Flashbacks of Quarantine and Confinement.
Cabin Fever Survival Guide. Quarantine, confinement, isolation, and seclusion… those words instantly make me grimace! And they make me think of one end result: Cabin Fever.
Back in 1992, I had a very bad flu. I felt horrible – the sickest I can remember ever feeling other than pneumonia I had about ten years ago.
I was off work for several days and was too sick to do anything other than laying on the couch, sleeping and watching TV. (And I was contagious!).
I vividly recall the day when I felt I was going to lose my mind. It was Inauguration Day for our newly elected President William “Bill” Clinton and the Inauguration was all that was on TV. I was tired of being stuck in the house, I was tired of watching TV. I had Cabin Fever and I had it bad! (Sorry, Bill).
Cabins are fun, Cabin Fever is not…
We love visiting the family cabin. We are blessed to have family members who live the “cabin life” and we love going there.
It’s quiet, it’s beautiful, it’s a true “Winter Wonderland” when it snows… and we always have a great visit.
However, that is doing “cabin life” the fun way. Cabin fever is quite another subject!
It got me thinking though… Maybe we need to approach the possibility of quarantine and isolation in a different way.
Why I created a Cabin Fever Survival Guide
Last night our little family of four was talking about the current Corona Virus situation. We are not obsessed, we are not going overboard on emptying toilet paper shelves at Target, etc. But we do know there are communities in the U.S. that are indeed being quarantined.
We also know the basic suggestion from health officials (for now) is, “If you don’t need to go out, stay home.” (Simple as that – until we know more about what is going on).
We agreed if it came down to that, we’d make the most of it and come up with things to do.
Upon reflection this morning, I thought, “If we can have fun “being stuck” in a cabin in the snow, why can’t we have fun at home?” Thus, the Cabin Fever Survival Guide.
When someone is sick, cabin fever is real, and rest is needed. But if that’s not the case, why not turn it into quality family time?
I’ve created the Cabin Fever Survival Guide with a variety of activities you can do with your family while being “stuck” at home.
These activities are good for all ages, and you probably already have most of the items needed in your home! (That’s the goal!).
Cabin Fever Spa and Beauty Shop
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These “beauty” activities are things you can do all at once or over a matter of days. And if you have young kids, here’s a bonus tip!
If you are having a hard time keeping them busy, let them set up your salon or spa space. Let them create signs and set up all of the products, etc. (This will keep them busy for a while). 🙂
Heck, if you want to, perhaps you can offer up a little “fee” to be earned for mom and dad massages. Make it fun and everyone will benefit from a little at-home pampering.
Fun with Hair
Taking turns playing “hairstylist” is probably the easiest activity to pull together as all that’s needed is a selection of whatever beauty tools you might have on hand which might include combs, brushes, a blowdryer, curling iron, hair accessories (such as hair bands and bobby pins), and hairspray!
This can be a multigenerational activity or even one that is done between siblings. We all know how good it feels to have someone play with your hair. (I love scalp massages!).
Another addition could be temporary hair color spray or if you’re feeling a little more daring, a temporary “wash-in” color like Keracolor’s Clenditioner: Color Depositing Conditioner and Color Wash. (Available in 15 colors).
And of course, this activity is very “selfie-friendly”.
Manicures and Pedicures are not just for “girls anymore! “Guys” like them too!
For a basic Mani-Pedi session, all that’s “needed” is a few tools. The basics might include nail clippers, a nail file, a small bowl or “soaking tray”, nail polish, and polish remover. (Note: if in doubt, always go with a quick-dry polish option for a group).
For a more “luxurious” experience you could expand to include a nail buffer, a toe separator, an electric bubble hand Jet Spa massage bowl, and a foot and pedicure spa with vibrating massage for the pedicure. (Ooh la la!).
Of course, having a “foot peel mask” for baby soft feet (yes, that is a thing), and some yummy smelling lotions to wrap up the pampering are fun little extras.
Again, you probably already have many of these items at home!
Facials and Massage
Depending on how you set up your “spa”, you can take this in a lot of different directions. This will allow you to make it as brief or as lengthy as you want!
