It’s been quite a long time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the effects of isolation have revealed themselves across United States households. Self-isolation has become a common, necessary way of life to protect public health, causing some to experience a phenomenon called cabin fever.
Cabin fever is a term often reserved for the winter season and is rooted in deep feelings of isolation. While cabin fever is not a recognized psychological disorder, its symptoms and effects are very real, noted by medical professionals.
How to Tell If You Have Cabin Fever
Symptoms can vary from person to person, however common symptoms include irritability and restlessness. A range of symptoms can manifest such as:
- Food cravings
- Sadness or depression
- Trouble concentrating
- Frequent napping
- Decreased motivation
- Lack of patience
- Difficulty waking
- Little effort made to socialize
- Increased anxiety
It is encouraged to contact a medical and/or mental health professional if you are experiencing these symptoms continuously or increasingly.
While these symptoms can feel overwhelming, there are ways to mitigate and prevent cabin fever. Use these methods below to create an actionable plan as we head into 2021.
Ways to Manage the Symptoms
- Tackle A House Project. Many individuals are using this time to take on a project they just couldn’t find the time to start or finish. Try starting a vegetable garden, refurbishing a vintage piece of furniture, or build a birdhouse. This can stimulate your creative side and rid yourself of excess energy and time.
- Set Realistic Goals. Losing track of time is too easy to do during isolation. Use this as an opportunity to practice goal-setting, making each one achievable and actionable. For example, try a fitness goal like 3,000 steps a day for one week, and then add 500 steps each week after. Remember to reward yourself after each goal is complete.
- Exercise Your Brain. With access to endless entertainment through the internet and streaming platforms, caving to the TV itch is understandable. However, don’t allow TV to be your only activity. Go old-school and try a crossword, word search, puzzle, or Sudoku. Use technology and find an interesting game online.
- Maintain Normal Eating Patterns. Our bodies thrive on routine, especially when it comes to nutrition. While it may be tempting with your stocked kitchen within reach, stick to your healthy eating habits, or create new ones. Limit high-sugar, high-fat snacks, and stay hydrated. With newly found free time, you could also try new recipes and brush up on your cooking skills.
- Exercise Your Body. During pandemic times, many organizations have created helpful tools for exercising at home. Find a free online workout program, or watch different tutorials for yoga, running, bodyweight routines, etc. Use the internet to find a variety of resources, and find a workout that makes you excited to move.