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How to conquer cabin fever while you’re holed up in your castle

by | Apr 7, 2020 | Mental Health

We all love quality time with family, but QUANTITY time with family can be another story! Staying home for weeks on end during the COVID-19 pandemic can make you stressed out, restless and impatient. Speaking of impatience, working from home with the kids around is the BEST…said no dad ever.

The good news: You can keep cabin fever, work frustration and boredom in check by making these small, easy changes to your daily routine.

Do some deep breathing

Taking some belly breaths can help you manage stressful energy. Lie flat on your back in an open surface — a couch, a rug, or anywhere you can find amid the household chaos — place one hand on your stomach just above your belly button, and place the other hand on your chest. Breathe slowly in through your nose then hold your breath for a second before breathing slowly out through your nose. Do this once and you’ll feel better. Do it a few more times and cabin fever will melt away like frost on a sunny spring morning.

Try something new

This can be as easy as busting out a new recipe. You’ll score points with your partner no matter how it turns out — “A” for effort, right? — and at least you won’t have company over! Check out these delicious options. Another idea: Download a free app and learn a new language. That way, when you’re finally able to take that trip down south, you can order tacos like a BOSS!

Return to an old hobby

Tying flies for fishing, playing a musical instrument, woodworking, playing mini-golf in your living room, and growing a beard (ok that last one’s not really a hobby) are all great examples of things to do when you’re stuck at home.

Read a good book

If you haven’t picked up a novel in awhile, now’s the time to let tales of secret agents, swashbucklers and superheroes help you relax and take your mind off stressful thoughts. In fact, many classic novels can be downloaded for free online: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, The Call of the Wild, the list goes on.

Do something that makes you laugh

From date night at the (streaming) movies to playing charades or board games with the brood, laughing can lower activity in the “stress” areas of your brain and send cabin fever packing.

Spend half of day without looking at your phone

Break a stress-inducing habit simply by “forgetting” your smartphone in the garage or letting the battery run out. After all, cutting down your screen time can lower the levels of stress-related hormones in your system. Use the time away from your phone to play with your kids, or turn the phone over to them for virtual playdates with their friends.

Get moving

Physical activity releases pent-up emotions and clears your head, while stretching can reduce muscle and joint pain and boost flexibility. Check out these easy tips for getting active, and getting sh*t done, in and around the house.

Tune in

What goes great with a little easy exercise? Your favourite tunes! Slap on some headphones, dial up your radio station or streaming service of choice, and rock out while toning your bod. All types of music can be healthy: upbeat songs can make you feel more positive about life, while a slower tempo can quiet your mind, relax your muscles, and send stress packing.

Tuning out the kids with some headphones is the BEST…said every dad everywhere!

Conquer Cabin Fever With This Playlist

What song gets you groovin’ every time you hear it? Share the fun in the comments below and we’ll add it to our playlist!

If you’re thinking about fitting easy exercise into your day, we’ve got your back.

Download “The 10 Minute Man Workout” ebook right now.


This article is made possible by the support of generous sponsors.

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Adam Bisby
Adam Bisby

Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. His award-winning stories have appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines like Explore, Reader’s Digest, International Traveller and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN, MSN Canada, and DontChangeMuch.ca. Visit Adam’s website for more details on his award winning work.

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17 Comments

  1. Avatar

    A friend of mine posted on social media that your quarantine song should be the top song on your 12th birthday. So mine is Lean on Me by Club Nouveau. Great song!

    Reply
    • Avatar

      I’ve added your suggestion to the playlist! Thanks Steven

      Reply
  2. Avatar

    I’ve always loved My House by Flo Rida, but it sure is a lot more appropriate now :)

    Reply
    • Avatar

      I’ve added your suggestion to the playlist! Thanks Gene

      Reply
  3. Avatar

    This very useful specially in this Covid 19 situation

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Hi Munir, Happy to read that you find this blog useful in the current COVID-19 situation. Stay safe & healthy!

      Reply
  4. Avatar

    Hit or Miss By Odetta to get you groovin’. Como Te Quiero by Khruangbin for some more meditative vibes.

    Reply
    • Avatar

      I’ve added your suggestions to the playlist! Thanks Jeremy

      Reply
  5. Avatar

    “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” always gets me going. Who can resist cannon fire?

    Reply
    • Avatar

      I’ve added your suggestion to the playlist! Thanks Adam

      Reply
  6. Avatar

    For music, I don’t think it gets more upbeat than September by Earth, Wind and Fire! Next up, throw on Hip To Be Square by Huey Lewis And The News.

    Reply
    • Avatar

      I’ve added your suggestion to the playlist! Thanks Ryan

      Reply
  7. Avatar

    I find that classic rock really helps take my mind off things, especially the current situation. Here’s a great song by Kiss’s Ace Frehley “Back in the New York Groove”.

    Reply
    • Avatar

      I’ve added your suggestion to the playlist! Thanks Dianna

      Reply
  8. Avatar

    You Can Leave Your Hat On by Joe Cocker

    Reply
  9. Avatar

    Got to give it up, Pt. 1 – by Marvin Gaye

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Hi Neil, I’m putting together a YouTube playlist with everyone’s suggestions on this blog. Thanks Neil

      Reply

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