In the wake of all that is going on right now, the thought of being tied down to your home can make you feel some anxiety and worry. This corona virus pandemic is making many feel stress that may stem beyond simply being isolated… just know that we will get through this just like every other crisis we have faced.
Cabin fever is a popular term used for a common reaction to being isolated in a building for a period of time. Some experts say that it is linked to disorders such as claustrophobia, others say that is some sort of syndrome. It is basically rooted in intense isolation which can reach the level of a phobia.
Now what are the symptoms of Cabin Fever?
- Lack of patience
- social isolation
- changes in weight
- food cravings
- sadness or depression
- trouble concentrating
- decreased motivation
- inability to cope with stress
- difficulty waking
Not everyone suffering from cabin fever will experience the same symptoms, but many have reported feeling the intense irritability or restlessness. Now these symptoms may also be indications of a wide range of other disorders, and only a trained professional can make a real diagnosis. Also, not everyone who has a fear of being cooped up will get cabin fever. If you or someone you are with exhibit more than one of these symptoms, a phobia could be likely.
Like any other medical condition, cabin fever is gonna be treated the best with the help or a therapist or trained professional. If your symptoms are relatively mild, it would be wise to take steps to combat the feelings that you are having and that may be enough to help you feel better.
How to cope…
- Get out of the house! There are cases in which you cannot get out, but if you are able, go ahead and get some exposure to daylight. Even if it is for a short time. Exposure to daylight can help regulate the body’s natural cycles and if you take a walk, that exercise can release endorphins, which create a natural high. If you cannot get out of the house, get close to a window and start moving around.
- Use your brain! TV is a great distraction for when we are stuck in the house. Let’s be honest though, for the most part, it is basically mindless. Pick up a book, play a game, or do a crossword puzzle. When we stimulate our minds, it can help keep us moving forward and reduce the feelings that isolation and helplessness can bring.
- Set some goals!! When I am stuck in the house, I tend do waste time doing nothing of importance….I binge watch on Netflix or play games on my phone…and of course, scroll on social media. Maybe we can do more with our time if we set daily and weekly goals and track our progress somehow toward completion. Just make sure that your goals are reasonable, and definitely reward yourself for meeting each goal.
There is also Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, which is closely linked to cabin fever. Although they are linked, they are not interchangeable. The key difference is that SAD occurs during the winter months even when people are spending little time at home, cabin fever is specifically associated with isolation. THese two conditions can even occur at the same time and trying to figure out what can be done at that point can be challenging.
Cabin fever can dampen your mood, energy level, and motivation if you let it. You may be able to identify with some of the symptoms but it doesn’t mean you have to park your feelings there! Here are some fresh ideas that may be able to help you get out of the funk….
- Do a puzzle
- try a new recipe
- start scrapbooking
- pull out the old board games
- Engage in some pre-spring cleaning
- Have a popcorn and movie night
- volunteer your time
- take on a home improvement project
- rearrange your furniture
- go for a walk
- try a new outdoor activity
- plan your summer vacation
- research your family history
- write a letter to an old friend or family member
- break out a good book…Goodreads.com always has great suggestions and reviews
Spring will be here before you know it and hopefully our corona virus will be on its way out!! Whether you decide to curl up with a good book, or venture out into the snow, you will be in a safe place and hopefully with people you love.