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Practical ways we can all adapt to life indoors and avoid 'cabin fever'

What can you do to avoid feeling trapped in during lockdown? Liz Connor investigates


Video chat: connecting with others helps

Video chat: connecting with others helps

Video chat: connecting with others helps

As coronavirus continues to affect our lives, millions of people have been confined to their homes in an effort to slow the spread of the disease. While there are those rare people that seem to be thriving in isolation - enjoying the extra time to indulge in passion projects, hobbies and unwatched box sets - many others are finding being stuck indoors more difficult.

Humans are social beings after all; we've evolved to operate in collaborative communities. So getting 'cabin fever' - the claustrophobic restlessness you can experience when confined to a small space for a long period of time - is totally understandable.

Here psychologist Dr Meg Arroll, chartered psychologist on behalf of Healthspan (healthspan.co.uk) explains what we can do to help ourselves adapt to life indoors...

1. Embrace the uncomfortable sensation

"We often try to escape or ignore uncomfortable feelings, which tend to magnify them," says Arroll. "Instead, turn the tables on cabin fever and view each sensation through a lens of inquisitiveness - ask yourself what each sensation feels like in your body, is it in certain areas (the head, chest, limbs for example), can you give it a colour, name or character?

"By investigating each sensation, you will grow accustomed to it and the negative influence these symptoms have can diminish."

2. Connect, connect, connect

"Connect with others, connect with nature and connect with yourself. Schedule regular video chats with colleagues during working hours, and pick up the phone instead of just texting your friends and family. Try to get some fresh air in the single exercise session that's currently permitted. When you're out, mindfully observe five sights, four sounds, three smells and two sensations, whilst bringing your mind back to one present moment."

3. Try to keep to a daily and weekly schedule

"Maintaining regular sleep and wake times will help maintain your sleep-wake cycle.

"This is important as cabin fever seems to overlap with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), wherein the primary mechanism is believed to be a disruption in the production of vital neurochemicals, like melatonin and serotonin, which control our circadian rhythm and mood. Write down your new schedule, then make this visible to the whole family. The act of writing helps ground ourselves in daily routine, which can help us to feel part of the world once again."

Belfast Telegraph