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Cabin Fever Symptoms & Solutions

By HERWriter
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Ways to beat cabin fever during the winter. via Unsplash

Mother Nature’s wrath affected over 100 million people in late January and early February, 2011. The latest ʺSnowmageddonʺ has closed roads, schools and offices in over 28 states. Government officials recommended that all non-emergency personnel stay home and wait until the storm passes through.

Cabin fever is also known as the winter blues, winter malaise or mild winter depression. More severe cases of cabin fever are clinically known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

As many of us stay home during the storm, we may become stir crazy and develop cabin fever. Many people feel cabin fever in the winter months when more time is spent indoors, and when communication with the outside world is less frequent.

Cabin fever affects everyone differently. It may take longer to take effect for someone who spends most of their time indoors. Whereas someone else may feel cabin fever just by spending a weekend indoors.

The American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association characterize the symptoms of cabin fever as:

• A lack of patience
• Always feeling tired
• Feeling unproductive and unmotivated
• Feeling sad or depressed
• Lethargy
• Difficulty concentrating
• Craving carbohydrates or sugar
• Difficulty waking in the morning
• Sleep disturbance
• Social withdrawal
• Irritability

Other symptoms of cabin fever are hopelessness, losing interest in the activities one used to enjoy earlier, weight gain/weight loss, difficulty concentrating and/or processing information and change in the sex drive.

If you are feeling all cooped up, experts recommend diet, exercise, and a regimen of regular goal-oriented activities to survive the winter blahs.

In regards to diet, here are 10 foods to improve your energy level: https://www.empowher.com/fitness/content/top-10-foods-improve-energy-levels

Also, consider shutting off all the electronics and unplug for awhile. Decrease your screen time and do things that are more interactive like reading books, magazines or breaking out a game board/puzzle. The key is to stimulate the brain and interact with others.

According to CBS News, one study said that visualizing and thinking about a warm place also helps shake with winter blahs.

If you can’t get to the gym because of weather, get active at home. Do a workout DVD, Wii exercise game or consider cleaning out a closet or the basement/attic. Heavy cleaning can burn just as many calories as a brisk walk outdoors.

Also, consider some alternative outdoor winter activities to get out of the house. Instead of watching TV, just get outside. Dress for the weather and make snowmen or snow angels in the snow. If the weather permits, break out the cross country skis or snow shoes and take a trip around the block.

Have a cabin fever party with your neighbors. Throw a potluck dinner or movie night at your house.

Think of this time as a solution versus a negative. This is a great time to get things done inside the house.

Remember, spring is coming soon!

What is your favorite thing to do to shake the winter blues?


Add a Comment1 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

There is no winter season in my country, but still I experience all the symptoms of a Cabin Fever when I'm in the house..I always get Angry, stressful, sleepy, no appetite, I feelunproductive and unmotivated to do task..not feeling well..

November 21, 2012 - 6:04am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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