When students, faculty and others left for spring break, many weren’t expecting the COVID-19 virus to drastically alter their vacations and plans to return to JMU. With many individuals now self-quarantined indoors, and most social activities discontinued for the sake of preventing the virus from spreading, most people are looking at a lonely, boring couple weeks of waiting until the worst of the coronavirus has passed.
It’s easy for this extended time indoors — perhaps with too many family members, or without anyone at all — to cause major cabin fever. There are, however, several strategies people can work into their new daily routines to help combat negative emotions and anxieties and to keep relatively sane during this confusing time.
Make a schedule
People may associate time off with sleeping in and wasting the day away, but doing too much of nothing can start to drive one crazy after a while. One way to fill the long hours and keep up morale is to make a daily schedule. Blocking out specific times for different activities throughout the day — such as waking up, showering, reading, watching TV or doing schoolwork — can reestablish order and productivity. Sticking to a schedule can help fill the long hours, and even if it isn’t strictly adhered to, it can be a way to keep life running normally in this time of uncertainty.
Organize or clean
Cleaning may seem like the last thing someone would want to do on a free day, but studies conducted by organizations such as Psychology Today, show it can be therapeutic. Organizing that desk drawer that’s always overflowing, wiping out the fridge or taking time to dust off all of those high shelves can be an effective way to recapture a sense of control. It can help make one feel productive and remind them to stay thankful for all the things they still have. Not only will cleaning feel useful and help time pass faster, but it may also make for a happier and healthier quarantine for everyone living in the house.
If one’s feeling overly anxious or worried about the COVID-19 virus and the quarantine, one activity they might consider during their days at home is mediation. Sitting down for just a few minutes a day and doing some deep breathing, mind clearing and introspective thinking has been proven to help decrease stress levels and make people happier, according to experts at Mayo Clinic. For meditation veterans, this is a good time to start trying new techniques or ways to relax, while those new to the meditation game have the perfect chance to build a healthy relaxation routine. There are plenty of apps and websites, such as Headspace, Calm and www.mindful.org, to facilitate productive meditation sessions that can help maintain a sense of peace and decrease anxiety both during this time of quarantine and on a normal, day-to-day basis.
Just because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Trump administration are encouraging people to practice social distancing and self-quarantine doesn’t mean one has to be lonely. One of the best ways to stay sane is to remain social and to make sure to keep in touch with loved ones and friends. Having a FaceTime or Zoom brunch with girlfriends, screen-sharing a Netflix film with a significant other, starting a “Memes for the Quarantine” group with the homies on Instagram or even just picking up the phone and calling Mom are all great ways to stay social and fight cabin fever.
For those quarantined with family members, roommates or friends, putting down devices and having some meaningful, non-coronavirus related conversations may help pass the time and bring everyone closer. Regardless of where one is or who they’re with, there are plenty of ways to stay connected during quarantine.
One of the best ways to keep spirits up is to work out. Doing some sunrise yoga, pumping iron or keeping up the leg day routine can help to get those endorphins flowing and ward away cabin fever. If one doesn’t own a treadmill or workout equipment, there’s no need to worry. Taking a walk, playing fetch with a dog or even having an impromptu kitchen dance party can all be great ways to burn calories while quarantined. There are also plenty of YouTube workout videos that offer full body and specialized workout routines to fit everyone’s needs.
Play a board game
Although video games can be entertaining, they can strain the eyes and contribute to a sense of isolation. Instead of turning to online gaming shops like GameStop or Steam for easy, quick entertainment, playing some good old-fashioned board games can give one a break from the screens and a chance to engage in some healthy competition with friends and family. For those without a shelf full of board games or an old deck of cards, there are also plenty of games such as fishbowl and the cateogry game that require only a pen and paper or sharp wit. These games can be a great way to bring friends and family together to continue making fun memories.
Contact Alexandra Dauchess at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.