HAPPINESS

10 Ways to Combat Cabin Fever

Far North Climate

Here in Minnesota it takes skills to get through the winter.  I am not talking about shoveling your driveway, or patiently waiting for your car to warm up, or scraping the frost and ice off the windshield.  Mentally it is a challenge to get from November to April.  The challenge becomes greater after the holidays; usually come February everyone starts getting stir-crazy.  A similar feeling I have experienced on the other end of the spectrum when living in Texas.  When triple digit temperatures haunt you, you become edgy.  People become mean, and it is proven that more crimes occur.

1. Stay Warm

When I was a kid, I spent all day outdoors; whether it was 90 degrees, or 10 degrees below zero.  How did I tolerate the cold?  I put Vaseline on my feet and put a sandwich baggie on before my socks.  I also put Vaseline or a thick lotion on my hands before putting my mittens on. I always had something covering my head and ears as well.

Indoors be sure to wear something on your feet; whether it be thick socks or slippers.  You will find this makes a big difference.  The old house I lived in growing up did not produce much heat in my bedroom.  I used a hair dryer to blow warm air into my bed before climbing under the sheets.

2. Play Music

When doing household chores like cooking, cleaning and laundry, turn on the tunes and dance!  Dancing raises your spirits and helps to burn off those extra calories you took on during the holidays.

3. Meditate

Winter time is a time of self-reflection.  A natural time of hibernation.  For some, however, it can create a sense of claustrophobia.  I enjoy some of my moments of meditation placing myself in scenarios I have already experienced.  Imagining myself in the pools of hot springs not only creates warms, but it comforts me; relaxes me.  Creating for myself a warm climate mentally, gives my psyche hope for the warmer days.

4. Socialize

Don’t just hibernate all winter.  It is not healthy to recluse for months on end.  Go volunteer at a soup kitchen or a local school.  Plan weekly dinners with neighbors, friends and family.  Take turns hosting dinners and play board games together to combat the winter woes.

5. Get Exercise

Find an enjoyable place to take a walk.  Taking in some natural sunlight is much needed this time of year.  Join a gym.  If anything, just utilize the sauna for a good weekly detox.  Not a fan of public exercising?  Me either.  Have fun with YouTube videos learning new Yoga techniques or Zoomba dancing.  Always wanted to learn belly dancing?  This is the time of year to do so.  Take a class or, again, find a YouTube video that you enjoy.

6. Indoor Gardening

Indoor gardening has been my number one way to combat winter blahs.  Even if you are not into gardening, just owning, or buying some new plants can help not only filter that stagnant winter air, but bring promise of greener earth before you know it.  One of my favorite things to do with my kids has been growing grass.  Letting them pick their own flower pot and sowing grass seeds (anything from wheat grass to cat grass to lawn grass).  Get creative.  Check Pinterest for fun ideas like heads made out of old nylons or animal-shaped pots etc.  Once the grass has grown tall enough, the fun begins!  Hand out the age-appropriate scissors and let them give haircuts.

7. Finish Projects

That sweater you started last winter has fresh eyes this year, give it a shot or pass it onto someone else who can enjoy the hobby.  Does your basement need organized?  Plug in a space heater and some music.  Set up boxes for “Give away,” “Sell,”  “Throw Out/Recycle.”  Create a home for everything else.  Try out a new hobby like polymer clay charms (my daughter’s favorite) or writing (my favorite) or learn how to play an instrument.

8.  Create a New Game

When my oldest son was little I got pretty creative with indoor activities.  I painted our basement floors with roads, parking lots and a racetrack for him to put his cars, Little People and their buildings on for hours of entertainment.  If you aren’t able to paint the floors, use painter’s tape to get the same effect.  We have also turned appliance boxes into indoor clubhouses.  Go to your local appliance store or even check where they are developing a new neighborhood.  Both venues are more than happy to pass on a nice big box for the cause.  They also make for the perfect puppet theaters as well.  Dollar stores, especially Dollar Tree have great staples for making games.  Bring home items like colored chips, mini action figures, foam board, dice and other items you think they could use like stickers, paint, tape… get creative.  Let the kids design their own board games and set a time when the whole family can test it out.

9.  Eat Healthy

The holidays tend to make us do foolish things to our bodies.  We binge on pies and cookies and over-sized meals.  Some people go the other end of the spectrum come the first of the year with their resolutions.  Our bodies don’t like when we go from Thanksgiving dinner to only a salad for dinner.  Make gradual changes.  Maybe you like to stop at Starbucks for coffee and a lemon pound cake slice in the morning.   Change that routine up a little bit a couple times a week to something like a tea and a coffee cake.  Eventually change that to breakfast at home.  Gradually changing eating habits makes us less irritable and creates more realistic goals.  This time of year is perfect for soups and hot dishes.  Make your own and freeze what you don’t eat.  Drink plenty of fluids.  Just because you are not int he hot sun does not mean you don’t need clear liquids.  My personal favorites are raw apple cider vinegar infused water, kombucha, or black tea with a hint of raw local honey.

10. Treat Yourself

This time of year when you are doing the winter curl (here in Minnesota it is called the Minnesota curl), with your chin brought to your chest all huddled over chilled to the bone; your muscles get sore.  Run a hot bath with lavender essential oils and Epsom salts.  Find a good massage therapist and make regular visits.  Keep your skin hydrated.  One thing I do after cutting into an avocado is rub it into my skin.  I use coconut oil on my skin a couple times a day.  I also use coconut oil for a hair treatment once a month.  Burn candles and create a relaxing warm environment to watch a movie.

 

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