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The Lingering Effects of Cabin Fever

By Josh McDonald, Senior Project Manager with Nexus 5 Group

"Cabin fever" can get to many of us this time of year. We made it through the holidays and life has slowed. Days are still short. Nights are long. You may have binge watched all the shows possible. Most standard routines are back which could create some monotony when paired with the typical social quietness of the season.

Now, I'm no doctor or psychologist, so take the following as you may. I am simply speaking from experiences and life lessons.

The voluntary sequestering that may have been needed for a time, when coupled with the lingering effects of the isolationism created through the pandemic, is now wearing on you and can greatly impact your spiritual, physical, and mental health. Though cabin fever is a ‘folk syndrome’ and not a medical condition, it can lead to insomnia, hypersomnia, anxiety, irritability, depression, lacking the feeling of accomplishment, and more.

The root cause of ‘cabin fever’ is isolation and loneliness.

Note: Isolation isn't bad. I believe it's needed more than we realize. We need stillness and quiet. It creates space for recovery, reflection, and relaxation. However, we were still created to engage in relationships. You are approaching dangerous ground when isolation drifts to loneliness. We need to be loved and encouraged. We need community, activity, and relationships.

As spring approaches and we are awakened from hibernation, there are several practical ways to dig out of the hole of isolation.

  1. Be you! It is completely possible to be in a room full of people and be lonely. Allow others to know you and allow yourself to be vulnerable with those you trust.

  2. Be active! Physical activity improves brain health, sleep, energy and practically all aspects related to physical health.

  3. Get outside! This has been proven to increase cognitive creativity, reduce stress, and provide numerous other physical health benefits.

  4. Be purposeful! Set goals and strive for achievement. This produces a sense of accomplishment and self-gratitude. These may be simple tasks, prayer or spiritual growth, or lofty goals.

  5. Pursue connectedness! Get out of your comfort zone. Develop and invest in relationships. Those are the foundations that will keep loneliness from eroding your heart and mind.

If you are going to Serve Well, you've got to be in a good place emotionally. So here's hoping this finds you in your happy place. And if not, maybe it is the kick in the pants you need to get out and spend time with people you care about!

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