by Bob Sparrow
First some clinical definitions:
‘Stir–Crazy’, 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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!)
- 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)
- 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.