How to get over the worst effects of cabin fever.
Do you live in the North of North America or Northern Europe? Have you experienced the depressing effects of winter more this year than previously?
When I heard the term cabin fever used during my first winter in Canada, I thought people were talking about some obscure disease caused by mould, bugs or small rodents inhabiting their houses. Only later did I discover it was a term used to describe the accumulative effect of months spent indoors, lack of sunlight, short days and for many I suspect, lack of exercise.
Coming from a tropical climate with little difference in day length between mid summer and mid winter, no daylight saving clock changing and winters warm enough to wear shorts most days, I thought people were exaggerating.
After months of the coldest winter and biggest snowfalls since arriving in Canada, I now realise that cabin fever is a real problem, I am feeling its effects.
The short days and lack of sunlight have always affected me more than the below freezing temperatures, but this year the cold has also been a problem.
The combined effects have sapped my energy and affected my motivation, I have had to call on extra reserves of resilience and determination to get stuff done. I have had to make more effort to stay positive and fully motivated.
Here are a few things that have helped me and will help you. Some I have touched on in previous posts.
- Reduced my exposure to negative news in the media.
- Been very disciplined with creating a prioritized action plan each evening for the following day.
- Continuing to exercise inside the house on days when the weather makes walking outside too unpleasant.
- Doing my horse related barn tasks every day no matter how bad the weather.
- Cutting, splitting, stacking and moving wood into the basement to keep warm.
- Remembering that “This too shall pass” in two months or less all the snow will be gone, this is part of a natural cycle, has been for millions of years and will continue.
- Switching tasks when I struggle with creativity. On the odd occasion when I cannot think of anything to write, switching to an hour getting my accounts up to date soon makes the switch back to writing a welcome choice.
- Keeping busy by using the extra time inside the house to catch up on neglected tasks, reading more, spend more time learning to play the guitar.
- I hate to admit this, but watching an hour of TV with Sue every week, perhaps because we are baby boomers or because of our British roots we have become fascinated by Downton Abbey.
Most important of all, recognising that the cabin fever does affect most of us, that it is temporary and it is not just me suffering from premature dementia.
How do you handle it? Leave a comment.