Some of us go through what’s called, cabin fever at times. Whether we’re in the middle of a crisis or just trapped inside due to severe winter weather.

Although it’s not a psychological disorder recognized by society, cabin fever is real. Even for those who like staying at home, there comes a time when the confinement may become too much. During a shelter-in-place order, learning how to deal with cabin fever can be even more difficult.

This is because we really don’t know when the lockdown will end.

How to recognize cabin fever

In severe winter weather, we learn to cope with cabin fever in many ways. One simple way is to keep in mind where we are during the season and how many months are left until spring.

Unlike seasonal emotions, when we don’t know how long until we can go out in public, we start to panic in a different manner. There are ways we act which let others in our household know that we’ve started to suffocate with cabin fever.

Symptoms of cabin fever

1. Depression or even just sadness

As you know, depression is different from sadness. Sadness lasts for a little while, but depression hangs out and feels much worse. Those who are feeling trapped may start to exhibit sadness or depression signaling they need some fresh air, and even some sunlight to combat the depression.

How to deal with it?

There is no quick or sure cure for clinical depression except to take your prescribed medications and go out and get some sun. But if you are just sad, try thinking of good memories, call a good friend you haven’t spoken with in a while, and maybe write in a journal.

When you start recording your calendar dates with your thoughts, it helps you to remember what day it is and keeps the days from feeling like they’re running into one big space or time.

2. Restlessness

An overall feeling of restlessness will start to develop when you’ve been staying inside and away from others for too long. You may be staying at home with family or you may be completely alone. Either way, restlessness can occur.

Now, I will say that if you have family around, the restlessness may not be as severe. It just depends on how well you’re getting along with everyone.

How to deal with it?

If you’re feeling restless, deal with cabin fever by channeling that energy into something productive. Decide to embark upon some household projects like organizing your clothing or learning to cook something new.

Learning how to bake bread was a fun thing for me when I was restless, and when I was done, I realized that I’d learned a new skill. Also, if sheltering in place allows you to go outside, go for a walk, but stay close to home as orders decree.

3. Low motivation

While you’re staying inside, you may think of many things to do, like clean or organize things. You might ponder about reading a book or dancing to your favorite music. However, when you have cabin fever, you may not have the motivation to do anything. It doesn’t make sense, but I’m going through this myself right now. Motivation to me is getting harder to muster each day as one day melts into another.

How to deal with it?

Building motivation isn’t always an easy task. Sometimes it takes getting thoroughly disgusted with yourself without getting depressed. So, here’s a hint: when you start to feel bad about yourself, push yourself right then to go do something.

This will help you cut the connection between low motivation and depression. This might take practice. You may be able to use your restlessness to recognize you’re about to get depressed.

4. Lack of concentration

Coping with cabin fever requires you to deal with the lack of concentration. It’s hard to focus on one task at a time when you are constantly staring at four walls.

You know that you have plenty of time to do almost anything in your home, but for some reason, the inability to go out makes it hard to concentrate on tasks. You may start one task, and then move to another, leaving many things half-way done.

How to deal with it?

A good way to improve your concentration when you have cabin fever is to do a small yoga session each day. Yoga helps to improve concentration by coaxing you to focus on the present time alone. On any occasion when you are locked in, you look to the future for answers.

Yoga helps us embrace the now. You can use different objects in the home as well, to keep you grounded. If you don’t want to do yoga, then just practice looking at one object for as long as possible. This is how an initial yoga class usually starts anyway. You just don’t have to do the whole session if you don’t want, although I recommend it highly.

5. Fatigue

When you have cabin fever, you will gradually lose energy. You will lay around more and eventually start to suffer from fatigue, sometimes severe fatigue at that.

Inside, there is not as much room for exercise, and fitness videos or television programs will get old fast. Before you know it, you will feel tired all the time. You may even have trouble getting out of bed, staying there most of the day.

How to deal with it?

The only way to beat fatigue when learning how to cope with cabin fever is to force yourself to do something active. Even if you are in pain, you must get up and at least walk around in the yard, if you have a yard. If not, walk around your home or do some simple floor exercises to make yourself feel better.

I have chronic pain every day, and it’s so hard to make move around, but if I don’t the fatigue gets worse. Doing anything physical works, and sometimes it helps you get beyond the pain.

If you’re having cabin fever, you’re not alone

Dear, most of us, if we are smart, are dealing with cabin fever this April 11th day of 2020. People around the world are battling a crisis that forces needed workers outside the home, and the rest of us, inside.

While in a way it’s easier to be shut up inside your home, it gets difficult after a while, even for the most introverted person you know. I am starting to feel a bit of panic myself at times.

So, I encourage you to stay strong, and I will leave you with one more incredible tip:

Change things up. Don’t do the same thing every day. Add variety to your shelter-in-place and this will help you get through. Remember, wherever we are, whatever role we’re playing at this time, we are all in this together.



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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Ella

    Dear Sherrie,
    I am your fan. I enjoy reading your articles. Thank you for writing!

    1. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

      Awww, thanx Ella. I hope you are well during these uncertain times. As for me, no cabin fever here. I just wish the sicknesses would go away.

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