How to increase joy and fight quarantine fatigue
Cabin fever. Stir-craziness. Stuck-inside-itis. It goes by many names. And with more people staying home during the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s picked up a new one: quarantine fatigue.
Maybe you’ve felt it. For some, it’s more sluggishness or anxiety. For others, it’s strange sleeping habits, less motivation to do things they once enjoyed, or a combination of these symptoms. And if you’re working from home, the days can blur even more. Quarantine fatigue looks different for everyone. But even if your world’s feeling more cramped than normal, you still have many ways to stay limber.
From healthy habits to fun and games, here are 5 ways to help energize your day and fend off quarantine fatigue.
Maintain a routine
Spending more time at home could upend anyone’s daily routine — and without structure, it’s easy to squander good habits. But it’s important to create new ones. To keep the days from drifting, you can try to:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day to help your body establish a rhythm. Yes, weekends, too!
- Start your day off right by eating breakfast, writing a to-do list, and getting dressed for what’s ahead, whether it’s work or a day of relaxation.
- Set up “zones” for work, sleep, and play to prevent your living spaces from blending together.
- Leave the work at work. When you’re done for the day, shut down your work devices. And if you work from home, take a quick walk to air out your stressors — and help you see your home office as just a home when you get back.
Stay on the move
More time at home can make it hard to get your steps in. And all that sitting can take a toll on your physical health. If the only time you’re walking is from your kitchen table “office” to your couch, it’s important to focus on moving more. Pace during work calls, play with your pet, and make regular exercise part of your routine.
Exercise doesn’t just boost physical health. It also helps your mood, energy levels, and overall well-being. You might not have access to pre-pandemic resources like gym equipment, running paths, and team sports, but don’t let that stop you from staying active. For an easy way to exercise from the comfort of home, try online fitness programs. Cardio, boxing, and yoga are great choices that don’t require much more than a pair of sneakers.
Don’t make food an afterthought
Have your eating habits shifted since you started staying home more? Maybe you skip bigger meals in favor of smaller snacks. Or take more trips to the fridge just because it’s “right over there.” Maybe you’re eating less altogether, or more. Emotional eating is a very real effect of quarantine fatigue. And right now, it’s especially important to be mindful of what, when, and why you’re munching.
Here’s a handful of easy ways to start regulating your relationship with food:
- Plan meals and mealtimes in advance. This can help you put more thought into your daily nutritional intake, keep your brain active and fueled throughout the day, and avoid grazing on unhealthy snacks.
- Improve your mood with healthy food so you can feel your best in body, mind, and spirit.
- Break up the monotony by mixing new recipes into your weekly meal plan.
“Social distancing” doesn’t mean you should distance yourself from society. In fact, that’s why we prefer to call it physical distancing. Still, when you’re staying home more, spending time with others can be challenging — which is where technology comes in.
Having some online engagements to look forward to is a great way to fight back against loneliness and quarantine fatigue with some laughs and love:
- Video chat with friends and family for some face-to-face time
- Organize a game night around popular apps or online events
- Start a personal video blog, share it with your family and friends, and challenge them to do the same
- Host a trivia night — or team up in an online trivia league
Be kind to yourself
COVID-19 has changed everyone’s life in some way. So if you’re feeling sad or anxious, that’s completely normal. We’re all taking things day by day in our own way — and you should, too. Just remember to be kind to yourself, rest and recharge when you need to, and take steps to support your emotional health.
If you’re not sure whether you’re struggling with quarantine fatigue or something more serious that’s interfering with your daily life, we’re here to help. Use our online depression screening tool to check your symptoms and find guidance for care. You can also talk to your personal doctor, who can help you connect with the right care for you.