How to cope with Cabin Fever

by the Southern Cross Team
Wednesday , 6 May 2020 - 4 minute read
A man and woman sit together on a couch in a very small room
Thinking well

While it’s nice to have a stay-cation every once in a while, being suddenly forced to remain home for the foreseeable future can be a pretty daunting prospect for many of us. And also one which can cause a lot of anxiety – especially when kids are involved.

The feeling of losing control over our day-to-day lives is something a lot of us have never really experienced as an adult. That’s why we’ve hunkered down to bring you some helpful tips on how to cope with cabin fever, as we journey through self-isolation together, yet very much apart.

Keep Busy

Keeping busy during a time of self-isolation is probably one of the most important things for preventing or coping with cabin fever. It can help promote a sense of purpose and make you feel good about your day. Being busy can take many forms - it could be anything from working, exercising or playing with the kids, to learning to draw, cleaning, or even just reading a book.

Set daily goals

Setting daily goals - no matter how small - will give you something to focus on other than the fact you’re stuck at home. Maybe make a list, something to aim for. Each time you cross something off will give you a sense of achievement and make you feel better about life – even if the metric has changed from what you’re used to.

Get outside regularly

Getting some fresh air and vitamin D is vital when trying to keep your mood elevated, your mind clear and your energy levels up. Going for a walk, running or cycling will help life to feel more normal and give you a break from the confinements of your home. Try to switch up your route as often as possible for a change of scenery too. Don’t get stuck in a groove!

Maintain healthy eating patterns

This can be a challenge. After all, you could be feeling a bit blue about being stuck at home and be tempted to look for comfort in food. However, maintaining good eating patterns is really important to staying healthy - and if you weren’t eating too healthily in the past, now is a great time to start.

No matter how scarce your favourite dinner option may become, there will almost always be a healthy alternative for snacks and meals available – after all you don’t see many people bulk-buying vegetables! You may just have to research some new recipes online and get a little creative in the kitchen. Good thing you now have time!

Structure your day

For some, self-isolating may lead to sleep difficulties (insomnia), feelings of restlessness, sadness or demotivation or helplessness. To combat these issues, it’s important to create and maintain a structure to your day by creating your new normal. Having a schedule for things such as work, meal-times, exercise, and a set bed-time can help you stay on track and feel better.

Just do it

Ever had a goal in life you just never got around to doing? Now’s the perfect time to make it happen. It could be getting fitter, losing weight, or something more creative - writing a blog or learning how to draw or play guitar. Go for it! Doing something positive – especially something from your bucket list - can be a huge mood lifter, knowing your day still has purpose and you’re still achieving.

Hold virtual video meetings

It may sound simple, but the use of video calls to reach your team members can make all the difference in keeping your business relationships thriving, your work life seem more normal, and help you feel less alone.

Make a call, even if you don’t need to

Self-isolation provides a unique opportunity for you to answer the phone or reply to that text at almost any time throughout the day. While you need to ensure this doesn’t negatively impact your work (see our establishing boundaries when WFH article), this can be a great time to call those special people in your life that you usually find it difficult to catch up with.

Get some exercise

Regular exercise provides so many benefits – especially during a time where you’ll naturally be moving a lot less. Even if you don’t have a larger health and fitness goal, it’s still really important to schedule exercise into your new daily routine. Whether it’s a walk, cycle, home-workout or swim – make sure you exercise for at least 30 minutes each and every day.

Video chat with friends and family regularly

Technology has come a long way. So while you may not be able to give your loved ones a hug, you can still ‘see’ someone on the opposite side of the world without leaving your living room. Fortunately, this is very helpful when enduring periods of self-isolation. Set up Skype or Zoom calls with friends and family, or video call them frequently to bring some face-to-face interaction with those you care about. You could even get creative and play games via video calls too… Scrabble anyone?


When faced with an undesirable situation our ‘flight or fight’ response can often kick in. Given we’re unable to flee and there’s nothing to physically fight, this can leave you feeling wound-up and anxious. Meditation can really help; teaching your mind how to be comfortable in the moment, no matter the situation. There are plenty of online courses, YouTube videos and apps available to guide you through the process.

Listen to music

Listening to music is always good for the soul. So now is a great time to dig out old favourites, or discover new music or playlists others have already made on Spotify. Listening to the radio can also help you feel connected to others, especially if you’re self-isolating alone.


Go online or look up your local community board on Facebook and see what you can do to help others. It may be offering your skillset and doing some work for a small business online, making a regular call to an isolated elderly person, putting together food parcels or emptying out your wardrobe to donate clothes for those less fortunate. Volunteering can give you a sense of purpose and make you feel good, knowing you’re doing your part.

Make sure you get your own space

No matter if you’re going through this alone or with a house full of people – it’s super important to have your own space, and your own ‘me-time’ every day. Whether it’s 20 minutes in the tub, a meditation session or an hour of exercises – prioritise your personal time and space to help you recharge and get through.

Sleep well

Uncertainty paired with reduced daily activity can leave you feeling restless or find yourself overthinking - making it difficult to unwind at night and fall asleep. Ensure your new daily schedule is conducive to a good night’s sleep. As mentioned in the points above; regular exercise, meditation, vitamin D exposure, eating a balanced diet and keeping a schedule are all great contributors. Some people also find keeping a journal next to their bed can help them put thoughts to paper and therefore ‘let go’ of those thoughts, allowing them to relax and drift off to sleep.

Related Articles