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This Fever Can’t Be Measured with a Thermometer

Charlie: If you’ve been experiencing any or all of these symptoms, you may be a victim of a health condition that has been becoming increasingly prevalent in COVID-era in which we are all currently living:

  • Restlessness
  • Lethargy
  • Sadness or depression
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Lack of patience
  • Food cravings
  • Decreased motivation
  • Social Isolation
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty waking
  • Frequent napping
  • Hopelessness
  • Changes in weight
  • Inability to cope with stress
  • And in the case of being isolated with another person, you can add to the list, irritability, short-temperedness, and argumentativeness

The fever that we’re referring to is known as “Cabin fever”, which is defined as “a distressing claustrophobic irritability or restlessness experienced when a person, or group, is stuck at an isolated location or in confined quarters for an extended period of time (Wikipedia).

Unlike actual fevers which sometimes require the attention of a medical professional, cabin fever tends to be more of a mood disorder or psychological state than a physical condition, although its symptoms often show up in our physical experience. Mood disorders, however, are no small things and when they are deeply disturbing and persistent, they can require professional intervention. There are some steps that you can take before making the decision about bringing in the big guns, here are a few suggestions:

  • Get Out of the House. If you are housebound or live somewhere where there is a total lockdown, this may not always be possible. But if you are able to go outside, even for a short time, take advantage of that opportunity. Exposure to daylight can help regulate the body’s natural cycles and exercise releases endorphins, creating a natural high. If you can’t leave your home move or exercise your body, as best you can.
  • Eat Healthy: Cabin fever often causes appetite stimulation and recreational eating in order to avoid feelings of boredom and anxiety. Try to avoid overindulging in junk food. Healthy eating practices can increase your energy levels and motivation. Try to limit high-sugar, high-fat snacks, and drink plenty of water.
  • Check-Ins: Practice frequent check-ins with your partner. Letting each other know how you are doing in ways that don’t imply that they are the cause of your feelings can do a lot to promote greater mutual understanding. Communications that are not judgmental or blaming can enhance the feelings of trust, goodwill, and support, which can be diminished in times of stress.
  • Turn to Friends: Turn to your friends to meet some of your needs for connection. Although our live-in partner is the most convenient source of the contact that is needed in order to avoid loneliness, reaching out to close friends and/or relatives can lighten the responsibility that your partner may feel for fulfilling all of your needs for connection. Failing to do so can add unnecessary stress to your relationship.
  • Limit screen time: Try not to overly rely on TV and other electronic devices. While the temptation can be strong to indulge in screen time, too much of it can diminish your attention span. This will make you feel more easily frustrated and impatient with others, in particular those closest to you. Instead, read books or play board games to stimulate and exercise your brain.

And by all means, attempt to have a long-range perspective. Eventually, we will be able to resume some of our normal routines and get out of the house more. It’s only a matter of time. In the meantime, some responsible self-care will help us through this challenging time. And please remember to cut yourself and others some slack by remembering that we’re ALL doing the best that we can under extremely trying circumstances. Keeping this in mind can help us to experience more patience and a greater willingness to extend forgiveness to others. And that’s something that most of us can use more of all the time, not just in times of crisis!


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This Fever Can’t Be Measured with a Thermometer


Linda Bloom LCSW and Charlie Bloom MSW are considered experts in the field of relationships. They have been married since 1972. They have both been trained as seminar leaders, therapists and relationship counselors and have been working with individuals, couples, and groups since 1975. They have been featured presenters at numerous conferences, universities, and institutions of learning throughout the country and overseas as well. They have appeared on over two hundred radio and TV programs. Linda and Charlie are co-authors of the widely acclaimed books: 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married: Simple Lessons to Make Love Last (over 100,000 copies sold) Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love, and Happily Ever After...and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams. The Blooms are excited to announce the release of their fourth book, That Which Doesn't Kill Us: How One Couple Became Stronger at the Broken Places. They live in Santa Cruz, California, near their two children and three grandchildren. To view our upcoming events and to sign up for our free newsletter, visit our website at:

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APA Reference
Bloom, L. (2020). This Fever Can’t Be Measured with a Thermometer. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 16 Aug 2020
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