For a basic “facial”, you can choose to make it very “light” on the product area of things if you like. This will be ideal if you have family members who have sensitive skin or who are prone to acne.
You can start with some very basic items including soft washcloths, a large bowl or steamer to have a sauna effect, a gentle cleanser, mask or scrub, toner, and a simple moisturizer. As you will see from the items listed, you can easily make this a lengthy activity or you can eliminate steps to make it shorter.
In addition to the facials, you can easily expand “services” to include someone performing shoulder massages, or doing a “face massage” during the cleansing process. The idea here is to have fun and enjoy each other’s company.
Here are a few items that should be gentle enough to use on any skin type. (I have consulted with my daughter on this. Destiny is a licensed cosmetologist and has dealt with acne-prone skin for many years). #destinyapproved
Cabin Fever Game Night (or Day)
Game Play with Young Kids
When you’re playing games with younger kids, the sky is the limit!
Take a deck of cards – ANY deck of cards and make a game out of it. My son Tyler used to have a deck of Thomas The Train cards. I can’t tell you what the object of the game was supposed to be, but I decided it was a matching game. Tyler thought it was fabulous and of course, he won every time.
You can also play simple games with just a notebook or binder paper and something to write with, or a large whiteboard.
Play hangman, or play rounds and rounds of tic-tac-toe, or you can make up word games.
One of the things that always seems to be a hit for a group is choosing someone’s name (or a random phrase for that matter) and seeing how many words can be made from it. An hourglass is fun to use if you have one (it’s more visual) but a stovetop or phone timer can be just as effective. Make it a fun competition, and let the winner choose the next word.
You can also find printable coloring pages online and have all family members color the same page, or create your own word search!
I used to create word search puzzles for ALL of my daughter’s birthday party sleepovers. I’d pull them out when the “natives” were getting restless and it would settle them down for a bit. (Phew!)
I literally created the one above in less than thirty seconds. I edited it on Canva in order to show it a little clearer on here but basically, you choose a title, the number of letters across and down, type in however many words you want to be part of the search, click create, and then PRINT. One of the easiest tasks you will ever do.
You can create your own word search puzzle by clicking “here“. It’s called the Discovery Education Puzzle Maker.
Playing Games with Older Kids and Young Adults
It may not be the easiest thing you’ll ever do, but don’t give up! One of the biggest things you need to keep in mind when approaching “these” people is flexibility… and no, I’m not talking about who can touch their toes!
Be prepared to agree to play what THEY want to play and just consider it a victory if they agreed to join in at all! (We all know how teens can be!).
My daughter Destiny and niece Haley were playing a round of Pictionary in the photo above. It’s a favorite among many age groups and can be easily played on a whiteboard if you don’t have the traditional board game.
But if they find it “boring” consider a few of these ideas!
New Games That Make Moms to Blush
Confession time. When Destiny first told me about Cards Against Humanity, I cringed. But that was why, she explained, she’d probably never play it with her father or with me!
There is a new generation of “Adult Party Games” that older teenagers and young adults are getting a kick out of. The other favorite is called, “Incohearent” – deemed, “An adult party game that will get you talking”. Indeed it does!
Incohearent (yes, that is how it is spelled) has three categories of play with a total of 500 cards. Each card has a combination of words on the front that appear to be “nonsense” and the receiver has to try to figure out what it really means.
It may sound like no big deal, however, the three categories are Party, Pop Culture, and Kinky (yikes). So – the advice here is just to remove any category that you are not comfortable with at the beginning of the game! If you do that, you will have a blast and laugh just as much as your kids do!
And here’s one more thing to remember. Our older kids may be growing up, but always consider throwing out the idea of a game you used to play when they were younger. Sometimes nostalgia wins! (And the memories feel good during trying times).
Here are a few of our favorites:
Cabin Fever Fitness (or Dance Party)
Maybe you’re confined to your home but not just “inside”. If that’s the case, have everyone go outside and get some fresh air and exercise! (And the dog too!).
