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Posts Tagged ‘cabin fever’

Last winter, my co-worker Katie and I went out back to make snow angels.

Fall Daylight Savings Time is one of my most favorite times of the year. Many people hate that the sun goes down earlier and there are more hours of darkness, but I love it. There’s one problem, however. DST also signifies that my least favorite season of the year is on its way: Winter 😦

Snow is beautiful, but the winter temperatures chill me to the bone. They cause me to continuously tense every muscle in my body in an attempt to feel warmth and I’m overly tired as a result.

When I was a child, I welcomed winter and all the snow days my school could provide. I loved heading outside, bundled in layers of mismatched clothing, throwing snow balls and making snow angels. One year, my family and I made an 8-foot-tall snowman in the front yard. We still talk about that experience, but I’m not much for being out in the snow anymore.

As an adult, winter brings with it an inconvenience. I previously lived just one block from my office and could walk if the weather was poor. Now I live 20 miles away down a state highway with numerous hills and curves. The driveway at my house is gravel and slightly hilly as well. I must clean off my car each morning in order to even open the door to warm it up and then I have to wait 30 minutes so I don’t drive old Betsy before she’s ready.

Winter also takes away some outdoor opportunities and can leave us stuck inside in the evenings with little idea of what to do to pass the time. Cabin fever can be hard to cope with and while I personally feel much more productive once the sun sets and I know going outside isn’t likely an option, some hate having to be indoors. When 6 p.m. rolls around and the darkness has arrived, I’m energized. I begin doing things I’ve put off all year and my creativity reaches an all-time high. Granted, I do have to sit or lay beneath mounds of blankets while working on my creative stuff (or graduate school homework), but it’s worth it.

What is the winter experience like for you? When you’re stuck inside and you’d rather be out gardening, taking a walk or just lounging on the deck, what are some things you do or can do to help alleviate cabin fever?

Here are some suggestions I have come up with and I look forward to hearing ways you cope during the winter months:

1. Take a winter nap. If you don’t have a fireplace to nap near, snuggle up in fresh linens in your bedroom. Turn on some soft music and cast your cares aside for 30 minutes to an hour.

2. Create a collage from those old magazines you have laying around. Perhaps you think you may be too old for arts and crafts, but a collage is a very unique and fun way to express your thoughts and feelings. The best part is that collages can be any size, any shape and on any subject you desire. There are no limits.

3. Break out the recipes you have been wanting to try for months. Pick out a handful  of recipes and get cookin’! Everyone can use a little extra food in the freezer throughout the winter so don’t worry about making too much. Experiment with something you wouldn’t normally try or something you’ve wanted to try, but haven’t had the time to make (ie: that great red velvet cake with a decorative Christmas scene on the top).

4. For those who celebrate the Christmas season, decorate your home inside and out. I’m not one who likes over-the-top holiday decor. My opinion is that less is more when it comes to lights and trees and mistletoe. While you’re sifting through magazines for your collage, find a particular decorative piece and try to recreate it for your home. When I was a kid, I would take the TV Guide and fold all of the pages until the whole thing appeared like a pine tree and would stand up on its own. You could do this and then spray paint the “tree” any color you like. If you’re feeling super crafty, you could even place a star on the top.

5. Call a friend or relative just to chat. Sometimes we call others only when we have something very important to tell them or we need to vent about our circumstances. However, phoning a friend to say hello and to engage in small talk can be more meaningful. This is a great pastime if you’re struggling with mental health issues such as depression during the winter months. By calling someone, you are getting out of your head and into their lives for a brief time. Having tried this myself many times, it truly does help put us in a better mood.

6. Shop online (if finances permit). With the downturn of the economy, many have had to stifle their wants or desires due to a lack of money. I’ve been there too. I’m still there. However, what I tell myself when I start to feel the guilt of purchasing a want rather than a need, is “I work hard for my money and it all goes to bills. I deserve to take care of myself by splurging once in awhile on something that brings me joy, even if just temporary joy.” Go ahead, buy those boots you’ve been wanting. You can find many discounts at online retailers if you search. Trust me. My boyfriend tells me I’m “such a smart shopper.”

7. Fix what’s broken. This can refer to either material things that are broken around your home (like that closet rod that needs to be put back up), or a relationship that has gone astray. When we take time to do that which we have put off, we’re often amazed how much better we feel. Work on odd projects inside or even outside and/or write a letter to the one person in your life whom you’ve not spoken to for months/years after a falling out. There are no rules that you have to mail that letter.

8. Blog. I’m an advocate of writing of course. Blogging, journaling or jotting notes can all be very powerful tools in maintaining good mental health. If you don’t have the knack for writing, it’s okay. You don’t have to share your words with others. Buy a nice journal that will make you want to open it, and sit down for 10-20 minutes each day to express yourself. Even if you write, “I don’t have much to write about today. I didn’t do anything except make a bunch of recipes I’ve been wanting to try,” it’s perfectly fine. Your words are your words and your journal is your journal. If you simply can’t write, draw in your journal instead. This is also a great place to do your  collages.

9. Have a family game night. If you live by yourself this one may be hard. There are games for one, however, such as those on your cell phone or those built into your computer. Otherwise, gather up your household for a few games of Yahtzee or a long game of Monopoly.

10. Take a bubble bath. Light candles, play Christmas music, toss in some flower petals and soak away your cabin fever.

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