How to Beat Cabin Fever

In the wake of last weekend’s winter storm, temperatures dropped across the country, leaving many people confined to their homes or at least reluctant to go out. Homes today have numerous entertainments, of course, but cabin fever — that restless feeling that comes with being stuck at home — is a real challenge in wintertime.

Children get especially squirrely when daily activities are limited by deep drifts and icy temperatures. Keep them busy by having them help bake cookies, make homemade Play-doh or build an indoor fort, The Budget Diet suggests, or try to help them embrace the weather by going on a nature walk or sledding trip.

Avoid binging on television and food if you want to beat cabin fever, WikiHow says — such overindulgences can actually make you feel more listless and hopeless. Instead, get plenty of vitamin D through sunlight and healthy foods, engage your mind with a good book or puzzle, and clean your home to make it more comfortable.

Host a dinner, cocktail party or game night if you want to socialize without traveling far, LifeHacker suggests. “Make people trudge through the snow to you. Put on a pot of stew, bake some bread, and break out the whiskey. How do you think people in cold climates stay social?”

You can also take advantage of the downtime to plan for the parts of the year you won’t be stuck inside, WiseBread says. Check out destinations for your summer road trip online or plan your summer garden. Better still, volunteer some of your extra time to help people facing worse problems than boredom.

One of the best things to do to keep cabin fever at bay while making that “cabin” a better place to live is #declutter, says MakeSpace.com. A cluttered home is a cramped home, “so spend the next big snow day cleaning and organizing,” the site says. It will make your space more livable and enjoyable, even while you’re stuck there due to the weather.

When you’re done decluttering, pack up any still-useful clothing and household items and contact ClothingDonations.org for a pickup. You won’t have to lift a finger — we’ll come to you, navigating the slushy streets to get your donations before reselling them to local thrift stores and using the proceeds to fund veterans programs.

That act of charity alone should make you feel somewhat better about being stuck indoors. Stay warm!

Celebrating the Great Indoors

With record low temperatures throughout the eastern half of the United States and snow falling as far south as Florida, many people are finding they suddenly have a lot of indoor time to fill this winter. You can curse the cold and simply endure it in front of the TV, or you can make the most of that time.

There isn’t as much going on during the winter months, meaning you’ll have lots of time to tackle household projects that got pushed aside during the other seasons. Do you have a shelf to install, a socket to rewire, or a room to paint? Now’s the time to tackle some of those indoorsy tasks.

Consider getting a head start on your spring cleaning—that’s one ever-present indoor project that doesn’t have a minimum temperature. Start with a room or a closet and sort everything in it into “keep,” “donate” and “trash” piles. Contact ClothingDonations.org to pick up the donations, and you’ll help fund veterans’ programs nationwide.

Cold weather is linked to more focused brain activity and greater productivity, so winter is a great time make plans. “Take advantage of the long, quiet, dark nights to review the past year and set relevant, challenging goals for the year ahead,” the Lifehack blog says.

You also can use your extra indoor time to start a new hobby, take a class or try out new recipes (with the bonus of warming the kitchen while you cook). There are lots of activities that can keep you entertained while you’re snowed in, Wisebread says.

There’s nothing wrong with a little hibernating, of course. Embrace the season by following the Norwegian concept of koselig: Build a fire in the fireplace, take a hot bath, make hot chocolate (or hot toddies), and pile on the blankets. Invite your friends over to share in your newfound ski-lodge sensibility.

If you just can’t take the snow and ice any longer, plan a vacation. Not only will it give you a sense of purpose, the anticipation of adventure will make the days go by faster. If you escape to a warm and sunny spot, though, be prepared for the letdown of returning to more frigid temperatures.

Whatever you choose to do with your extra time in the great indoors, simply looking at it as a gift and not a burden will help you cope with the worst that winter has to offer. Stay warm!