How are you are doing? Amidst the chaos of the pandemic, talking about your worries and fears is vital at this time. You may be having an unpleasant feeling called “cabin fever”. Cabin fever is not categorized as a Psychological disorder yet. However, its origins date back to the early 1800s when people were home bound due to the typhus fever.
Mr. Vaile Wright, who is a Psychologist and a Director of clinical research and quality at the American Psychological Association: “involves a range of negative emotions and distress related to restricted movement: irritability, boredom, some hopelessness and even, behaviorally, restlessness and difficulty concentrating. Those would be the constellation of symptoms one might expect if they were feeling that way.”
It is normal to feel stressed during times of threatening health situations. To combat this, you must stimulate the “relaxation response,” through a technique first developed in the 1970s at Harvard Medical School by cardiologist Dr. Herbert Benson. The relaxation response is the “state of profound rest that can be elicited in many ways”.
#1: FOCUS ON YOUR BREATHING
The Breath Focus technique is a simple and powerful tool comprising of long, slow, and deep breaths. It is also known as belly or abdominal breathing. As you breathe, you take your mind off the distractions and concentrate on your breathing and its sensations. Notice how long you can inhale and how deep you can exhale. This technique is helpful for people with eating disorders.
#2: PRACTICE GUIDED IMAGERY
Ever wondered what it is like to travel freely on whim again? Well, you can make that possible through guided imagery. Guided imagery is a technique where you envision being in a soothing place or experiencing a happy memory. It reinforces the positive thoughts and emotions associated to being in a particular instance or place. Simply search Guided Imagery on free calming apps or YouTube videos. Ensure that you choose a recording topic that has personal significance to you. Personally, I want to see myself playing in the beach and listening to its calm breeze.
#3: DO YOGA, QIGONG, OR TAI CHI
These three ancient disciplines combine rhythmic breathing with a series of flowing movements. Empty your mind as you focus on the physical aspects of these disciplines. Moreover, you will be able to enhance your flexibility and balance. Since I cannot practice Hot Yoga anymore, I delight myself with a couple of Yoga exercises found in YouTube. You will be surprised with the wealth and the variety of free Yoga, Qigong, and Tai Chi exercises available there. Choose a video length and a difficulty level that you are most comfortable in.
#4: MEDITATE WITH MINDFULNESS
One of the practices that has greatly helped me stay calm is Mindfulness Meditation. Mindfulness is the Psychological process of purposely bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment without judgment, which one develops through the practice of meditation. As our thoughts continue to juggle, mindfulness meditation is easier said than done. Take it easy on yourself during your first trials. Research suggests that continued meditation is helpful for people with anxiety, depression, and pain.
#5: MAINTAIN COMMUNICATION WITH OTHERS
Staying connected through online platforms is important to survive this tough situation. Whether you want to send virtual texts and Tiktoks to your loved ones or join video conferences and online communities with your friends, connecting to others can help you manage your frustrations. Moreover, take it as an opportunity to show how much you care about a person. You do not what can happen tomorrow!
#6: GAIN CONTROL
Embrace feelings of discomfort. I know it is easier said than done! Part of what makes the cabin fever challenging right now is that we do not know how long this pandemic will last. You can feel hopeless today and feel better tomorrow as you get to understand the situation better.
There is a learning curve to dealing with the cabin fever. You need to accept that being in quarantine and practicing social distancing is the new norm in order to lengthen the lifespan of humanity.
Locus of control is an individual’s belief system regarding the causes of his or her experiences and the factors to which that person attributes success or failure. It is important to focus on the things that you control. Example: the amount you spend on social media, the types of information you feed your mind into, and the care you give yourself. The sooner you can get to a place of acceptance, the sooner you will be able to find things that are in your control.
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