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Does self-isolation have you counting the days spent at home? It’s only a matter of time before the days start blurring together and you develop a serious case of “cabin fever.” Maybe you already have.

The symptoms

Cabin fever is commonly associated with boredom or restlessness that occurs after being cooped up inside for a few days. During periods of long-term isolation, like during the COVID-19 pandemic, the symptoms of cabin fever may feel all too real. Without the proper focus on your mental health, cabin fever can lead to more intense symptoms, such as:

¦ Decreased motivation and difficulty concentrating

¦ Irritability and/or lack of patience

¦ Hopelessness

¦ Irregular sleep patterns and/or difficulty waking up

¦ Lethargy

¦ Distrust of people around you

¦ Persistent sadness or depression

¦ Negative thoughts

Among these symptoms, irritability and negative thoughts may be the strongest. Don’t let the anger and frustration permanently distance you from your loved ones. You can get through it.

What can you do to cope?

Create a routine: Don’t let being home cause you to slip from your schedule. If your old schedule doesn’t fit, find a new one and stick to it. Wake up at the same time every day — even on the weekends. Don’t hit snooze. If you continue to wake up at the same time each day, the easier it will be the next.

Spend time outdoors: The weather may change in a whirlwind, so take advantage of the time you can spend outside. Outside isn’t canceled (if you’re keeping a safe distance from your neighbors)! Make excuses to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Maybe start your trip to the mailbox with a walk around the block.

Use technology to your advantage: Isolation does not have to put a halt to all socialization. Utilize video calls to check up on your family, collaborate with colleagues, or even celebrate with friends. You can even workout right in your living room.

Find a hobby: There has never been a more convenient time to work on your hobbies. If you’re not sure you have a hobby, there are plenty of activities you can enjoy from the comfort of your home. Reading, puzzling, cooking/baking, running, singing, or even dancing — keep in mind it’s never too late to learn something new.

Make sure you’re leaving time for yourself: If you’re working from home and/or the kids have you slowly losing your mind, it’s important to take a breath. Work on a hobby, relax in a bubble bath, or find an activity the whole family can enjoy. Finding time to yourself is always easier said than done, so don’t be afraid to choose convenience.

Cody Pangrazzi is a psychotherapist at Aurora Behavioral Health Center in Marinette. His office can be reached at 715-732-8100.