Cabin fever for real?
You feel trapped. The walls seem to be closing in.
Is this what claustrophobia feels like, you wonder?
“Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow,” sing happy carolers on the radio. You are anything but happy that the “weather outside is frightful.”
You want to scream as you quickly change the channel. It has been snowing heavily, on and off, for
too many days for you to feel like advocating for more snow.
You punch in the old classic rock station. Meatloaf’s
“Two out of three ain’t bad” is playing. You hear him sing, “the snow is really piling up outside.”
Oh, no! Now you do scream. You don’t need another reminder. The snow had been piling up, and you have been trapped at home for days. The roads are not plowed and won’t be until the snow stops.
You wonder what will happen first: the plowing of the neighborhood streets or your nervous breakdown.
“Patience” is only a word in a dictionary for you as you even scare yourself with your short and explosive temper. You are definitely not yourself as everyone, and everything seems to be getting on your already frayed nerves.
The Shining flash through your mind and you start to wonder if all work and no play does, indeed, make Jack a dull boy. Are you losing your mind? Not necessarily. You may be experiencing a fever. Although not an “official” psychiatric disorder, it is a very real phenomenon.
First described in 1918, fever connotes being stuck in a cabin, isolated from the outside world, for a prolonged period of time. Some of the more common symptoms of fever include anxiety, a sense of dread and foreboding, depression, restlessness, crankiness and irritability.
Oftentimes people report feeling like they “want to jump out of their skin.” They are quick to snap at those around them, who, quite often, are feeling just as volatile.
More than boredom
Those with fever are affected by a lack of stimulation.
That is, they feel like they have nothing to do. Nothing seems to interest them. And, what does interest them soon loses its appeal. Fever, however, is much more than simple boredom. Fever is much more pervasive and draining.
Fever can deplete the person’s energy and motivation in a way that simple boredom could never do.
With low energy and little motivation, the person becomes even less active. The lack of activity then increases the fever, thus creating a negative feedback loop or vicious cycle. It is not uncommon for those with fever to have sleeping problems.
They may tend to sleep too much, almost as if trying to hibernate. Or, they may not be able to sleep at all. Their lower than usual expenditure of energy may mean that they are not tired enough to sleep soundly.
It is easier to prevent fever than to cure it. By planning ahead, you can reduce your risk of feeling trapped and overly stressed even when you are housebound.
If you know bad weather is on the way with the risk of you being unable to leave your house, prepare yourself. Stock up on provisions to feed your body and your mind. Too often, fever is fed by junk food.
Eating junk food may be fast and easy, but it, too, will contribute to a vicious cycle. The junk food may temporarily satisfy but will lead to more lethargy, trouble sleeping, and a down mood.
The simplest solution?
Have a good supply of healthy food available and feed your mind by keeping things available that will stimulate your thinking.
Studies show that even mild exercise can be helpful in lifting one’s spirits. And, even if the weather is bad, sometimes just getting outside for a quick break can be quite therapeutic.
Stepping out into the cold or even the freezing air can help energize and revitalize you. Just don’t stay out too long.
Remember, although you cannot prevent being snowbound, you can prevent fever.
Being prepared is half the battle, and applying what you know is the other half. With some preplanning and a little effort, you may find that being inside can, indeed, be tolerable if not downright delightful.
Post by John Miler
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