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All Cooped Up - Management of COVID-19 Cabin Fever

Good afternoon, I hope that this email finds you and your family healthy and doing well. While some of us are teleworking and others are actually going to work, regardless of your current situation we all have limited movement outside of our homes due to COVID-19 (Corona Virus).

Cabin Fever definition: A state characterized by anxiety, restlessness, and boredom, arising from a prolonged stay in a remote or confined place (Dictionary.com).

Below are some tips on how to manage being cooped up in our homes during this time of uncertainty:

  1. Fresh air - Get fresh air if possible, this may be as simple as opening a window in your home or actually going outdoors. *Please keep current social-distancing recommendations in mind* (A Prescription for Better Health: go alfresco - Harvard Medical School)
  • Sunlight gives us natural Vitamin D, even as little as 10-15 minutes a day!
  • Movement/Exercise – You will be less inactive, especially for children when they are away from electronics. *Tip - Take a short walk around the block and you’ll not only get Vitamin D from the sunlight (during daylight hours), but you’ll also get MOVING which increases blood circulation.
  • Happier mood & improved concentration – *Tip – Enjoy Colorado’s beauty by looking west…at the mountains!

2. Stay motivated – (How to Stay Motivated and Accomplish Anything - Forbes)

  • Set goals and visualize it down to the smallest detail
  • Make a list of reasons you want to accomplish your goal
  • Break the goal down into smaller pieces and set targets/rewards
  • Have a strategy and be prepared to change course – BE FLEXIBLE
  • Get help if needed
  • Pre-determine how you will deal with LACK of motivation (Set-backs/exhaustion) – This is huge when confined to your home with lack of interaction with others)
  • Continually check in with your why – Why are you continuing/striving for this goal/task/etc.?

3. Stress Management & Relaxation Techniques – (Manage Anxiety and Stress - COVID-19 – Centers of Disease Control and Prevention) 

Stress during an infectious disease outbreaks can include:


  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

Things you can do to support yourself:


  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

**Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

For Parents - There are many things you can do to support your child:


  • Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.
  • Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
  • Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
  • Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
  • Be a role model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.

Learn more about helping children cope.

4. Routine - *Tips - Schedule your daily activities to include “you” time (self-care) and your news/social media time. Have ‘set’ wake-up and go-to-sleep times. Make “To-Do” lists to keep you on track.

5. Relationships – Stay connected with co-workers, friends, neighbors, and family via email, phone calls, text, letters/cards, and social media avenues.

6. Exercise – Research at Duke University Medical Center demonstrated that aerobic activity (30 minutes–three times a week) may be as effective as antidepressant medications for relieving depression. *Tip - ANY type of movement is beneficial, whether it is done indoors or outdoors. This is certainly better than no movement at all.

7. Mental Boundaries – Make wise choices with what you are filling your mind with – Be careful NOT to overdose on news or social media. *Tip – Practice positive reinforcement: listen to uplifting music, recite positive affirmations, watch comedy or inspiring shows/movies, color, journal, state/write down what you are grateful for, etc.

Wishing you the best…


Lisa Taylor
Exceptional Family Member Program - Family Support Coordinator
Airman & Family Readiness Center
USAF Academy