Got Corona Cabin Fever? by Laura Urista
Are you starting to feel edgy, irritable, impatient and like you desperately need a break from your spouse, kids or other family members living in your home? Does the old adage “familiarity breeds contempt” describe your current living situation? You’re not alone. Due to the Corona-virus pandemic and “stay-at-home” orders, most of us have been stuck at home for a few weeks now, and many are experiencing a phenomenon commonly known as “cabin fever.”
“Cabin fever” is a term used to describe being isolated, confined or stuck in a similar routine, place, or position for a prolonged period of time. It can cause a desperate craving to break free from our place of isolation and/or daily routine. Other symptoms of cabin fever include:
· Feelings of hopelessness and depression
· Changes in sleep routine (sleeping too much or too little)
· Changes in diet (cravings or complete appetite loss)
It’s only natural to experience human emotions like those mentioned above, especially when we feel like our freedoms are being taken away—even if those freedoms are limited for our own health and safety.
The Diary of Anne Frank
As I started to think about the “cabin fever” many of us are experiencing, the Diary of Anne Frank came to mind.
Anne Frank was a young Jewish girl living in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam during World War II. Anne kept a diary of her experiences, which was discovered and published after her death. The Frank family tried to leave the country and flee to America, but they were unsuccessful. So, they made preparations to move into an annex of the warehouse where Anne’s father, Otto Frank, ran a business. When Anne’s older sister Margot received orders to report to a work camp, the family told friends and relatives they were leaving the country. But they actually went into hiding in the secret annex, along with another Jewish family. A few weeks later, they were joined by a Jewish dentist who was desperate for a hiding place.
Those eight people spent two years and one month (761 days) in the secret annex. They spent the majority of their time crammed together in an area of about 450-500 square feet. During the day they had to be extremely quiet, so warehouse workers below would not hear their movements and turn them in to authorities.
At night and on weekends they could move about more freely in the annex, however they still had to remain relatively quiet and cautious, and they could not venture outside. A small attic window offered their only view of the world outside, because all other annex windows had to be kept covered.
Talk about extreme “cabin fever”—I don’t think any of us can even begin to imagine living under those conditions! Yet those eight individuals managed to get through their ordeal “one day at a time.” We can learn valuable lessons and gain fresh perspective from the story. I recommend watching the movie or reading the book. You can also take a virtual visit to the museum at www.annefrank.org.
Advice to Help Deal with Cabin Fever
Here are a few things experts recommend to alleviate the feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety associated with being cooped-up together for too long:
1) Deliberately create spontaneity in your routine. Do something different that causes a more free and creative feeling.
2) Get out in open spaces to see nature if possible, which generally helps, even if that is simply spending time in your backyard or walking around your neighborhood.
3) Do some “fun’’ activities – clean and redecorate the space around you.
4) Plan new activities or take up old favorites you haven’t done for a while.
5) Spend some time revitalizing relationships with each other.
Love is patient, love is kind.—1 Corinthians 13:4
As Christ-followers, we have the blessed assurance of the Word for guidance and comfort. I find it interesting that the first two facets of Godly love (Agape) described in 1 Corinthians 13 are “patience” and “kindness.” Those two go a long way to solving troubles in our earthly relationships, especially when those relationships become strained.
May Christ live in us and love through us, by providing his perfect patience and kindness in our dealings with others—especially in times like these.