Avoid cabin fever and make home your happy place.

By Southern Living Editors
Updated January 02, 2018

Usually, the place that we most want to be is home. After a long day at the office or a week of traveling, we crave the myriad comforts of home: The cable-knit blankets adorning couches, beckoning you to settle in and relax awhile; the Dutch oven sitting regally on the stovetop, ready to be put to use for a comforting dinner; that one favorite nook by the window where the sun casts its warm light each morning. In normal times, home is an oasis, a place for us to unwind and let go of any worries or frustration. But these are not normal times.

As the novel coronavirus confines us to our homes, it can be easy to take small comforts for granted. Normally, we relish time spent at home, but when our home and our workspace collapse into one, cabin fever rises within us and we feel trapped, confined, restricted. We’re living in unprecedented times, but to ward off the stay-at-home blues, take a step back and remember that your home is a sanctuary. Even now, we can all find small ways to add joy to our daily lives, and it starts at home. Here are 18 simple things you can do or add to your home to boost spirits and make your space feel extra cozy.

  1. Burn a candle you love. Once you discover your favorite scent (or maybe a different one for every day of the week), buy it in bulk! It isn't called aromatherapy for nothing.
  2. Put things away. The act of cleaning up and decluttering may not initially excite you, but it can be incredibly cathartic. Creating some new storage spaces to put items away will help with decluttering and in turn make your home a happier, less stressful place to be.
  3. Play music in the kitchen. Or the garage, or office, or wherever you spend a lot of your time. Add some music to your most monotonous of tasks and they won't be dreaded anymore.
  4. Cook a comforting meal. There’s no escape quite like the kitchen, and this activity reaps very tangible rewards. And when you’re stuck at home, comfort food is king.
  5. Take a bubble bath. If there was ever a time to take a long, luxurious bath, that time is now. That bottle of lavender-scented bubble bath that’s been on your counter for ages? Put it to good use.
  6. Tend to the garden. Once you’ve created a beautiful indoor space, show some love to your favorite outdoor space: the garden. Working in your garden for an hour or two can help you de-stress and create another nook where you feel at peace.
  7. Fill your space with fresh flowers. Replenish that drooping vase with your fresh garden blooms to brighten any tablescape or dark corner.
  8. Wear slippers. Keep your feet cozy and glide around the house in your favorite pair of slippers. Once you put them on, you won’t want to take them off.
  9. Do a face mask. A little self-care can work wonders on your mood and morale.
  10. Make a stovetop potpourri pot. Throw all of your soon-to-expire spices into simmer pot that’ll fill your home with a bouquet of warm fragrance. Get the full tutorial from Test Kitchen Professional Ivy Odom here.
  11. Wash your sheets. There’s no feeling quite like tucking yourself into a set of freshly-washed sheets. Break out that bottle of glamorous, luxe detergent (our Editors recommend this Diva Glamorous Wash). You’re worth it.
  12. And while you’re at it, make your bed. Completing even the smallest of tasks will help you feel productive. Simply establish this as part of your routine each morning to keep your space feeling clean and organized.
  13. Break out the pajama set. Yes, we’re talking about that snowflake-covered pajama set that Grandma gifted the entire family for Christmas. Matching pajamas make everything better.
  14. Pick up a book. Now is the time to say no to screen time and yes to a good read. Maybe make a dent in our list of 50 classic books everyone should read in their lifetime.
  15. Cozy up in a blanket. Give us all the cable-knits and chunky weaves.
  16. Open a window. Enjoy the start of spring and let the outdoor breeze in. This may sound simple, but it’s a great way to keep your space from feeling stale.
  17. Play with your pets. There’s no better time to start a game of tug-of-war with Fido, who’s craving attention and activity just as much as you.
  18. Display sentimental items. Whether it's hanging family photos or displaying that souvenir you brought back from your last vacation, showcasing decor with personal significance brings more personality into your home. Whenever you see those items, the little reminder of the person or experience they represent will bring you joy.