this seems to overwhelming, there is always earning cashback from your online purchases using Rakuten.

Skateboarding

With it being springtime, consider the ever so popular and procrastinated task of Spring cleaning. How about turn that purge into extra dough? With so many people not working right now, anything extra could certainly help. Suggestions include finding all of the past season’s designer handbags, shoes, clothing, jewelry, etc. that you’re not wearing and send them to sites like TheRealReal to consign for you. If you don’t have much in the couture category, but you have plenty of new or gently used clothing, shoes, jewelry, kitchen, electronic, furniture and more, consider posting on your local Marketplace. Some include Offer UpFacebook Marketplace or online neighborhood marketplaces, like Pinecrest Marketplace, where people sell items that can be picked up from your home or mailbox or delivered to a mutual location. Since you should be on lock-down and venturing out only for essentials and away from people as much as possible, you can always arrange to be paid on PayPalVenmo and Zelle and charge extra for shipping the item to them or deliver to their front door or mailbox. Other sites like eBay or Offer Up allow for shipping at the time of purchase, which keeps everyone at a distance from each other. Still not working for you? Just box or bag it up and place them in a closet until it’s safe to venture out again, then have a garage sale or donate it to Goodwill. Decluttering always feels good. Bring some order to your disorder. Besides, today’s interior design is all about minimalism, so knick knacks are out of whack with current trends. Turn those heaps into some bank.

Finally, catch up with your family and long lost friends. You have been meaning to call or write, so just do it. Everyone needs a little boost right now, so keep in touch and encourage others to stay level headed by virtually sharing your daily successes and providing ideas on how to balance life in isolation. It only takes participating in a couple new ideas daily to mentally quench yourself and fill your schedule. When flying, they say to put your oxygen mask on first, so you can assist others. In these times, take heed by caring for your physical and mental health, so you’re tiptop for helping others. Godspeed to us all!

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