Stir Crazy? Cabin Fever? Vinophobia?

by Bob Sparrow

Under the heading of ‘Is the cure worse than the disease? I offer some help to those who are going stir-crazy or are experiencing cabin fever.

First some clinical definitions:

‘StirCrazy’, derived from the use of stir to mean ‘prison’; a person is stir-crazy if they are experiencing isolation from civilization.

‘Cabin fever’ refers to the distressing claustrophobic irritability or restlessness experienced when a person, or group, is stuck at an isolated location or in confined quarters for an extended period of time.

You may also want to be on the lookout for ‘vinophobia’ – the fear of running out of wine while in isolation.

Are these ‘diseases’ real psychiatric diagnosis?  No, but they are real things.  Following are some suggestions by clinical psychologist, Joel Klapow, who wrote the suggestions to help people who are cooped up during a snowy winter, but I think you’ll see that they apply to us all during this ‘covid confinement’.  He says . . .

“These maladies are basically your mind’s way of telling you that the environment you are in is less than optimal for normal functioning.  It’s when you’re in a space of restricted freedom for a period of time that you can no longer tolerate.” He offers the following remedies (I offer my snappy rejoinders, following in italics) 

  1. Change your diet

Avoid high carb, high-fat foods, which can make you feel even more inactive. Instead, seek out lean proteins that contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids. These can boost your mood, and often contain B12 and vitamin D, which help regulate your emotions.  (This is where that vinophobia comes in – I don’t know about all that omega-3, B-12 crap, but under no circumstance should you take wine out of your diet)

  1. Get outside 

Time in the sun will give you access to Vitamin D, which will boost your mood. (It will also get you away from your spouse and/or family that is by now on your last nerve)

  1. Get regular exercise 

Don’t feel like you need to go to the gym. Anything you do to keep your heart rate up for 30 minutes a day will help your mood. You can just go for a walk, or make a small change in your daily routine to see big changes in your spirits!! (What could be healthier than a good walk to the wine store?  It will be like lifting weights on the way home)

  1. Have a family game night

Get your kids – and yourself – away from computer/tablet/phone screens for a few hours and bond over some board games or puzzles.  (If the board games fail, try hide and seek, but once the family hides, don’t seek)

  1. Throw a party 

While it was nice to bond with your family over a marathon game of Monopoly, you might want to interact with other people. So consider planning a small party for friends or neighbors. Planning and preparing for the event will keep you active and help pass the time. With nice weather you can gather outside.  (My sense is that the most popular ‘party’ will be the party of the first part or the party of the second part in a divorce law suit)

  1. Change your decor

Sometimes, all it takes to make your surroundings feel different is a new look. Hang a picture or some other wall art or simply rearrange your furniture. (A new look could also include a face-lift, hair replacement or a . . . Oh, he’s talking about changing the look of your house – OK, move)

7. Avoid binge-watching 

Catching an entire season of the latest Netflix or Amazon series might seem tempting while you’re so confined, but . . . (there are not buts!  It’s the only thing that makes being cooped up tolerable – sorry I’m not going to feel guilty about that!!)  

8. Take up an indoor hobby 

Being forced inside can give you time to catch up on work or tackle a home improvement project you’ve been putting off. But you’ve also been given a chance to try out a new hobby; be creative – what have you always been interested in, but never had the time to do? (I tend to disagree with Mr. Klapow here, I am already heavily involved in two hobbies, binge-watching the latest Netflix or Amazon series and wine drinking.  My day is full!)

  1. Open the shades

You’ll not only make your surroundings feel brighter, but you’ll also help warm your house.  Once the sun has set, you may want to add ambiance, charm, and light to your rooms with some unique and stylish lighting.  (My surroundings will feel brighter when they are no longer my surroundings.  You want to brighten something up?  Put your ambient charm where the sun don’t shine)

  1. Think spring

We don’t just mean “Keep a positive attitude!” (Although that’s important too). Think about what you want to do when (he had when the snow melts, but for us it’s ) the pandemic is over and things warm up: adventures to take, an gatherings to plan, and new additions and changes to a new life-style.  Cabin fever doesn’t last, but we will. (Think spring my ass, it IS spring and it still sucks; I’m thinking 2021).  

As always, we here at ‘From A Bird’s Eye View’ are here to help you make it through the week.

 

 

GROUNDHOG DAY

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

Happy Monday!  It is Monday, isn’t it?  I get so confused these days.  Usually I awaken each morning and before emerging from my bed I think about what day of the week it is and what I have scheduled on the calendar.  It’s sort of a memory test, plus the results dictate whether I’m happy about my day and bounce out of bed or whether I’m having a root canal and decide to languish for a bit longer.  These days, I am really struggling.  With everything on my calendar pretty much wiped out, one day just runs into the next.  It takes me several minutes to figure out the day and – sadly – many days I am wrong.  But I can hardly be blamed.  Just like Bill Murray, every day is Groundhog Day.

As an “at risk” person due to my age, I need to stay home unless I require food, medicine or money.  Frankly, I’d love to know where I could get some money.  I made the mistake this morning of looking at our brokerage account.  I know that the market has been bad but after looking at our balance I almost wish that our broker had absconded to Mexico and was spending our retirement money on pina coladas.  At least then someone would be having fun with it.  But…back to my “staycation” routine.  My first decision of the day is what to wear.  This used to be a fun activity, sorting through my clothes and putting things together. Now I’m down to deciding which color of sweat pants to wear.  I try to save the black ones for formal occasions – like when the Amazon delivery person is coming. After breakfast we take Dash the Wonder Dog on a walk and then I begin my anti-Covid 19 immunity response.  Right now I’m taking Vitamins C and D, a tablespoon of Sambucol Elderberry Syrup and a packet of Emergen-C.  I have NO idea whether any of that is doing any good but I figure it can’t hurt.  And, I haven’t gotten sick so, fingers crossed, hopefully it’s working, even if it’s all in my head.  Once fortified, I begin on my activities for the day.  I am maintaining my 10,000 steps/day routine.  It’s fairly easy this time of year when our weather is beautiful.  If the virus hangs on until summer and our fitness center remains closed I think I’ll be wearing holes in our rugs marching around the house.  Or, by then, the insane asylum.  But that’s a worry for another day.

All that takes me to about 9 o’clock.  That’s a whole lot of time to kill for the rest of the day trapped inside the house.  I saw a segment on the new-found popularity of jigsaw puzzles on CBS Sunday Morning last week and that reminded me that I had some puzzles stashed away.  I broke one out and started to put the edge pieces together only to discover that my eyesight isn’t what it used to be.  Several of the pieces that I put together did not actually fit correctly but I couldn’t see that so I had something of a jumble on my hands.  It’s still sitting on our dinette table and as this staycation drags on I’m sure I’ll get bored enough to take up the task once again.  Hopefully with better lighting.  My knitting friends and I have discovered (along with the rest of America) the magic of Zoom, the internet meeting app.  So on our regular knitting time on Wednesdays we meet up.  It accomplishes two things – first, it proves that women of a certain age can still master some new technology and second, it puts something fun on the calendar.

Alas, I have to admit that once I’ve cleaned the house for the umpteenth time, watched a few episodes of Grace and Frankie,  and then knit for a couple of hours, I resort to playing Candy Crush on my iPad.  It truly is amazing what a time suck it is.  On the other hand, it keeps me from looking at the latest coronavirus stats and worrying about the health and safety of those I love.  It’s only April 6th.  I know that we all can get through this.  I just hope that it ends before I’ve mastered all 6365 levels of Candy Crush.