SYMPTOMS & COPING
Whether you're working from home, at home with the kids or self isolating, the four walls around us can quickly close in and have a negative effect on our physical and mental health. Cabin fever is a common term used for a reaction to being isolated or confined for an extended period of time.
We all experience Cabin Fever to different degrees and with different symptoms but common symptoms are feeling irritable, sad and struggling to get motivated. Other symptoms include:
Difficulty Waking Up
Struggling to get out of Bed
Little or No Motivation
Lack of Patience
Struggling to Concentrate
Move, Exercise & Get Out of the House
Go outside! Go for a walk, run, cycle or find a park to sit in for half an hour. Getting outside can help to regulate the body's natural cycles. Exercise releases endorphins, creating a natural high and can help you to feel better very quickly. Even if you are not able to leave the house you can open a window and get up and walk around or find an exercise you enjoy or can do a few times a day.
It's important to set yourself daily and weekly goals, and track your progress. Your goals can be to do with anything, work, cooking, exercise, self care, reading, anything at all that will have a short or long term positive impact on how you're feeling. Make small short term daily goals as well as long term. Think of ways to reward yourself when you reach your goals. This routine and sense of achievement can help you to cope emotionally with isolation and distract your mind from focusing on any unhealthy and unwanted habits.
Eating a healthy balanced diet increases your energy levels and motivation. It's easy to fall into bad habits or emotional overeating when we are depressed, lonely or feeling bored. Pulling ourselves out of bad eating habits can be hard and it can increase your feelings of depression if you are gaining weight and feeling unhealthy. Take time at home to learn to cook something new and healthy, try different foods and monitor your eating habits. If you feel like you need some extra help the KPH Food Diary can help you to monitor and manage when, why and what you're eating and how it is making you feel and is available to buy from Amazon and the website. You can gain a deeper understanding of your eating habits, find intolerances, manage your weight and build new healthier habits. It's important to find a proper balance of nutrition for your physical and emotional health. Also make sure you are drinking plenty of water, even being mildly dehydrated can have a negative effect on your health and how you are feeling.
STIMULATE YOUR BRAIN
It's just as important to exercise your brain as it is to exercise your body. This can be anything from reading a book, listening to an interesting podcast, doing a crossword, playing a game or being creative by drawing, writing, cooking, creating or even clearing out and rearranging your wardrobe! Anything that requires your full attention and thought. It is also a great way to keep busy, take a break from work or the kids or distract yourself from negative thoughts and emotions. Most of us have something we would like to learn, keep it interesting as you will be more likely to stick to it.
Human connection is a fundamental primal need. If you can't get out then make sure you are speaking to someone every day. FaceTime, zoom call or voice call a friend or family member to check in and stay connected, it's more important than you realise for your emotional health, especially when you're feeling isolated. If you're finding it hard to ask for help, find at least one friend who will support you, who you can call when you're down and need to chat. Don't ever feel that you can't call a friend without pretending to be happy, we ALL have bad days and need support and most of us have heard our friends or family say "why didn't you call me". Think about how you would feel if someone you cared about felt like they couldn't call you when they needed help. Reach out as the people who matter in your life will be there for you and want to help and support you.
Journaling every day has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, improve your immune function and memory, boost your mood and strengthen your emotional function. It can also help with productivity, motivation, building new habits and enables you to notice where in your life needs some attention for a healthier life balance. Journaling is a healthy way to express yourself and get to the root cause of anything negatively impacting your everyday life. You can use a notepad or buy a journal and just write down your thoughts and feelings, what your grateful for and daily goals every morning. It only takes 5 minutes in the morning and evening. There is no right or wrong, it's essentially an emotional thoughts dump. The KPH Daily Journal is a 3 Month guide to help you start Journaling and reconnect to yourself to look at where in your life needs attention and is available to order from Amazon and the website.
Remember it's OK not to be OK sometimes, what's important is that we recognise where needs attention and work towards a healthy and happy balance in life. Healthy habits are built one decision at a time, one step at a time, one day at a time, done consistently over time. Just one small step is always better than standing still.