Freezing temperatures. Gloomy, short days and long nights that seem to last an eternity. These normal winter conditions dampen the spirits of even the hardiest souls. Before you know it, you realize you haven’t done much of anything lately but stare at the walls and daydream about spring. If you feel like this, you probably have a hallmark case of cabin fever. Fortunately, you can pull yourself out of the winter doldrums by following some easy, effective steps designed to brighten your outlook.
What Is Cabin Fever?
Cabin fever is a general term for the feelings of anxiety, unhappiness, and malaise caused by spending too much time indoors. Although it’s not a recognized medical disorder, it shares many of the same symptoms as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a condition that causes depression in patients due to a lack of light in the fall and winter.
What Are the Symptoms of Cabin Fever?
Cabin fever can lead to the following symptoms:
- Disruption of sleep patterns (frequent napping and difficulty waking up)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Inability to handle stress
- Feelings of isolation
How to Treat Cabin Fever
If you’re suffering from cabin fever, you may feel unmotivated to do anything to help yourself. If possible, enlist the help of your partner or other family member to encourage you to take the following steps to elevate your mood.
Exercise – Even though it may be cold and windy, bundle up and take a short walk around the block to get your heart rate up and your blood pumping. If you can’t make it outdoors, put in 20 minutes on a treadmill or follow along with a yoga video to get your body moving. If you’re physically able, visit an indoor sports complex to not only get some exercise, but also fight social isolation by competing in your favorite sports alongside others.
Get Some Sun – If you get a rare sunny day in the middle of winter, use it to your advantage. Bundle up and go outdoors to soak up some much needed Vitamin D that your body uses to boost your mood.
Watch Your Diet – Eating a healthy diet is a must year round. But if you’re suffering from cabin fever, add foods rich in Vitamin D to elevate your mood. Lean proteins that contain fatty omega acids are also a great choice. Limit your alcohol consumption since it can adversely affect your ability of get quality sleep.
Take Up a Hobby – On days when leaving the house isn’t an option, focus your mind on a fun activity like arts and crafts, knitting, model building, etc. Whether it’s a new hobby or one you haven’t done in years, you’ll enjoy the change of pace and sense of accomplishment in finishing a project.
Challenge Your Brain – Consider your time cooped up indoors as an opportunity to challenge your brain. Put together a puzzle, read a good novel, play Sudoku, or gather the family around the table for a fun board game.
If you’re having trouble overcoming the symptoms of cabin fever and feel like you need medical help, make an appointment with the expert physicians of Complete Neurological Care. We specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of depression and anxiety disorders and will quickly get you on the road to recovery.