Yesterday I hit "Cabin Fever". I had been indoors for too long, pulling seemingly endless days in front of the computer while juggling children’s and patients needs and only able to get a quick 20 minute YouTube yoga session in before starting work. 
 
For someone who thrives on daily exercise (I used to run or cycle as part of my commute most days) I have really struggled with a lack of fresh air and high intensity exercise. Yes I have been out in the garden and a sunny day was a Godsend on Monday! 
 
We are wired for exercise, which is why modern sedentary office based life is literally killing us with obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stress. 
 
Exercise is the antidote and cure for many of these ills - endorphins released during exercise cause relaxation, heart rate lowers, lungs breathe more easily and thoughts fall into place while anxiety is replaced by wellbeing after exercise. 
 
My step count used to be over 10K a day as I walked between our two city centre clinics at least once a day along with my run through the forest to the station. 
 
I needed HOPE to overcome this situation. 
 
So how to combat Cabin fever and feed hope? 
Set Expectations 
Take it a day at a time; when the schools were closed for a number of weeks my heart sank as I realised we were in this for the long haul, a marathon not a sprint. I had to redefine my expectations to remember that life was not interminable and had to remind myself I signed up to this long before the Government said I had to - I CHOSE to self-isolate the family therefore I GET to spend time with them. 
 
Remember your needs 
I recognised I need more time outside, hence my desperate dash out to the hills near my house for an intense run, to feel the breeze, get muddy, smell the pine trees and immerse myself in the forest I love. 
 
Look forward 
Remember that soon the bluebells will fill the forest, the trees will be in full leaf and I cant wait to see the flowers in the garden again - Boom - that is something to look forward to! 
 
Focus on what you have 
I am blessed to be living with grandparents who can help us home-school and continue working. We chose this way of life which initially was challenging as we knocked the corners off each other; but now is yielding fruit. Take time to look around and count your blessings. Reframe your statements eg I can't visit my friends turns into "I get to spend more time with my family". I you live alone make sure to arrange a time to video chat friends and family - if you don’t plan this in it will be lost in the busyness of life. 
 
Breathe 
Many patients have been in touch for video chats of late with anxiety going through the roof; breathing difficulty is a side effect of shallow breathing and causes chest muscles to ache and anxiety levels to rise. If you can exercise without breathing limiting your ablity you don't have a respiratory problem but a lack of deep breathing when at rest. Try to take a deep breath every time you stand up, go through a doorway or stop to think; breathe in for 5 and out for 6. 
 
Many of us would have dreamt of getting away to a cabin for some peace and quiet - how many of us would have guessed that we would be there now and would be taking ourselves and perhaps our household with us? 
 
If this all rings a bell please see our other blog posts. If you would like to investigate your personal health further, you can book a video consultation with Dr Sinclair who specialises in an integrated approach to health, stress and burnout management, aiming to help busy people perform better and find lifelong health and happiness. 
 
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