When I was growing up in the wild winter wonderland that is Wyoming, cabin fever was something you came to expect about this time of year. We became less and less enamored by the snow and cold and longed for the sunshine to peek through the clouds for an hour or two just to reassure us that it was still hiding up there somewhere. It appears that cabin fever isn’t just something that people suffer in rural, snow bound areas of the world.
It’s enough of a problem that even medical sites such as WebMD have articles devoted to it.
As someone who has a few years of experience with the dreaded annual winter doldrums, here are five practical, fun suggestions for alleviating a case of cabin fever while you’re waiting for Spring to arrive with the cure.
Make a play date
Winter isolation is one of the greatest contributors to cabin fever. If you’re an introvert, invite a friend or two over for a quiet one on one chat while you work together on a project. If you’re more energized in a crowd, organize a larger group.
While you could play games or chat over cocoa and cookies, I suggest putting together a cheerful little package with flowers, herbs, bread or fruit to deliver to elderly neighbors who truly do feel trapped in their homes when it’s icy outdoors. The gift is just an excuse. What they’ll really cherish is a friendly face to brighten a frozen day, and you’ll find that it warms your heart as well!
Take a snapshot of winter
Bundle up and take your camera (or camera phone) for a short walk when the weather clears for a moment.
Most of the time we remember the beauty of winter only when it’s new. By this time of year we’re tired of it, and we tune out the truly beautiful things all around us.
In my neighborhood the frost and humidity have been combining in the mornings to cover tree branches with the most amazing blossoms of frost. It’s gorgeous! If you’re walking around with your hood up and your eyes down, you’ll miss it.
Hunting for pretty little winter things to take a picture of gets you out of doors for a few minutes and gets your mind active as well – two very well-known antidotes!
Dream a little garden dream
If you’re stuck in winter mode, look ahead a few weeks to break free!
Create a Pinterest board or notebook and collect garden ideas from magazines, blogs and plant and flower catalogs.
Dream big! Once you have all of your favorite ideas in one place you can put sources and prices with each idea so that you can plan ahead and prioritize your projects.
This is an especially fun way to get the kids involved, letting each of them take responsibility for a flower bed mapping the colors and plants that they will use. Nothing will make them feel better about weeding and watering than making the planting areas truly theirs. Hang their sketches on the refrigerator or bulletin board to keep the anticipation high.
Set an indoor fitness goal
When winter is really in full force, some regular exercise routines become a bit harder to follow. Running and walking can be more difficult, and sometimes unsafe.
Missing our daily exercise is one of the major contributors to cabin fever, and is easily remedied in fun ways.
Perhaps you have workout DVDs, but you’re a little tired of them. Why not coordinate an exchange with some of your friends? There are some amazing workout videos on YouTube, too, so try something new to keep things fun.
Because I am embarrassingly uncoordinated, I avoid dancing workouts, but really love walking workouts. For a little extra motivation I use my Fitbit to track my steps and my mom, my sister and I keep track of each other on our Fitbit weekly challenge board.
Freshen it up in the kitchen
Another thing that can make us feel sluggish in the winter is our tendency to eat far more comfort foods. Try adding “new fruit Friday,” or “Take a taste Tuesday” to your menu.
Choose a day of the week to try a new recipe or a healthy new, kind of food. When our family has done this in the past we’ve found new favorites to round out our menu. You can find a recipe for any new food you want to try just by searching the internet.
We’ve participated in Bountiful Baskets which has provided lots of opportunities to keep things fresh even in the winter time, even on a budget.
Cabin fever is real, my friends, but we don’t have to stay miserable! With just a little bit of effort we can find the energy and enthusiasm to face a few more weeks of winter with a smile on our faces! What are you going to do to to shake off the winter blues this year?