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  • As stay-at-home orders take place during the winter months, finding ways to avoid cabin fever can be difficult.
  • Making a list of things to do can give you a sense of control during this time.
  • Keeping your mind and body busy can help you make it through lockdown.

COVID-19 cases are on the rise as the winter months settle in.

As stay-at-home orders take effect, concerns about coping are top of mind.

“As we have seen since the onset of the pandemic, social distancing guidelines meant to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 have the unintended effect of isolating people and potentially increasing loneliness for some vulnerable people,” Derek Richards, PhD, psychologist and chief science officer at SilverCloud Health, told Healthline.

“The recent surge in cases coupled with the change in weather, decreased daylight hours, and less socialization are expected to exacerbate feelings of hardship and distress,” he said.

The good news?

There are ways to nourish your mental health and help curb cabin fever while you stay indoors. Here are some ideas to consider.

1. Make a list

Because our sense of time during the pandemic is distorted, Dr. Michael Rich, founder of the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital, says time feels longer than it did prepandemic.

“One thing that can help adults cope is to not give up all sense of routine. Even if you don’t have an external schedule, create one so that we continue to feel that we’re accomplishing something. Additionally, having a sense of schedule allows us to get quality sleep and be functional during the day,” Rich told Healthline.

To ease the disappointment of looking at a blank calendar as more and more events get canceled, Dr. Leela Magavi, psychiatrist and regional medical director for Community Psychiatry in Newport Beach, California, recommends writing down a list of new activities.

“Create a schedule of tasks and fun-filled activities in advance to gain a sense of control and alleviate anxiety. These schedules can include allotted time for exercise, mindfulness, socialization, and learning,” she told Healthline.

Every time you’re tempted to glance at your blank calendar, look at your new schedule of tasks instead.

2. Knock out projects

While your social calendar once kept you from finishing your to-do list, now’s the time to tackle it.

Make a list of all the indoor projects you’ve put off, such as cleaning closets, purging cabinets, clearing junk drawers, painting, creating picture albums, and more.

“The satisfaction and pride that comes from accomplishing a task is motivating and can spark further creativity… Take some time to finish it up and find new projects that encourage you to rediscover old passions,” Richards said.