Cabin Fever (noun)

Merriam-Webster Definition of cabin fever

: extreme irritability and restlessness from living in isolation or a confined indoor area for a prolonged time

Is Cabin Fever for real?

Is this the first time you have encountered this term? As we have been on our self-quarantine for weeks, and we do not know yet until when this will be extended, we might be experiencing restlessness and discontentment. Cabin Fever is relatively used as an expression to explain feeling bored from being intensely isolated in a building for a period of time. There have been many claims and studies about its nature as some sort of syndrome, disorder, or specific phobia.

According to Paul Rosenblatt, a psychologist and a former family social science professor at the University of Minnesota, the medical terms that are best suited to describe the feeling of cabin fever are claustrophobia (extreme fear of narrowed or confined areas) and seasonal affective disorder (kind of depression that reappears on a seasonal basis).

Cabin fever isn’t an official diagnosis but that doesn’t mean that we should brush this feeling off. It is still acknowledged by mental health professionals as an additional real and challenging issue. The distress and symptoms it brings can even make fulfillment of our daily goals difficult as many people could feel stuck between the fear of being exposed to the virus and the fear of going stir-crazy during quarantine.

People, Emotion, Dramatic, Female, Woman, Person

What are the symptoms of it?

Some may not be exactly experiencing the symptoms of the other but here are the common effects:

  • Restlessness and sleeplessness
  • Sadness or depression
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Being lethargic
  • Impatience
  • Lack of motivation
  • Uncontrollable cravings
  • Social Isolation
  • Rapid decrease or increase in weight
  • Feeling of being hopeless
  • Problems coping with stress

According to PsychCentral, cabin fever may double the weight of feeling to people who are anxious or depressed. Extroverted people may feel upset and stressed. People who either sleep too little or too much might develop sleep disorders. Some people also start to become paranoid and distrust the people around them, people on the news, and even the news media itself.

How can I cope with this?

Washing Machine, Laundry, Tumble Drier, Housework

Make a routine: Having no routine can cause disruptions in eating, sleeping, and activity. To keep yourself on track, try to create a daily routine or list of mini goals to do in a day. Make sure to make it reasonable to have an exciting feeling of accomplishment.

Social Media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Icons

Stay connected: This tip is not limited to virtually connecting with your friends. You can actually connect with nature or with yourself, depending on your preference. If you can’t access the outdoors for a good look to the nature, you can still bring it inside! Why not try to invest in taking care of some houseplants?

On the other hand, if you want some reconnecting time with yourself, try some yoga. It’s a great activity to concentrate your calmness.

Painting, Pencils, Pens, Watercolour, Paint, Acrylic

Express your creativity: Were you once interested in playing instruments or drawing? Why not try to hone this young skill of yours during quarantine? Use this time to reconnect with the activities you have had to put on hold because you were so busy and didn’t have much time.

Yoga, Fitness, Exercise, Health, Body, Meditation

Let’s get physical: Find a way to stay physically active indoor and make your blood circulation better! There are plenty of workout videos on YouTube, so check it out and I bet you’ll soon begin to like to move it, move it.

Do you think the symptoms are worsening? Consider reaching out to a mental health professional. They should be able to help you grasp whatever you’re feeling.

Listed below are some of the mental health hotlines that you may contact (around Batangas):

National Center for Mental Health
0917-899-USAP (8727) or 989-USAP (8727)

Philippine Mental Health Association (PMHA)
Lipa City, Batangas HQ
+632-921-4958 and +632-921-4959

HealSpace Psychological Clinic
Lipa City, Batangas

Seasoned Counseling Clinic
Tanauan City, Batangas

Cabin Fever Symptoms and Coping Skills
How to Deal with Cabin Fever
Coping with Cabin Fever
Paul Rosenblatt