To curb the spread of COVID-19, governments have had to impose lockdowns. The medical world is at a consensus that social distancing will slow the spread of the virus.
However, while necessary, social distancing goes against human nature. We are social beings; we thrive on interactions. The lack of communication harms mental and even physical health. So, yes – it is normal that you are experiencing the symptoms of cabin fever.
The situation might not go away soon. So, you must learn to overcome cabin fever and remain productive.
What is cabin fever?
Cabin fever is not an official medical term. Even psychologists have different but overlapping definitions of the term “cabin fever.” However, the symptoms associated with the condition are real.
Cabin fever refers to the negative feelings that come with feeling trapped and isolated. These symptoms include:
- Lethargy (lack of energy)
- Difficulty focusing and concentrating
- Reduced motivation to perform daily tasks
- Oversleeping and frequent napping
- Food cravings
As you can see, most of these symptoms will interfere with your productivity. So, what can you do to overcome cabin fever and increase your productivity during this coronavirus lockdown?
Maintain your routine and stick to a schedule
Do not treat this period any differently. Stick to your routine before the lockdown.
That means waking up as if you are going to work, showering, dressing, eating meals at regular times, etc. The idea is to avoid laying around all day – you will feel trapped.
Create a schedule and stick to it
At home, it is not business as usual. You have to combat distractions from kids, leisure activities, and so on. So, you need a schedule to make sure you remain productive when working from home.
Generally, your day will consist of activities you can divide into the following actions:
- Work and learning activities for kids
- Responsibilities (house chores)
- Social connection activities
- Leisure activities
Schedule adequate and relevant time for all these activities. Consider, one-hour periods for work and half-hour periods for other activities. Also, mix things up to avoid the boredom of sticking to a schedule.
Designate space for work
Most of us associate home with a relaxed atmosphere. So, bringing work home might start making it feel a stressful atmosphere. The solution is to designate a specific area, say the study room or a corner of your living room, for work. When the work hours are over, leave that space and go and relax in other areas of your home.
Find ways to maintain human interactions
One of the leading causes of cabin fever is the lack of human interaction. Social distancing does not translate to the end of communications. Check on your loved ones through video chat. You can even do regular social activities such as watching a movie or taking dinner through video chat.
Another cause of cabin fever is being stuck in one place. Even moving around within your home will give the illusion of freedom.
Experts recommend moving around every hour. Set an hourly alarm. When it goes off, take a lap around your home, attend to a chore, check on the kids, or merely stand and stretch.
If possible, go outside for some sunshine. Alternatively, draw the curtains or open the shades to let some sunlight in your home. According to research, natural light aligns the body’s circadian rhythm, which among other things, promotes quality sleep. Besides, an open space reduces the feeling of claustrophobia. Feeling less trapped helps reduce cabin fever.