By Piper Blake
Assistant Web Content Manager
Quarantine is best friends with cabin fever and it’s honestly not a relationship I support. As we all know, cabin fever can make people irritable and stir crazy which can put your mental health in danger.
Cabin fever is defined by Dictionary.com as a state characterized by anxiety, restlessness, and boredom, arising from a prolonged stay in a remote or confined place. This is what we are all experiencing now that we have been confined to our homes in the hope of stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Routine, socialization and priorities are what people need when they are confined to one place and/or have strayed from their normal schedules. Humans are creatures of habit and if those habits get disrupted it can cause us to have all the symptoms of cabin fever.
I have been experiencing each of these symptoms since Texas State required students to complete their courses online for the rest of the spring semester.
I have had anxiety about many aspects of this change: moving out of my dorm, focusing on classwork now that it’s all online, keeping my grades up and keeping myself in a healthy routine. For a person that normally has anxiety, having all these changes can cause a shock to your system.
To tame the worries I’ve have been having, I have had to start making a schedule for myself based on the revised syllabi my teachers have posted. If I didn’t make this schedule I wouldn’t be able to visualize the time I had to complete assignments and I would spiral into a stress-fueled panic attack.
I highly recommend making a game plan for yourself now that we are heading into Zoom class meetings and online assignments. Without a game plan, some assignments could get lost or classes could get missed due to not having a schedule to follow. It’s good to create a schedule that is similar to what you would have been following when going to classes on campus so that there is some familiarity in routine.
The restlessness and boredom we feel now that we cant go out and see people or do things is our need for socialization coming out. Humans are not only creatures of habit but social creatures that need social interaction.
For me, I can’t stand communicating over text so this transition has been especially hard for me. I need to be able to talk face to face with my boyfriend and friends to keep a clear line of communication. I highly recommend getting in the habit of FaceTiming or calling the people you are close to so that you can keep in touch without the disconnect that texting can cause.
I have had to prioritize my schedule and my health during this time of confinement. I’ve had to make sure I’m eating at normal times, working out at least 30 minutes a day and putting myself first to stay on top of my mental health. Changing or eliminating the things that make you happy during this time of minimal interaction can make you fall into a depressive state which none of us want or need.
I know that these times are hard for people that normally have depression or anxiety because we need the distractions that our routine and people give from what is inside our heads to keep ourselves happy and above water. I hope that some of these tips that have helped me can help others during this quarantine and social distancing period. If you are needing mental health support during this crisis, the CDC has created a list of hotlines to call.
This may have been overstated but I hope that anyone who reads this is staying healthy during these hard times and taking social distancing seriously.
Featured image by Piper Blake.