Some ways to fight cabin fever
Jan. 13, 2014
by Jenni Sebora

Schools in Atlanta closed due to frigid temperatures of 20 degrees. Okay. That would be reason for us tough Minnesotans to celebrate and almost dig out our summer attire. Now, really. It is all relative.

Cabin fever can sink in whether we are tough or not, especially in, the true frigid temperatures of well below zero. Not being able to get outside and participate in true winter outdoor activities can add to the feelings of claustrophobia, irritability and just plain, “get me out of here,” feelings.

What can we do to help alleviate the cabin fever feelings? Well, first of all, the sun has been shining so stepping outside if but for a few brief moments can help. We know that fresh air, no matter how “fresh” can release endorphins in our brains, which helps in turn to release feelings of happiness.

Over the couple of days of school closing, my children remained school oriented and performed the winter science experiments. Boil water. Add some food coloring for greater excitement. Throw water in the frigid air and watch it as it evaporates. It worked for the most part. However, our driveway now looks like a rainbow. I guess a little color other than white also helps with the mood.

Next experiment, blow some bubbles outside. Watch them escape from the wand, float and change into what looks like pieces of plastic floating into the air. Neat. Those short moments of fun can really cause some exhilaration exactly what we all need.

Okay. It is time to catch up on some reading. “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak is my book of choice right now. My children gifted it to me for Christmas. It is also in theaters right now. It is turning out to be among my top five “reads” of all time. I recommend it.

But I can’t just sit and read. Well, I can, but I like to add some other ambience to my story time. I light a candle. Preferably peppermint, lavender, or vanilla scented which are scents that also help liven the neurotransmitters in our brain that can create feelings of relaxation and happiness. Now, that doesn’t hurt, does it?

I am almost set. I really treat myself. I have my candle burning or my wax burner, which is safer and healthier for the air. I turn on my little heater I love heat, or I sit by my remote controlled fireplace. Last, but not least, coffee or hot cocoa, flavored with vanilla or caramel and some whip, in a new mug I received for a Christmas gift. Now, I am set for a most enjoyable reading experience. It doesn’t take much to make me happy. But why not? It is those little things that really can add some cheer.

I also like lights. I have a tendency to leave my trees up for a while after Christmas because of the ambience of the lights. I also keep some lights around my kitchen window that are appropriately decorated for all seasons – they happen to be grapevine stars. Good for all seasons. Gotta love it.

I also have lights draped on my fireplace mantles. I have admitted that I love heat and lights. Thus an electric fireplace in our den. My husband would possibly say “more room to put stuff on.” Really, he doesn’t mind.

Keeping your indoor environment cheery can help with cabin fever feelings, too. Add some, or maybe one bright pillow. A new blanket or rug. Dress your bed in some luxurious bedding, or maybe just some different sheets, pillowcases, or a new coverlet.

Open up the blinds and, literally, let the sun shine in. Some natural light – when we have it at this time of year can really help. Remember, the days are getting longer.

Take a bath with some scented bubble bath or shower gel. Liven the senses and feel the warmth. Put on those warm slippers or fuzzy socks you got over the holidays. Nothing like it.

And maybe it is time to eat some healthy food. Food that contain what turkey offers us, tryptophan, that our bodies convert to the neurotransmitter, serotonin, can help with feelings of happiness and contentment.

Listen to music. Clean the clutter. Free up counter space. This can also help with feelings of being trapped.

And when you can, step outside, take in the sun and air, if for just a few moments. Take some winter pictures of the beautifully, icicle-draped trees. They really are beautiful. Go for a drive and look at lights. Go out with a friend for coffee or tea.

So, there you have it. Some simple ways we can help relieve feelings of winter entrapment. And always look ahead. The days are getting longer. A possible vacation, whether short or long, may be on the horizon. And remember, the seasonal changes add excitement. Really, they do.

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