I call it “cabin fever”.
During the period of isolation and continued lockdown, I have in general been okay about being at home. I have had the wobbles, like all of us and we have discussed them here. I have had illuminating moments, great revelations and dark periods of utter despair and sadness but during all that I have been relaxed and accepting of the need to stay at home.
Last week, something uncomfortable came over me and I felt as if I would explode – it was more than a mood swing; it was about a lack of freedom and the feelings confinement was throwing up. I won’t be defying the rules and I understand the gravity of our situation as the fear of a second-round outbreak becomes closer. But the lack of freedom to be and go where I want really got to me. I felt edgy, frustrated and in general, felt lacking in creativity. That is not like me.
In the past 20 years, I have been so very spoilt with the luxury of movement; the ability and great fortune to travel where I want and when I want. I took it somewhat for granted – I knew this was a marvellous aspect of living in Europe, where 90 minutes on an aeroplane can mean a new language, culture and even climate. I would travel to Paris for a day if there were the reason. One week I remember most clearly was a checklist of desirable destinations for anyone. It included London, Paris, Provence, Hong Kong and Sydney all in six days – yes, very spoilt.
We thought nothing of a weekend in Italy or a jaunt to Spain; the hardest part was finding time for all the admin and arrangements. The London terminals were like second homes; I had my packing and travel routines down firmly and I would breeze through these voyages without a second thought. I doubt I am alone in this.
Fast-forward to today and I miss this freedom.
I don’t miss the frenetic activity and I believe less travel is a very, very positive change for our world. It was too much and no wonder we are in the mess we are. To be fair much of my travel was work-related and not just jolly jaunts but the amount we travel must surely change. I see myself travelling less often and for longer stretches at a time.
So the cabin fever?
Right now there are limited flights, uncertainty with accommodation and quarantine issues which, have prevented planning. I feel the need to swim in the sea, bask in the sun, hear some French other than on television or see something unfamiliar. It has not escaped me how fortunate I am to be in a beautiful home with plenty of space – and I am so grateful for this – but I would not be truthful if I didn’t tell you our situation has got to me.
I am much better now, still dreaming and imagining a swim in the Mediterranean, but my patience and good humour have been restored. xv
How To Manage Cabin Fever?
Up the exercise – I walked further and listened to uplifting or entertaining audiobooks.
A stretch, strength or yoga class per day. The difference in how I feel is immeasurable.
Make calls and speak to friends – take time to connect, this is always an uplift.
Forget about where we aren’t going and focus on where we are. Count the blessings, however trite that may sound.
Lists what could be done or needs to be done around the home and start at the top.
Be kind to us – these feelings will pass and we will move about again – it is only a question of when.
images for Louis Vuitton by ines and vinoodh