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Darn Wright | Self-quarantine fever

Some practical suggestions to help you get through this time of social distancing

Series: Coronavirus | Story 13

Last updated 3/23/2020 at 3:57pm

Almost 24 hours a day it’s discussed on every major television station. Our friends are constantly talking about it. Even when we are using social distancing, one can overhear others focused on it.

What is it? Of course, it’s the novel coronavirus aka COVID-19, and it has invaded not only our bodies, minds, social life, financial life, religious activities, and entertainment outlets, but also our family relationships.

As a licensed mental health professional, along with my 30 years as a Probation and Parole Officer dealing with violent offenders, and the training that both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has given me, I have developed the tools to be considered a violent criminal profiler.

Now, with my knowledge, I sadly predict with the increase of cabin fever there will be more domestic violence (DV) calls to 911. Our isolation, without turning to creative solutions, could lead to tormenting and irritating our loved ones, and with this comes relationship conflicts. 

No matter what we call it, self-quarantine, cabin fever or just going stir-crazy over time, a person can have a claustrophobic reaction, manifested as extreme irritability and restlessness. These behavioral changes take place when a person has been in confined quarters for an extended period of time.

When experiencing cabin fever, a person may tend to become extremely bored and develop a distrust of those around them. Those with this “dis-ease” often develop angry feelings toward those who are pushing them not to go into COVID-19 infested environments. This value system divide often leads to aggressive behavior by both parties.    

Being quarantined can affect one’s mood, energy level, and motivation. Along with those symptoms, some other signs that a person is becoming stir-crazy include:

-One feels cooped up and restless;

-One has difficulty concentrating on what’s in front of them;

-One feels lethargic or simply unmotivated to do anything;

-One feels irritated and on edge.

Just as I can use my education and training to help predict negative outcomes, I can also use these same skills to point out what can be done to alleviate stressors that influence one’s behavior toward aggressively acting out.

We can turn to the stoic philosopher Epictetus (50 BCE-135 BCE) for some advice on how to cope with our claustrophobic, stir-crazy, temporary insanity. Epictetus’ advice: “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” So how can we change the way we react to all of the negative stimuli we are now constantly receiving?

Some self-help ways to assist us and our loved ones get through this isolation time are to set some positive self-improvement goals – goals such as interacting by phone, computer, and daily conversation with individuals who have a positive personality. And by reading or listening to those who support SUCCESS as a way of life. We must interact with people and materials that teach us to see a glass of water half-full, and then visualize the unlimited ways to use that volume of water rather than seeing a half-empty glass of H2O. 

It is also helpful for us to beat our quarantine fever by developing and using some healthy resources such as:  

-Break out a few good books to read or listen to;

-Start a new hobby such as knitting, cooking, learn a new language, journal or blog your day-to-day feelings and thoughts;

-Try a few new recipes. Or learn how to use your new Air-Fryer;

-What about scrapbooking or working on all those pictures that you have been meaning to sort out and label?

-Engage in some pre-spring cleaning;

-Rearrange your furniture. Sometimes the more body movements you do, the better you feel;

-Research your family history and create a family tree;

-Write a letter to touch base with old friends or family members. Everyone loves getting an actual letter;

-Go for a walk around the block at least once a day;

-Go through the list of YouTube classes;

-Sharing successful thoughts often leads to successful actions by you or others;

-Do some of those things you have reluctantly given up;

-Bring out those packed-away family board or card games;

-Call your elderly relatives, friends, and neighbors on the phone or Facetime/Skype;

-Put your guns and alcohol away until your quarantine time has passed;

-Brainstorm ideas on how to keep from going stir-crazy with your family.

The more options we develop, the better for all concerned.

Darn right, by using your healthy resources you and your loved ones will peacefully make it through these tough, self-quarantine fever times.


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