23 Jun 2020

“Cabin Fever” And How To Manage It

Cabin Fever on vickiarcher.com

I call it “cabin fever”.
And wow did I have a big case of it towards the end of last week.

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.

Add something new to the wardrobe or to the make-up bag – however small, a treat is a treat.

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

VA In Your Inbox

subscribe for updates from vickiarcher.com

In This Post:




Thank you so much for putting into words what I have been feeling. It is tough to acknowledge these feelings when in reality I am very lucky. We can work from home and the essential workers, who do such a wonderful job, help those of us of a certain age stay safe. I do worry about the young people, they seem to be not heeding it as much as they should. I also worry about those in the health industry who risk their lives for those who don’t do what they can. Thank you agin for acknowledging so eloquently what I have been feeling.


We are all on similar pages, Alison… and I am the very last person to have anything to say really as I am so very fortunate… but it’s important we value us and our feelings. Together we are better and even if it is a small chat here, it helps. Thank you for your very kind comment.

Katherine Cervantes

I think a my name is Katherine I can tell you as a Christian that as we look to the Lord for Straineth and pray for him daily he will help us to in this time


Hi Vicki
Cabin fever….absolutely!! I have been feeling restless & edgy as well. The thought that our world has changed forever is a lot to take in and to accept. I can only hope the opportunity of travelling and the joy it brings, will return in the not too distant future albeit with restrictions attached…


I am happy to hear I am not the only one… sometimes facing it head-on, talking about it and then getting on is the only way to go.. :)


It is the uncertainty of it all, the loss of control. I keep reminding myself that after the SARS pandemic hit Asia, life eventually did return to normal. This is certainly on a greater level however one has to try and remain positive and never take anything for granted ever again.

Linda B

Oh, I hear you, Vicki! Sometimes the way we lived before seems like a dream. . . And your ideas are great for re-settling down on a bad day, but sometimes, those days just happen I guess.

At the moment, due to our imminently putting our house up for sale, my home is a sea of boxes and not actually that pleasant a place to be. But at some point, the house will sell, and as we can’t move into the new place until near the holidays, we actually do plan to journey to Oregon to live near my daughter again for the late summer and fall. It is actually nerve-wracking sometimes when I think about it, under the circumstances of the pandemic. I want to go and yet leaving the safety of home is not always a happy thought. . .Can you tell I am having “one of those days”?

Last comment, irrelevant to all this. I love the image you chose for today, of the beautiful young woman in that balloon floating away like she doesn’t have a care in the world. I remember that ad. . . especially because I had the privilege of being that very sweet young lady’s kindergarten teacher nearly a quarter century ago. . .Brings back happy memories for me to see this photo again.


How amazing to know this photo so well, Linda… I thought it evocative and perfect for my thoughts today ..
‘THESE” days come and go but I take solace in feeling so connected with all of you and also the positive thoughts that all will right with the world and we will learn and treat better our beautiful globe. Good luck with the packing!


life is a balance of holding and letting go…said Rumi. The latter is what we have to do now. Memories about all our travels, seeing the photos and knowing it will never be
as before makes me sad.


I think we have to look towards the future and reinvent travel in the same way we have reinvented the way we are and the way we do many things… different but hopefully even better :)


My Facebook page keeps serving me up ‘memories’ of last summer’s month in Provence. It was supposed to happen again this year. I look at those images with such longing. I used to think I was the person who would be happy with my hobbies ( art, needlepoint, gardening, reading,) and not miss going out, but I am apparently not that person. I miss impromptu lunches with friends, planning trip after trip and naturally the shopping at all my favorite haunts. Will I survive, of course, but the longing is very real.


I think we have all learned much about ourselves during this time.. and not all of what we expected… planning is all part of the fun isn’t it? :)

Jacki F.

You are certainly not the only one. I am in a similar situation as you. I felt hopeful when we had an overnite and lovely dinner at Little Washington 3 weeks ago, when I got a mani-pedi, and when Pilates reformer classes started. Today a lip wax! But still, I am angry today. My son was denied entry into Canada (MD specialty fellowship interview) 2 days ago, I can’t visit my daughter in Amsterdam and she can’t come here because I don’t think Amsterdam will let her back in…..or will quarantine her. I am angry that I live in a country ruled at present by a mad man and his corrupt thugs and because the Southern States are listening to this idiot, the U.S. is now surging in cases. So no European travel for me and I’ve already had to cancel on my beloved Italy twice. I know, FIRST world problems. I am very grateful for what I have but I am sick of this and I do want to get out of this country and I’m angry that I am apparently at the mercy of “A Confederacy of Dunces”. Thank you all for listening. Thanks Vicki for the beauty you bring.


I can imagine the frustration Jacki… we have heard today that the UK is opening up and from July we will be able to do much more… so hopefully as UK citizens we can travel to Europe without quarantine… Hopefully, we won’t be warming up for a secondary outbreak… It is so tough without your children… fingers crossed it changes in not too long and you can come to Europe…

Anne @musicandmarkets

“Forget about where we aren’t going and focus on where we are. ” A welcome mantra for the moment….and one of which I continually need reminding as we wait to return to our home in Aix. So much is hinging on that ability/privilege as we’re continuing to prepare our DC area home for sale – part of the plan to retire in France. Right now we should have been on our second trip to Aix, ferrying over things, little by little, that we’ll want and need when we’re there full time. But that’s not happening – ugh! So I’ll look out the windows at our lovely garden and enjoy morning walks around the nearby lake, and just keep dreaming…


This week I have been regrouping again in how to keep myself positive so I am on the same page as you Vicki. We are having a resurgence of the virus here so I continue to stay the course with masking and social distancing. You continue to put a smile on my face and I want to thank you for being real in your postings. I will continue to ride the wave I am on and think positive even though it can be sooo hard sometimes;)


I am unfortunately not privileged to live La Dolce Vita and unable to work from home. Perhaps that has been my saving grace, though because having to get up and be present in an office job in the medical field 5 days out of every 7 days has forced me out of the house and amongst people (albeit wearing masks and maintaining the required social distance) in order to put bread on the table. I count myself blessed to have a roof over my head (however humble it may be), enough food for a daily meal and a warm safe bed to sleep in, good health and although I live alone, a family who loves me …


And that is what truly counts, Zalea. I have always worked from home and count it as a great privilege but I do miss the interaction with others. Luckily my conversations here are like speaking with friends … and it makes all the difference.


Good morning dearest Vicki! I am late here due to my method of beating the “Cabin Fever Blues” – gardening. Ruben and I will take a drive to the lakes and go walking around the beautiful homes, avoiding the lake shore since more people gather there. We are still able to amble around our beautiful city then I come home and spend hours outside. I am still able to go outside and since we are not as avid travelers as some, our lives are still “normal” – the only thing being is that I can’t get together with friends.

This is truly going to be a long period of time when we will be pulling out all of our creative resources to develop ways to entertain ourselves, stay healthy on all levels and wait for a new day to arrive to set us free. Big hugs to you my dear.


Hi Vicki. I re-read ‘My French Life’. The escape was very welcome in these challenging times. Thank you


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

powered by chloédigital