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Avoiding Cabin Fever During Social Distancing

The definition of cabin fever according to The Miriam-Webster Dictionary is “extreme irritability and restlessness from living in isolation or a confined indoor area for a prolonged time.” Cabin fever is something we can experience during a particularly bad snow storm, during a hospital stay, or due to social distancing during this recent COVID-19 outbreak. The good news is, there are many mentally-stimulating activities we can do to help treat our cabin fever during this time. 

Turn off your phone or television and allow your mind to learn, wander, and be creative. Scrolling through social media has its place, and there is nothing wrong with a little distraction right now, but people are generally happier when they are doing something more engaging. Here are some suggestions:

  • Be creative – Now is a great time to write, paint, draw or create. Try to put aside the self-judgement and engage in a creative pastime with the intent of only enjoying yourself in the process.  
  • Learn something new – Has there been a skill you’ve always wanted to hone? There are many webinars, CEUs, certification programs, and other opportunities to learn that are currently running specials on training programs. You can also learn a new language with apps like Duolingo for free!
  • Read – Reading can transport you to a different time and place. Allowing your mind to picture a different space may be a welcome respite. 
  • Distract yourself – During a time that is uncertain and anxiety-producing, it is perfectly appropriate to distract yourself, as long as you also are giving yourself time to also process your feelings by writing or talking with a trusted loved one or a therapist. 
  • Get outside – If you feel safe to go outside for a walk, this can be so positive. We often times don’t comprehend just how stimulating our normal day-to-day life is. When our life becomes four walls, our brains are much less stimulated by our surroundings. Try to get out and mindfully walk around. Observe the sights, sounds, temperature, physical sensations, etc. as you walk. 
  • Move your body – Physical activities are a nice way to spend some time. Extra bonus if you can get outside to do it!
    • Engage with your social circle – Even if talking you’re your loved ones over FaceTime or the phone does not feel the same, it’s important to stay connected to others. Use your social circle to relate, find comfort and fun during a time where it is easy to feel lonely and isolated.


  • Create a daily routine – I highly suggest creating a routine (just like you have when you are not social distancing). For example, get dressed, put on lipstick, have a designated time to eat, have a designated time to stop working. This will help to break up the day. 


I hope these tips have given you some ideas to stay mentally stimulated and engaged during this time of quiet and distancing! Be well.

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