Life certainly feels pretty surreal right now. Just a few months ago, we were celebrating the new year, looking towards a new decade with dreams, goals, and hopes for the future. Then suddenly we began to hear about a mysterious disease—a flu of some sort—spreading and killing people, first by the hundreds then by the thousands. Still, we felt pretty safe here, far away, too far to feel any real threat. By March our lives had quickly turned upside down. A few days off from work and school is okay, but as the days and weeks passed, the permanence of the nationwide lockdown became scary. As the numbers of positive cases, and the death roll, rose in the U.S., even the skeptics and hoax-claimers started putting on their masks. Social distancing and safer at home orders are our constant reminders that we’ve entered into a whole new existence and the way we lived before might not ever fully return. After the fear and shock subside a bit, as human beings, we do what we’ve been doing for thousands of years: We adapt. Most of us have gotten used to this new, strange way of life. Many of us are more grateful for our loved ones, and the things that truly matter, more than ever before. We are more appreciative of our jobs, our teachers, healthcare workers, and the essential service providers that are out exposing themselves every day to ensure we all have our basic needs met. They say the best thing we can do to give back is to stay home, but deep down, we wish we could do more as we see and hear of so many people struggling financially, fighting for their lives, or grieving the loss of a loved one. So, here we are, doing our part by staying home, feeling more isolated as the days go by. Soon we’ll be able to get back some of our usual day-to-day life, but we will definitely be returning to a very edited version of normal. COVID-19 and Cabin Fever For many people, cabin fever has set in. It’s certainly not the worst illness to have right now, but it takes a toll on our morale, our sense of hope, and the resilience that we really need to maintain right now. Below are a few ways to recognize rising cabin fever:
Irritability or moodiness
Snapping at your spouse/partner and/or family members
Hypersensitivity to comments/remarks from household members
Picking arguments with household members (You are probably noticing a trend here, as cabin fever often manifests in our interactions with others.)
Feeling restless or becoming bored easily
Difficulty completing a task from start to finish (from a simple household chore to tasks that require concentration)
Eating more/appetite increase
Difficulty falling or staying asleep
Low energy/fatigue …and in more severe cases, cabin fever can mimic symptoms of depression and/or anxiety.
Having negative thoughts or a tendency to make negative conclusions about situations or possible outcomes
Crying easily/becoming overly emotional
Feeling easily overwhelmed by minor stressors
Difficulty making decisions
Frequent worrying and having difficulty controlling the worry
Most cases of cabin fever are mild and resolve on their own with the proper coping methods, but in some cases, cabin fever can get worse if not treated. There are many strategies and methods you can implement, even while staying at home and remaining socially distant from others, in order to prevent cabin fever from affecting you and your loved ones. It’s critical to keep yourself healthy and motivated, ready to get back to your routine with the strength and determination to overcome any obstacles that may come with these changing times.