Stuck at home? We have some cabin-fever hacks for you!

5 tips to prevent cabin fever

As the world shudders into a halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic, everyone is staying home to prevent the spread of the disease. Even though we know that it’s for the best, everyone, kids especially, can’t help but feel trapped in this situation.

We’ve all heard of ‘cabin fever’ or going ‘stir-crazy’, and it’s a real problem now. Stuck with the same environment, the same people, the same boredom, it’s a herculean task to keep a home of adults who need to work, and kids who need to be entertained, sane.

We’ve come up with a few tips to hopefully help you manage and survive the long days of self-isolation. Try putting these into practice, they might help a lot!

1. Split your house into zones.

Dedicate certain areas into specific zones to help everyone have their own space. It doesn’t matter if your house is large or small. Make a corner of a room a play zone, or specify the study as a work zone. You want to make sure you and your kids respect these zones, as you want to prevent noise or chaos from spilling over. This will help manage your stress as there are places for you to calm down and unwind.

Rules like ‘no playing in the quiet zone’ or ‘you can’t watch videos in the work zone’ will help maintain order. You can also reorganize the area to make sure that there are no distractions, such as moving some toys to the play zone and storing the rest away. Reward those who follow the rules and penalise those who don’t. A sense of discipline is what we want to achieve.

There is still a big issue, especially for families with young children, and that is noise. It’s fine in small doses, but anyone who has to listen to a toddler’s excited screams while trying to work will eventually be driven mad! That’s why you should consider giving earphones or headphones to everyone who may need a few moments of ‘me time’. We know most parents would scoff at this idea, but consider giving an option to you and your kids to have some time alone in your own world, so you can focus on your work or relax for a bit.

2. Have a structure

With our schedules all turned upside down, it’s still important to set one up for everyone so we all have something to follow. Some kids still have online classes and work to do, and adults might be working from home. Your schedule can combine your work and caring for the kids, especially if they need constant supervision. Find a balance between learning and playing, between screen time and physical exercises.

If possible, fill the kids schedules with activities. There are a lot of online resources and online classes they can follow. We found an interesting list from parade.com that has a whopping 125 things to do! Other than that you should also split household chores and responsibilities. Now is as good a time as any to teach them how to fold laundry or how to cook. Have activities where everyone spends time together, maybe watch a movie before dinner so you can talk about it too.

3. Indulge in creativity

Since we rarely have time for the ‘artsy’ side, why not learn a new skill or complete those DIY projects you had on your mind for some time? Websites like Craftgawker compile a lot of DIY projects and tutorials from various crafters to inspire you. Simple projects like acrylic pouring or knitting can be learned together with kids as well. Your family can create beautiful, lasting art that you can keep!

You should always keep a stock of books and art supplies to keep your children entertained. Audible has included a large amount of audiobooks for anyone to stream. You can get your kids to check out some audiobooks here. Tell your kids to write short book reviews to make reading more rewarding and engaging. This helps them express their opinions like why they dislike a character or whether they would recommend the book. Yes, technically you’re giving them work, so make sure you reward them the way you see fit!

4. Communicate clearly

Being cooped up and forced to spend time together can drive some people up the wall. This means you’re at greater risk of having arguments or disagreements with each other. Your child should respect and trust you, and that is why you need to communicate clearly and truthfully to them.

When arguments occur, remember that everyone should try to solve the problem instead of trying to ‘win’. Let children talk about their issues and worries, don’t interrupt them, even if you disagree! Then, give your side or your opinion, making sure that they listen calmly as well. Reaching a compromise may be impossible, but try to create an understanding between the two parties.

Don’t hide problems or bad situations, but also don’t make them anxious by listing down things you are worried about. Explain issues in ways they can understand, and also tell them what you want to do to solve the problem. Maybe they can provide some ideas as well, even if they may not work, it can still be quite entertaining to have a discussion with your children. Don’t forget to praise them if they’ve done a good job in maintaining their schedule or handling their stress, they need the encouragement!

5. Practice mindfulness

It’s inevitable that no matter how perfect the day is, there are still things that will bother or worry us. We shouldn’t just relax by watching TV shows or playing games to forget our problems. This will mean that we are avoiding our negative emotions. If we don’t process these negative feelings, we may become unhealthy due to stress or become more irritable. This can worsen our relationships with the people around us.

Mindfulness is a technique of looking at our emotions without judgement. That is, we think about why we feel sad or angry without wondering if we are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in our emotions. By being mindful, it helps us relax and process our thoughts. Being able to manage our emotions is a powerful skill. If you are unsure on how to do so, check out our guide that we have created.

All in all, there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ method to prevent problems that will arise. Staying at home for extended periods is not an easy task at all, but give yourself time to adjust. With discipline and a good dose of fun learning, the time you spend at home might just move a little bit faster!