Dealing With Cabin Fever During Lockdown
July 13th, 2021 at 7:50 am
It’s been more than a year since travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders were enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At first, it may have felt easier, but not being able to leave the house or have physical connections for an extended period of time can cause cabin fever. Cabin fever is not a psychological disorder – it is the feelings of restlessness, irritability and loneliness that develop under these circumstances. This state of mind can significantly affect a person’s quality of life.
What Causes Cabin Fever
Being stuck inside or in the same place for a long time can cause feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and low mood. As a social species, we require human connection to feel and function better, which has been impeded by the lockdown. It has also affected our sense of control and motivation, leaving us feeling impotent. Other factors that can cause or contribute to cabin fever include not being able to enjoy meaningful outdoor activities, becoming burned out by working from home, and becoming anxious about finances and health.
What Are The Signs Of Cabin Fever
The symptoms of cabin fever vary from person to person. Other than feeling irritable or restless, everyone experiences different feelings and effects of cabin fever. Some of the signs of cabin fever include:
- Struggling to stick to a routine
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Binge eating or binge drinking
How To Cope With Cabin Fever
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Your overall personality can determine how you cope with cabin fever. For example, people with introverted personalities may have an easier time being confined to their homes compared to those who are more extroverted – they may experience stronger feelings of isolation and loneliness. Either way, here are some healthy ways to cope:
- Develop a routine
Whether you need a more motivating morning routine or a better bedtime routine, implementing a structure to our days can help us manage our emotional wellbeing and feel more in control. It can also improve productivity.
- Get some fresh air
If you’ve been feeling claustrophobic, open a few windows and doors to allow some fresh air in. Make it a daily habit to go outside, even if you don’t have a garden – try stretching on the balcony or going for an evening walk around your apartment block.
- Connect with others
Social interactions don’t have to be face-to-face! You can still maintain strong relationships and stay socially healthy through calls and messages. Make the effort to connect with your friends and family everyday – you’ll feel less isolated and lonely.
- Eat healthy
What you eat each day affects both your physical and mental health. Create healthier eating habits for yourself with balanced and nutritious meals – following set mealtimes can help prevent binge eating, and establish a daily routine.
When To Seek Help
Cabin fever may not be a specific diagnosis, but if your symptoms get worse, please seek help from a mental health professional. Look out for:
- New or increased feelings of anxiety or depression
- New or worsened obsessive-compulsive behaviours
- Decreased interest, energy or motivation
- Inability to eat or sleep
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