Cabin fever is a real phenomenon that causes one to experience overwhelming feelings of claustrophobia, restlessness, and distress while stuck in confined quarters or an isolated place for a long period. In the time of COVID-19, when strict stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines are in place, more and more people might be prone to experiencing this phenomenon, especially those who have to self-isolate after being exposed to the virus or having its symptoms.
But our physical health and safety need not come at the expense of our mental well-being and sanity. If you’re self-isolating by yourself with no family members or friends, there are plenty of fun and creative activities you can do to keep yourself occupied. Here are some ideas for keeping your sanity while in quarantine.
Document your experience through art, writing, photography, or vlogging.
You have probably heard this countless times, but some of the best artistic works were created while the creators were in quarantine. Who’s to say you won’t be able to create your very own King Lear while self-isolating? You need not have the mind of Shakespeare or the hand of Frida Kahlo to create something that would give you a sense of pride and one day help you remember your time in quarantine with fondness.
You can also go the digital route by taking photographs of your yard or how the sun lights up your living room during golden hours. Or should you choose to vlog, you don’t need state-of-the-art equipment—all you need is a working camera and an ergonomic chair like the ones Herman Miller makes. You might think you have no new story to tell because everyone else in the world is stuck at home, but that’s not true. No one else has your lived experience and point of view. So go ahead and share your story, even if it’s just for you.
Keep your mind active through some puzzles.
Studies show that doing puzzles can greatly enrich your cognitive function. The research is focused mostly on adults who are 50 years old and above and how doing puzzles can help prevent them from getting dementia. Still, even preschoolers were found to benefit when puzzles are added to their activities.
Should you choose to do the 2000-piece adult jigsaw puzzle, many affordable options on the internet can be delivered straight to your door. There are digital options as well, like puzzle video games and apps. Some games and apps make you think, like detective games and brain exercises. If you’re going to play some games, you might as well choose ones that can help enrich your mind.
Set up a cozy home movie theater.
Combat Netflix fatigue by setting up your own cozy home movie theater. With some blankets and fairy lights, you can create a fort that will allow you to escape the realities of the outside world. Try not to watch distressing films and TV shows, too—a study found that horror films can induce PTSD-like symptoms in vulnerable viewers. If you’re already on edge about being stuck at home alone, don’t test your limits by choosing films and TV shows that could trigger you. Choose light and fluffy content like comedies, cheesy romances, and historical and period films to stimulate your mind.
Learn a foreign language.
Multiple studies have shown that learning a second, third, or even fourth language can boost one’s brainpower. Learning a new language can promote thinking skills, help improve memory, and sharpen the mind. There is a wealth of resources on the internet about every possible language you can think of—scour the web for these resources, tutorials, and online classes, and consider investing in paid ones as well. It will not only keep your mind sharp while in quarantine; it will also be a handy skill as the world continues to move towards globalization every year. You never know when knowing another language can come in handy one day.
Keep Your Mind Working
The key to staying sane while on lockdown is to keep your mind working. If you’re not in quarantine with other people, make sure to occupy your time with activities that can sharpen your mind, improve your memory, and stimulate your thoughts and decision-making. Choose activities that can help you look back at your unexpected downtime with so much fondness—not everyone in the world is given the luxury of me-time. Don’t forget to stay in touch with your family, friends, and loved ones too. Digital resources are at your disposal.