The weather during winter can be harsh. It can escalate so much that it might even endanger your physical health. What most people tend to ignore is winter’s effect on a person’s mental health.
There is no medically precise definition for cabin fever – the name itself is a folk term. Even if it does not have an official definition, scientists have assigned some common symptoms to it. Apart from the feeling of isolation people tend to be more irritable, restless and feel generally dissatisfied. At a glance, these symptoms do not seem that serious, but they have been shown to bring out the worst in people. There have been examples of polar researchers resorting to violence after even the slightest disagreement. These violent outbursts ranged anywhere from hammer attacks and poisonings, all the way to arson where people burned whole research stations to the ground. Many scientific missions ended because of minor disagreements. And yet these were violent enough to warrant interference from neutral on-lookers.
Recent studies have revealed that the main trigger for cabin fever is isolation. When a person is completely alone or with a small group of people or family, the person tends to become more irritable. The problem tends to escalate when there is any kind of routine involved. The study says that the routine itself is not so much of a problem as is the fact that there is no way to escape it.
The winter season does not help the situation in the slightest. Winter is harsh on the body and on the mind. It tends to influence our biological clocks and can even cause something known as a seasonal affective disorder. This is the same feeling you get when preparing to go to sleep for a long time and then remembering you have chores, errands, a full-time job, and kids, and all this requires that you have to get out of bed early in the morning. Every. Single. Morning. This can manifest itself as depression and is more common during winter time. So, people are already unhappy before winter starts, and then they just get unhappier as time passes on.
All of this can somewhat be blamed on evolution. All of these feelings are brought on by our constant need for human interaction. Being around other people gives our brain the necessary stimulation to keep it happy and functioning. This might seem like a weakness but is, in fact, an advantage since we now work better in groups and have an easier time empathizing with each other.
So, this means that if you combine a bored mind with the absence of social interaction you end up with a rather nasty mood. And this is why it is imperative to prepare for those instances when isolation cannot be avoided.
Another big trigger for cabin fever is boredom, so it is imperative to stay busy and to change up your routine on a daily basis. Crafting supplies, books, and other interactive stimulants are all great for battling boredom. If you are going to be stuck with other people, try to find fun things you can do together and try to form strong bonds. Working out is also a great way to keep your health up as well as calm your mind.
Healthy eating is vital as well. Stockpiling on healthy foods in the winter is a must, and having a regular eating schedule is of great importance. Junk food is the real enemy here.
Lastly, it is essential to keep in mind that winter does not last forever and that things are going to change, and soon. Cabin fever is broken easily it just takes time and careful planning to get through it without any issues.