Preparing for Cabin Fever

From Rourke: This post somehow fell behind a stack of preparedness books that I have been meaning to read…..for months. So – it’s been a bit delayed but still another great one form our Executive Editor – Bev!


Preparing for Cabin Fever

By Bev Sandlin, Executive Editor

Oh yah, I have Cabin Fever! Irritable, restless, bored, sleeping more than usual, and a bit distrustful and paranoid—yup, that’s Cabin Fever! And I usually deal with it by starting a new project to throw myself into!

I lifted this from Wikipedia, “first recorded in 1918, for a claustrophobic reaction that takes place when a person or group is isolated and/or shut in a small space, with nothing to do for an extended period. Cabin fever describes the extreme irritability and restlessness a person may feel in these situations.” And it got me to thinking of a SHFT situation and how this could be a very real situation to cope with.

Oh, we can all laugh about Cabin Fever, but when trapped in a situation where you can’t get out and visit, go shopping, even chat with someone on the telephone, it is very real! When I lived in the mountains there was a murder every year, ultimately attributed to Cabin Fever—it is a very real condition. And we don’t even want to go into that horror flick, “The Shining” based on cabin fever!

So, how do you prepare for a Cabin Fever situation? Know the symptoms and be self-aware enough to recognize them in yourself, and others, as opposed to giving into your feelings and reacting to others—MUCH easier said than done!

Here is your checklist of symptoms:

1. Extremely irritable over an extended period of time and increasing.

2. Very restless over an extended period of time and increasing.

3. Very bored, even with things that used to interest you.

4. Sleeping more than usual.

5. Increasing distrust of those around you to the point of believing that they are plotting to harm you—paranoia.

Three or more of these symptoms lasting more than a week (when in a closed area) and there may be reason to consider Cabin Fever.


1. Physical exercise.

2. Get out in nature (hard to do when the snow is deep and temps are freezing).

3. Change routines.

4. Present yourself and others with intellectual stimulation.

5. Increased doses of vitamins D & B12 could be helpful.

6. Loving touch (massage) could be helpful.

7. Group recognition of the problem could be helpful—watch out for one another.

8. Be prepared to isolated or restrain an individual

9. If possible, keep weapons away from individuals displaying symptoms (that may be difficult in a SHFT situation).

I’ve prepared with multiple decks of cards, games, etc. But I also know that these fail when faced with a case of real Cabin Fever. Suggestions?

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