• Shruti GOCHHWAL

What is Cabin Fever? How Does it Affect Your Mental Health?

What is cabin fever?

Cabin fever is used to explain the feeling of boredom or restlessness because of being stuck at home for long durations.

It is a period of negative emotions and stressful sensations people go through when being isolated or feeling cut off from the outside world.

Cabin fever leads to many symptoms that can get difficult to manage without proper help.

These feelings of loneliness are more likely in times of social distancing or sheltering in a place because of severe weather, especially during the winters.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cabin fever is becoming more common and widespread as several people are in isolation, some without their families and some losing their families to this virus.

Symptoms

Symptoms for Cabin fever may not be the same amongst everyone, but in most of the cases, people complain of being irritable or constantly restless. A few of the other experienced symptoms of this can be:

  1. Lethargy

  2. Sadness or depression

  3. Lack of concentration

  4. Reduced patience

  5. Binge eating

  6. Decreased motivation

  7. Long sleeping hours

  8. Procrastination

These symptoms can also indicate other serious disorders other than cabin fever.

If these symptoms cause stress or impact an individual’s functioning, a good mental health professional can probably help you determine whether your disorder is treatable.

Coping With Cabin Fever

Not being a recognized psychological condition, there exists no standard treatment for the same.

The coping technique that works best for you will completely depend upon your personal situation and the reason why you secluded yourself in the first place.

Looking for various ways to keep your brain engaged and occupy your time can help reduce the distress and irritability that this fever brings.

The following ideas are a good place to begin.

  1. Get Out of the House

This may not be applicable for those who are homebound, but if there is a chance for an individual to go out, even for a short duration, they must take advantage of that opportunity.

Exposure to daylight is a good way to make the body feel free, along with exercise which helps to give the body a natural high.

A quick stroll can always help relax the mind and provide energy instantly.

If the possibility of getting out is zero, exercising at home, sitting near the windows, etc can also do you good.

  1. Maintaining eating habits

For most people, being at home is an excuse to overindulge in excess food, which is usually oily and unhealthy.

Healthy food

                  Caption: Fruits and water keep the body healthy.

Credits: Pixnio

                  Alt tags: Healthy food

Some on the other hand skip meals totally.

Eating the right food in the right quantity increases energy levels and motivation in a person. Limit high-sugar and snacks with high fat content and consume plenty of water.

  1. Setting Goals

When stuck at home, people are more likely to while away their time doing nothing of importance.

This sometimes frustrates a person and gets the restless.

Setting daily and weekly goals and tracking your progress toward completion is a great way to overcome such feelings.

Goals set must be reasonable, and one must reward themselves for completing each goal.

  1. Keep The Brain Healthy

Although mobile phones and TV can be a distraction, it is also a waste of time. It jams the brain from making necessary decisions and makes it lazy.

Instead, working on puzzles in the daily paper, reading books, and playing board games helps in stimulating the mind and keeps you moving forward by reducing feelings of isolation and helplessness.

  1. Exercise

 Exercise

                  Caption: A man working on his core muscles at home

Credits: Piqsels

                  Alt tags: Exercise

It is very important to stay physically active even if you are indoors.

People can do home workouts using online workout tutorials, and various health apps to keep their body and mind fit.

Exercising gets the adrenaline rushing that can change a person’s mood.

A person can always find it hard and take time to adapt to a new way of living.

They must not get too harsh on themselves even if they feel that they are not coping as well as they should. The key idea is to remain positive.

People must relax and focus on what they have managed to do successfully instead.

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