If nasty winter weather has kept you and your family trapped indoors, you may be suffering from a bit of cabin fever. According to psychologists, cabin fever is a real condition often defined as as a claustrophobic-like feeling people get after being indoors for a long period of time, which is often the case during the winter months. It leaves us feeling lethargic and unmotivated, irritable and quick to snap at each other.
You can help your family bust out of these doldrums by following a few helpful tips to increase mental and physical activities and exposure to sunlight and feel better by eating a better diet.
Tips for Combating Cabin Fever
It’s important to keep your brain engaged, rather than letting it sit idle in front of the TV or computer screen.
- Plan a long weekend get-away or Spring Break trip.
- Teach your child a new skill, such as a card game, a few words of a new language, or how to knit.
- Tackle a crossword puzzle.
- Do a craft with your kids. Creative art therapies are shown to boost immunity and improve mood.
- Combat loneliness by inviting a friend and her kids over for a lunchtime play date. Entertainment is stimulating.
Keep moving. Physical activity of any kind releases endorphins and revs up your metabolism, making you feel better.
- Take a walk, preferably outdoors. If the weather is too prohibitive, walk in a mall or other indoor area.
- Build a snowman with your kids or make snow angels.
- Try cross-country skiing.
- Throw in an exercise DVD, hop on the treadmill or pull out the yoga mat for an indoor workout.
A lack of exposure to sunlight causes a chemical imbalance in our brains that leaves us feeling lethargic or depressed.
- Get outside for at least a few minutes everyday.
- Open the blinds and curtains in your home and workplace.
- Move your desk near a window.
Skip the boredom-induced binge eating and opt for wise choices that reduce stress and increase energy.
- Reduce carbohydrates – you’ll feel less sluggish.
- Eat less, only when you’re hungry and not just bored.
- Keep hydrated.
- Eat foods with high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that are bodies converts to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness. Includes turkey, tofu, and pineapple, among many other tasty options.