6 Frugal Ways to Beat Cabin Fever

by Tisha Tolar on 16 February 2009 8 comments
Photo: Bear Toes

One nice day can throw your senses into a tizzy after spending the last several months couped up in the house or bundled up in layered clothing. Struggling through cabin fever can be especially difficult for those who crave the sun and just don't see enough of it during the winter months.

There are several ways to beat back cabin fever without having to invest in an expensive vacation or start a time-consuming project you are not interested in following through with simply because you are bored (ie: cleaning out the basement or the closets).

Here are 6 great ideas to stave off the winter blues and feel more productive without having to spend hardly a dime:

1. Open the Shades
During the cold winter months, it is a good idea to open the blinds and the curtains during the daylight hours to allow what little sun there is to warm the house naturally. This extra sunshine in the house can help your feel a little brighter as well. At dark, make sure you re-close all of the curtains and shades to keep the cold night air out.

2. Get Walking
Walking is one of the best forms of daily exercise you can get. It get your heart pumping and keeps your mind clear. Taking a small walk in the morning for 15-30 minutes can help give you a boost, give you more energy, and get you in better shape. Walking in different areas each day can also help because a change of scenery might do your mind some good since you have been staring at your four walls for too long. Walking is a great habit to establish and even during the cold months, it will do your body good to get some fresh air daily.

3. Eat Better
Your diet plays a large part in your emotional well-being. You tend to lack D vitamins during the winter months when you are more likely to be out of the sun. These vitamins are essential to your body's ability to produce serotonin, which is your body's natural depression defense. Eating green vegetables and an overall healthy diet can help boost our energy levels and just feel better overall.

4. Help Others
During the winter, it can be easy to get depressed but sometimes, as bad as it seems things are, there are others who are much worse off than we. If you are struggling with cabin fever and boredom, take some of your time and volunteer it to help others. There are likely food pantries that could use an extra hand since so many more people are now in need than before. There are likely many opportunities where you could lend a hand but if you can't find what you are looking for there, contact VolunteerMatch.org to find opportunities.

5. Plan Forward
If you are really anticipating the warmer spring weather, start planning now for the different ways you can take advantage of it as soon as it hits. If you are an outdoorsy person, compare different campgrounds where you might want to go when the weather breaks. Research what kind of flowers you are going to plant in the garden this year. Even better, start planting flower seeds now so they will be ready to go when the weather improves. There are a lot of ideas out there that are frugal and fun.

6. Be Grateful
When all else fails, slow down and think about all the wonderful things you have in your life, no matter what season it is. Chances are good it will bring a smile to your face and make you feel better. Remembering all the wonderful things you already have instead of focusing on what you don't have might bring you more peace throughout your entire life. It might not fight off cabin fever totally, but will certainly help you to stay grounded.

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Guest's picture

I enjoy taking time out of my day to be grateful. I think it really makes a difference to appreciate what we have rather than cursing what we have not.

-Nate

Guest's picture

Solid tips-- I have had my share of winter! Walking will definately be on my list this weekend!

Guest's picture

"During the cold winter months, it is a good idea to open the blinds and the curtains during the daylight hours to allow what little sun there is to warm the house naturally. This extra sunshine in the house can help your feel a little brighter as well. At dark, make sure you re-close all of the curtains and shades to keep the cold night air out."
Thanks for the information

Guest's picture
Amy

I absolutely love opening the curtains to let the sun come in (on the rare occasion that it's sunny here). I even go as far as to lay directly on the spot where the sun is shining down, whether that is the floor or some furniture. I definitely crave the sun and miss it terribly during the winter months.

Guest's picture

I've been working hard at doing more walking and jogging lately. Like I'm sure a lot of people on here, I spend a lot of time at my computer in my home office, so just to get up and move around can make a big difference in how you feel.

Good stuff!

Guest's picture
Beth

I think you meant vitamin D? It's vitamin D we get from the sun, so in the winter when we're not out in it, we may not get enough. This year, I started taking a supplement (at least for the winter) and I find it helps.

But hey, there are lots and lots of good reasons for getting more of the B vitamins too!

Guest's picture

Take advantage of the rare nice days of pleasant weather. Walking is a good strategy but not why do something fun? Go snow tubing, skating, or cross-country skiing. It's very refreshing and stimulating to have fun and exercise outdoors.

Guest's picture

Thanks for the tips. I spend a good 90% of my time typing alone at home, so it's good to see that 1) I'm not alone and 2) I'm not necessarily supposed to be depressed all day.
I'm using these tips as a starting off point for my own post on the environmental blog Super Eco.
Thanks for the ideas!