Combating Lupus and Cabin Fever
The winter season is here, and for thousands around the world, they would like nothing more than to hunker down and hibernate for the winter. Allow me for a moment to tantalize your mind with this image: sitting by a warm, cozy fire, snuggled in a blanket, hot cocoa (with little marshmallows) in hand while watching Frosty the Snowman on television.
Through a window, you watch the snow as it playfully dances to the ground and holiday lights illuminate the stunning backdrop. Sounds simply divine, doesn’t it? It is the time of year for jingle bells, popcorn strings, and holiday specials.
However, I am certain that many can attest to the fact that as the season wears on, cabin fever can soon ensue. Fortunately, for most, this stir-crazy condition is — for the most part — short lived.
However, for those like myself who suffer from lupus and a near constant state of being immunosuppressed, cabin fever can last throughout the year. Being homebound can be challenging and it is important to find creative ways to stay in good spirits and combat the condition of cabin fever.
Through my personal experiences, I have discovered several ways to do this and I have compiled a few tips to share with you that I hope will offer encouragement and some easy to implement solutions to get you through.
Establish and Maintain a Routine
Many see this as a given, but I can assure you that when no longer faced with (what used to be) your typical day, this can be a challenge. When I was a school teacher, my daily routine was habitual and automatic.
Although now on disability, I have found this to be one of the most vital aspects of my personal wellbeing; not only for myself, but for my family as well.
The routine may look different, but it is important to discover your new rhythm. Get up, take a shower, get dressed, and establish a schedule that you can maintain throughout the day.
This might include taking lupus medications as recommended, meal preparation, light duty chores, therapeutic activities, and even resting or taking a nap as needed.
Will there be days that you don’t feel like it? Of course. However, lying around in your pajamas and avoiding personal care can eventually lead to a destructive frame of mind.
Keep some flexibility in your schedule to avoid stress and allow yourself to take it easy when necessary.
Do Something You Enjoy
I realize this is an ambiguous statement, but we all have things we enjoy. Get yourself engrossed in a series on Netflix. Watch classic movies or light-hearted romantic comedies. Read a new book (or re-read an old favorite). Listen to an audio-book or music you enjoy (uplifting is best). Journal. Keep your mind sharp with puzzles, thinking activities, or even hand-held video games (a personal favorite of mine is Professor Layton on Nintendo DS).
Organize a family game night or plan theme days. Start a blog. Organize photographs and compile them into albums. Create memory collages or inspiration boards. The list is endless according to what interests you. The key here is to make sure it is something you enjoy. If it becomes daunting, choose something else!