Perhaps you’re extremely bored with your quarantine life and have mastered the art of scrolling through your social media accounts’ news feed. Why don’t we play a game then? Put a finger down if you have ever felt the following:
Never have I ever wanted to sleep all day.
Never have I ever felt so lethargic.
Never have I ever felt irritated at someone without any reason.
Never have I ever procrastinated.
Never have I ever felt sad and hopeless.
Note that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends self-isolation or quarantine to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases around the globe. With this, you most probably felt three to five things mentioned above during this pandemic.
You might have wondered what you generally felt— but have you heard of cabin fever?
Cabin fever is not the usual fever where the human body activates itself to kill viruses or bacteria. Cabin fever refers to the negative stressful feeling of an individual being isolated or withdrawn from their social life. Hence, cabin fever is not a psychological disorder but experts believe that what people are experiencing is real.
Adrienne Sng, a mental health clinician and a Singapore Registered Psychologist, states that different people may experience a variety of symptoms depending on their personality, temperament, and current coping capabilities.
There are multiple indications of having cabin fever, but here are some certain signs that you need to know to reorganize your everyday routine.
1. You want to sleep all day.
It’s hard to stay motivated and active all day with nothing to think about but the pending work lying around that is waiting to be finished. Hence, you find it easy to lie down on your bed and cuddle with your pillow. Either way, you stay up late, struggle to get out of bed, and feel lazy all day long.
2. You feel so lethargic.
You might label yourself as sluggish or lazy but nevertheless, it’s the cabin fever haunting your body. It's gradually making you switch into "slo-mo mode."
3. You feel more impatient.
Have you noticed yourself being easily irritated and being more annoyed by everyone around you? If it isn’t only for cabin fever, you’ll probably end up receiving an award at the Oscars for your drastic mood swings.
4. You struggle to start and/or finish your work.
Staring at a mountain of unwashed plates or a pile of paperwork won't help it finish by itself. You're most probably struggling to get things started because you're overanalyzing things and putting a lot of pressure on yourself.
5. You suddenly feel sad and hopeless.
You don't feel brokenhearted nor trying to get over a crush. At times, you most likely feel sad and hopeless from being physically away from some of your friends and loved ones.
Individuals who have mental health issues while having to experience cabin fever might increase their distress which may initiate other mental health disorders namely: paranoia, depression, generalized anxiety, etc.
It is best to address the symptoms you are feeling now and reconstruct the monotonous habits you have been practicing. Here are some useful tips to help you get through your cabin fever.
1. Give yourself the right amount of sleep.
You don’t need a handsome prince nor a damsel in distress to wake you up from your endless nap. You can begin by simply giving yourself the right amount of sleeping hours to start your day right. It will help you avoid sneaking in a nap throughout the day.
2. Try to keep yourself fit.
The quarantine protocols might have left you immobilized. Simple regular exercises that will help you break a sweat, as well as a balanced and healthy diet, could greatly help in alleviating cabin fever.
3. Reach out to your close friends online.
The internet has always had the purpose of connecting people around the world. Use it well by reaching out to your friends and loved ones virtually.
4. Develop a healthy and positive routine.
It might be hard for you to improve the routine you once followed but it’s good to be in control of your daily tasks.
5. Don't forget to chill.
You might have already forgotten the feeling of being relaxed and stressed-free. Being in quarantine is the best time to chill and boost your self-esteem. You now have all the time in the world to try new things, pamper yourself, or be productive. Take note that resting is also a form of productivity (be careful not to get too much of it though).
Extroverts are usually more prone to cabin fever than people who enjoy their own company. It is more likely to have a severe impact on people who have anxiety or depression. It can actually worsen their case and may even trigger suicidal thoughts.
There is no shame in seeking help from mental health professionals. It would only help you improve your mental state by giving you the chance to understand what you are going through and what you must do to overcome it.
Edited by Lois Mauri Anne L. Liwanag