The darker, chillier months tend to inspire daydreams of living life as another kind of animal… perhaps a bird who migrates south, a bear who hibernates all winter or a hermit crab who stows away in their shell. Unfortunately, we humans have to keep up with our routines even when it’s gross outside.
Cabin fever can strike at any time, but when the sun sets early and we need to pile on blankets to keep cozy, it can be quite a powerful force. Maintaining our usual self-care, work schedule and household tasks become more difficult and it’s tempting to just take a nap instead. There are ways to make this time of year more manageable, however. Try out these tips to regain control of cabin fever symptoms and have a more productive season.
1. Reimagine your living space
Whenever we spend a long amount of time in one setting, our senses adjust to our surroundings. We no longer feel the intrigue of walking into a new space, which can make the space we are in feel pretty old and boring. Tackle this problem by jazzing up your environment a little bit—whether it’s your living room or your cubicle. Rearrange some furniture. Paint a wall. Turn on some tunes. Change out your artwork. Light a scented candle. All of these subtle changes will pique your sensory interests and make the day to day a little less of a drag.
2. Start a goal-oriented project
With nice weather comes a multitude of possibilities. Everything from a simple walk around the block to relaxing with a picnic or starting a couch-to-5k program feels more accessible when the weather is agreeable. Conversely, when we feel tied to our homes without the luxury of comfortably stepping outside, our options become slim.
Instead of lamenting this shift, put your thinking cap on and come up with a goal-oriented project you can work toward. Hitting the gym with a weightlifting goal is one option, but maybe you’d prefer challenging yourself to take up knitting. Perhaps deep cleaning your closet will give you satisfaction or learning a new language. Start a new book trilogy, organize family photos into an online album, volunteer at an animal shelter once a week, start an indoor herb garden—whatever your poison, pick one that will leave you feeling accomplished by the time spring rolls around.
3. Check your vitamin D
If you aren’t getting 15 minutes of direct, sunblock-less sun exposure every day, chances are you are at risk for a vitamin D deficiency. It’s okay—up to 42 percent of U.S. adults are deficient in this key nutrient. What’s not okay is doing nothing about it. Not getting enough can put you at risk for poor bone, heart and circulatory health. Here are 5 ways to increase your vitamin D intake.
4. Schedule weekly excuses to spend time outside the house
If you only leave the house for work and errands, you might begin to associate venturing outdoors with “ugh, not again.” Make it a point to schedule yourself time outside of the house that is enjoyable, as well. Prioritize it like it’s an important errand. Spend a Saturday morning at the coffee shop. Take some photos of a snowy park. Walk your pup down the street. Meet up with a friend for lunch. Visit a museum. Not only will this boost your mood, it will also make you feel less isolated and stuck at home.
5. Keep moving
While it may be tempting to camp out on the couch until May, this isn’t the best option for our mental and physical health. This time of year is not only accompanied by this sluggish temptation, but also the allure of rich holiday foods. And that combination can lead to problems down the road. Make sure you are still keeping your body mobile through walks, visits at the gym, at-home workouts, or even strolls through the bookstore. Find something you enjoy doing, so your mind will benefit as much as the rest of your body.(under the courtesy of care2.com)