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Dealing With Cabin Fever

By Paul Rothbart

No matter how nice a home is, most people like to spend some time outdoors. Fresh air, sunshine, seeing new places, chatting with strangers. All of these are stimulating and good for our physical and mental health. But there may come a time when you get stuck inside for a period of time. Perhaps you live in a region that occasionally gets a mountain of snow in the winter, making going out not worth the effort. Extreme heat is a good reason to stay indoors in the air conditioning. Severe storms. An injury might also keep you house bound, perhaps to a leg, making walking difficult. It may not be common, but it's possible. It can cause stress. Cabin fever is the informal term for this condition. In the event that you ever experience this, here are the symptoms and how to cope. 


Symptoms do vary depending on the personality of the individual, but general restlessness and irritability can be expected. Difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, a lack of motivation, and overall lethargy are also common. Housebound people may be irritable, overeat, or take excessive naps. Ability to concentrate may be impaired and in extreme cases, sadness and hopelessness may set in. Fortunately, there are ways to cope with being stuck inside.

Step Outside the House

If the situation permits, getting outside -- even for a brief time just outside the door -- can be very helpful. Sunlight helps regulate the body's cycles, and moving the body produces endorphins. If getting out is not at all possible, spend some time near a window and get some daylight. Exercise whatever body parts you are able to. If you can't get on your feet, you can move your arms and get exercise that way. 

Engage the Mind

Sitting around watching television may be entertaining, but it requires very little mental effort. Doing crosswords, sudokus, or jigsaw puzzles, put the brain to work and create a feeling of purpose and accomplishment. Reading or playing board games like chess are also very stimulating. A busy mind is a healthy mind and this will help stave off feelings of despair. 

Eat in Normal Patterns

When stuck inside, it's very easy for eating to become an activity to fight boredom and pass the time. Stick to a regular meal schedule, just as you would on a normal day. Make sure to drink plenty of water. This will keep the body and mind healthy and give you a sense of control and normalcy.

Although it may not happen often, knowing the symptoms of cabin fever and how to cope with them will come in handy should you ever be stuck inside for an extended length of time. Cabin fever doesn't have to make you stir crazy.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in McKinney, Tex.

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