Yep, it’s that deadly time of year, when we’re past the frenzy of the holidays, tired of the dreary winter weather and the slowdown can leave us feeling like the walls are closing in on us.
I’m very susceptible to catching cabin fever and I live in Southern California, so I know that sounds kind of wimpy, but it’s true. I can’t even begin to imagine what kind of a meltdown I’d experience if I resided on the East Coast during the winter.
The definition of Cabin Fever was first identified and recorded in 1918. It’s described as being a claustrophobic reaction to being isolated in a small space for an extended period of time. Some of you may recall the famous horror novel by Stephen King, The Shining, where the character Jack Torrance suffered from the malady of cabin fever. Okay, so that’s an extreme example, but you get the idea.
So if we’re aware this syndrome presents on an annual basis, it can help to prepare an arsenal of antidotes to fight back with and rise above the dark cloud known as cabin fever.
Get Up, Get Out, Get Moving
Okay, so I’m making this sound far too easy, but there’s some truth in this simple method. The worst thing you can do if you’re afflicted with cabin fever is to stay in your pajamas and scuff around in your slippers too long. Even if you have no formal plans or appointments for the day, make a pact with yourself to get out of bed by an appointed hour, shower and dress like you’re going somewhere. You’ll be surprised how much different it can make you feel if you just commit to doing this one simple thing.
Get your Blood Flowing & your Endorphins Rushing
Hands down, exercise is one of the best known antidotes for cabin fever. Not only does it help benefit and strengthen your body, but it can also produce endorphins too, which have been proven to increase your mood, help diminish pain and decrease depression too. But winter weather can make it difficult to find the time or motivation for exercise. It gets dark earlier too, which makes it even harder to get inspired to get in some exercise.
It can help to enlist a buddy to exercise with or at least commit to checking in with each other to make sure you both exercise at least 3 times a week. It doesn’t need to be anything overly extensive, you can start out by first committing to 15 minute sessions of walking or using an exercise app at home and then work up to doing 30 minute sessions later.
Music Can Lift You Out of the Fog
You’re probably already familiar with creating playlists for working out, so why not build a couple playlists with your favorite upbeat songs that you know always put a smile on your face or lift your mood? The psychological benefits of music have been reported to contribute not only to your mental health, but also to your physical health, by improving your body’s immune system and lowering your stress levels.
I grew up in a house where my parents played music in our home all the time and that influence and appreciation for music has stayed with me forever. Make it a habit to listen to music whenever you can and play it in your home for your family too. They’ll learn to have an appreciation for music and imprinting it at an early age will last them for a lifetime.
Okay, so no excuses. Get out of those pajamas now and get moving!