Avoiding Cabin Fever During Lockdown | ZwavelStream Clinic
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Avoiding Cabin Fever during Lockdown

Avoiding Cabin Fever during lockdown
 

Following our previous article on the Covid-19 outbreak. We realize that your day to day lives have been turned somewhat upside down so, we thought it best to suggest a few practical activities that you and your family can engage in to keep you busy during this time so that you can avoid cabin fever. And if lockdown has taught us anything, it’s that spending quality time with your loved ones is a blessing and a very wise investment of your time. Spending days or weeks at home with limited resources, stimulation and social contact can take a toll on mental health. That’s why ZwavelStream has come up with a few helpful tips and activities for you so you can avoid boredom and keep a sense of normal life.

Spending time with family has numerous benefits such as these listed below which we will briefly mention.

  • Strengthens Family Bond
  • Family time improves a child’s academic performance
  • Spending time with family helps kids develop important social skills
  • More family time results in less behavioral problems
  • More family time can lead to greater self-confidence

Before you know it, it’s back to normal and lockdown will be over so you enjoy the family time while you have the opportunity to do so with the following practical activities.

 
 

Give structure to each day

Maintaining a daily routine can help both adults and children preserve a sense of order and purpose in their lives despite the unfamiliarity of isolation and quarantine. Try to include regular daily activities, such as work, exercise or learning, even if they must be executed remotely. Integrate other healthy pastimes as needed.

  • We suggest that you maintain a normal daily routine which will add a sense of stability and security to everybody in the family. By maintaining a normal routine, you create cohesion and unity. Call a family meeting staying in the house, to plan the weekly schedule.
  • This can be a platform for everybody to give their inputs and ideas. This can also be an opportunity to check in with everybody on what they experience on an emotional level.
  • Ensure that there’s time for work, play, chores and having fun. Give space to each member when ‘me time’ is needed. Parents can take turns to engage in activities/program with children to ensure that both parents get uninterrupted ‘office time’ or ‘me time’.

Purposeful activities to fill the day

Social interaction through meaningful activities

  • Watching a movie together and discuss it afterwards
  • Camping (indoors and outdoors) – if you don’t have access to a tent, create one with what you have
  • Indoor and outdoor games e. building an obstacle course with household items
  • Scavenger hunt – prepare for Easter when it’s Easter egg hunt, rainbow hunt (fetch articles with different colours), Book hunt (look for different pictures etc.), maths hunt, inventor hunt (fetch something that turns, twists, indoor and outdoor hunt
  • Cooking competition between house members
  • Don’t forget the pets – they too can participate in some of the above activities, teach them a new trick or give them a good bath
  • Walk down memory lane – go through photo albums, scrap books
  • Do house/family shows – COVID – 19 certainly is not minimizing people’s creativity – dance to music, sing along, do a play, have a dress-up, laugh stimulates the feel-good hormones, that we certainly need during this time

A couple of Questions to ask yourself

What makes you tick? What brings meaning to your life? What do you enjoy doing? This can be a perfect time to spend on activities that we usually don’t get time for. Have you asked yourself recently what’s on your bucket list? Make a list of your wants and needs and build some of them into your lockdown time.

  • Do an online course
  • Start planning your yearly holidays
  • Try out a new hobby, art, craft, that you already bought all the supplies but haven’t had the time to engage in it
  • Run a bath, put music on, light a candle and read your book
  • Go in your garden and identify the birds you see or hear
  • Don’t forget to build in time to rest
  • Download a meditation and/or relaxation exercise app or look for a Youtube Channel that offers guided meditations

Try some Sensory regulation, during a time of limited sensory inputs

Our senses can be powerful emotional triggers. A soothing touch can help us to feel safe and calm and the right music can energize or fill us with certain emotions. Even though we’ve all had these experiences, we don’t always think to consciously harness the power of our senses to help ourselves feel better.