Consider putting together a “family fitness challenge” and really “do” it every day! You can find 30-day challenges online if you need ideas. I like Chris Freytag on Instagram. Her challenges are posted monthly and are always brief (a short list of exercises) but effective! (Click “here” to see her March challenge).
Or you can do my favorite thing – dance! (or a combination of both)! The combination of exercise and dancing with music will release all of those awesome endorphins! This is a win-win option as you will build healthy habits and have some fun at the same time. Good stuff.
For more on what music does for your health, read “The Best Medicine is Music. (Choose Your Theme Song)”. In fact… Choosing Your Theme Song could be another activity altogether!
That post includes 10 of the songs that lift us and make us happy. (Please do consider reading that post if you need a lift)! I wrote it just this week. I was having a rough day and it prompted me to write about the benefits of music (because I needed those endorphins and because music IS the best medicine!).
Cabin Fever Movie Night or Binge-Watching
If the family is all “stuck” inside the house but you’re feeling very separated by rooms and phones, etc. Schedule a movie time or meal together and stick to it. You may get a few initial mumbles, but it’s important!
“I” have personally discovered something that is pretty cool. My kids like to binge watch TV with me! In fact, both of them have favorite shows or previews they’ve seen and actually ask if I want to watch with them! (Score!)
The goal here, as mentioned above, is to try to be flexible and open-minded to their choices. The more you do that, the better the chance that everyone will want to join in on a Movie or TV night.
What can I say? We all love 80s movies! (But we like others too).
Here are a few of our “family favorites” available on Amazon Prime Video and many other sources as well!
Binge-Watching with your Teenagers and Young Adults
On Netflix, Tyler and I have enjoyed watching Stranger Things and Dark together. They are two totally different series, and one must stay on top of them to keep up, but they are fun to watch and both have more than one season. (Good for Binge-Watching!). Note: Dark does have some adult nudity.
With Des, we enjoy watching a few YouTube Channel series together. Her favorite is Buzzfeed Unsolved Supernatural (part of the Buzzfeed Unsolved Network Channel). She loves horror movies, haunted locations, and mysteries, but we also enjoy cooking/baking shows like Bon Appetit.
Bon Appetit is fun to watch because their show is built around trying to recreate recipes for favorite store-bought items. It’s always interesting to see what they come up with in their test kitchens and whether or not they succeed in their quest!
Cooking, baking, and meal preparation
Although you may not be able to “run to the store”, you may still be able to make one of your favorite baking items! Check your inventory of baking supplies and see what you can make! This is another time killer and time spent together.
You can also encourage your kids to help with meal planning and other duties in your home. Keeping the house nice as a team can feel good for the whole family. Even if it doesn’t feel that way while they’re doing it!
Have a Puzzle Handy!
You may wonder why I didn’t include this in the game section above, but I wanted it at the end for a reason.
Completing puzzles is a great bonding activity that can be worked on whenever someone feels like it. There’s no planning involved, no time to be scheduled, just organic together time whenever it happens to occur!
I like puzzles so much that I recently wrote, Puzzles Bring People Together: Family Time. Click here to read it!
Having a puzzle sitting out and ready to be worked on is an open invitation to relax and enjoy each other’s company and THAT is the whole point of this post.
Cabin Fever Reality…
If you are indeed quarantined to your home, I hope you will take everything I said to heart, however, we all know one thing is true… too much family time can be a “wee bit” stressful as well.
With that in mind, be sure to allow for a little breathing room and space as needed (especially if you have teenagers!). Also, remind yourself to be patient… if you are getting to an irritated or agitated state, give yourself a time out! (Breathing would be a good start!).
Other ideas that could be expanded upon are organizing drawers and closets, sorting through clothes and preparing to make future donations, etc. These activities can be done together or alone if that “breathing room” time is due. A friend of mine even suggested learning a new language – why not?
Spend time together, enjoy each other, and be thankful for each other. Maybe Cabin Fever doesn’t have to be an altogether “bad” thing.
I hope you enjoyed our Cabin Fever Survival Guide!
carol blessing says
Great ideas and of course very timely!
Kimberly Funk says
Thank you, Carol 🙂