Cabin fever definition:  extreme irritability and restlessness from living in isolation or a confined indoor area for a prolonged time.  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Cabin fever definition: a state characterized by anxiety, restlessness, and boredom, arising from a prolonged stay in a remote or confined place.

Cabin fever definition: the impatient or bored feeling that you get when you have not been outside for a long time. MacMillan Dictionary

Sources agree that cabin fever is the restlessness brought on by indoor confinement over too much time.  In fictional portrayals, cabin fever often leads to murder, mayhem and mind loss.

The first published use of the term dates back over 100 years ago to 1918.  In her book Cabin Fever, Bertha Muzzy Bower tells the fictional story of Bud Moore who is struck with cabin fever and doesn’t know what hit him.

The Cabin Fever horror film series which debuted in 2002, is far from uplifting.  On a less gory note, there is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever featuring middle schooler Greg Heffley stressing out while being trapped inside with his family during a surprise blizzard.  He begins to think jail is better than being cooped up with his family.  There are also anecdotal tales of polar researchers, after months of isolation, descending into madness and attacking each other.  The Muppets even sing “I got cabin fever it’s burning in my brain.  I’ve got cabin fever it’s driving me insane!”

Even though cabin fever isn’t a diagnosable medical condition, it can still make life appear rather bleak.  So, before the unhappiness and restlessness grow, here are a few ways to fight cabin fever:

  1. Get some exercise.  Even if you can’t get outside, get moving where you are.
  2. Develop an indoor hobby.  Play an instrument, scrapbook, knit, whittle or become a collector.
  3. Watch your diet.  Don’t use being stuck indoors as an excuse to overindulge and fill your body with unhealthy choices.
  4. Challenge your brain with more than television.  Try a crossword puzzle or Sudoku.  Read a book.