One of the ways that can be helpful, is using our 5 senses. To help prevent overwhelming distress, you can make an effort every day to incorporate soothing things into your routine and environment, or you can utilize your senses to soothe yourself when you start to get upset, anxious or agitated.

Mindfulness is an important component of sensory self-soothing. To participate in self-soothing mindfulness meditation, we suggest that you go to a feel-good place that you prefer and focus your attention on the activity and the sensory experience. When distressing thoughts come back up, set them aside and refocus on your senses and the present moment. It takes time and practice to master this technique, however, anyone participating will be rewarded with a blissful calm feeling afterwards.

Creating a self-soothing box can be an activity for the whole family. Each member can collect their soothing items, make sure to include something that engages each of the 5 senses.

Some ideas that you can try

Vision

  • Photos and/or pictures
  • Affirmation cards with images and quotes
  • Funny pictures
  • Glitter jar

Touch

  • Clay, playdough
  • Fidget toy
  • Worry stone or inspirational stone
  • Stress ball
  • Lotion to give yourself a hand massage

Sound

  • Create a soothing playlist
  • Nature sounds
  • Bells, chimes, music instruments

Smell

  • Scented lotion or spray
  • Candles
  • Spices, incense sticks, aromatherapy oils

Taste

  • Something to eat or drink while mindfully experience the taste and smell, touch etc.

Practising gratitude

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it " - Ferris Bueller

For most of us, lockdown gives us the opportunity to spend time reflecting and make a gratitude list of what we are, what we have and where you want to go in terms of your life plans. 2020 Has thrown us all upside down, so maybe think about re-structuring your plans for the year.

The benefits of practising gratitude are nearly endless. People who regularly practise gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they're thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have a stronger immune system.

Having supper together as a family during the lockdown, is an opportunity for each member to share one thing that they are thankful for, for that day. It is not always easy but it is important to practice positive thinking in this challenging time.

Practising Family Mindfulness

Mindfulness can be simply defined as the art of practising thought control and being fully present in the moment. It’s about focusing on how you feel, what you experience in the moment that you sit down and start practising.

  • Mindfulness reduces uncertainty and overthinking
  • Mindfulness alleviates some stress
  • Mindfulness improves memory, concentration and performance
  • Mindfulness helps with emotional reactivity
  • Mindfulness promotes cognitive flexibility
  • Mindfulness creates happier relationships
  • Mindfulness reduces anxiety
  • Mindfulness improves sleep
  • Mindfulness promotes mental health
  • Mindfulness helps lower the incidence of burnout at home during Lockdown
 
 

Mindfulness for Children

Your children can practice mindfulness during the lockdown by doing the activities below:

The Bell-Listening Exercise

To do this exercise, ring a bell and ask the children to listen to the noise of the ringing as it slowly decreases in volume. Have the children raise their hands when they feel like the ringing has completely stopped. This exercise helps teach children how to connect to the present moment and pay close attention to their senses.

Breathing Buddies

Have your children lie down on the floor on their back, and give each of them a stuffed animal. Tell them to place the stuffed animals on top of their bellies. Have them breathe in silence for one minute, and feel how their stuffed animal (“breathing buddy”) slowly moves up and down with their breath. Have them also note any other sensations that they might feel. These breathing exercises will keep them calm and relaxed.

The Squish and Relax Meditation

While the children are lying down with their eyes closed, tell them to tighten each muscle in their bodies, starting with their toes and moving all the way up to their heads. Have them hold each tightened muscle for a few seconds before fully releasing it and relaxing their bodies. This activity will help the children loosen up their bodies and minds. This is also a very effective method to teach children how to stay in the present moment.

All of the activities and exercises mentioned above should suffice in providing you with a much-needed lockdown routine and it should be keeping you and your loved ones busy during this period. If you feel like reading more helpful and interesting articles, click here to visit our other blog posts.

Please stay safe and practice self-isolation mindfully. Remember to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds under running water and remember that this too shall pass. There is after all hope for us all.

 

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