It’s that time of year when we all suffer from a fever. One would think, for those of us who have lived south of Lake Erie for most of our lives, we would know how to avoid this particular fever, yet it comes upon us like a grey fog every winter. We moan about the cold and snow. Our kids complain “I’m bored!” The dog even refuses to go outside. That’s when the insidious malady strikes: Cabin Fever.
However, there are ways to send Cabin Fever packing. I’ve come up with a list of 15 sure-fire ways to beat it. There is something on this list for everyone, regardless of age. You might even find more than one that suits you. So, are you ready?
1. Try a new recipe. Grab a cookbook and, without looking, open it and put your finger on a page. Don’t blame me if you end up making haggis.
2. Build weird snow sculptures. Forget the snowmen, it’s time to try building giant snow turtles, huge geometric shapes, or even a snow table and chairs. One year, my husband built all four Teletubbies out of snow, then spray-painted them by mixing warm water with food coloring in a spray bottle. The possibilities are unlimited.
3. Make something useful out of Duck Tape. A quick internet search reveals a multitude of crafts made of “duct” tape. However, the “Duck Tape” brand actually gives a college scholarship each year to a person who creates the nicest prom gown out of the sticky stuff. I kid you not.
4. Go to the YMCA. You’re tired of the cold, so grab your swimsuit and head for the Y’s pool! You (and the kids) can get a little exercise and have fun at the same time, without having to wear five layers of clothing. You can even soak those achy winter muscles in the hot tub.
5. Go to the library. Don’t go looking for something in particular. Rather, slowly wander the stacks looking at titles. I guarantee it won’t take you long to locate something that piques your interest. Or take out a cookbook and go back to #1.
6. Visit a local business that you haven’t ever been to before. You think you’re stuck in the winter doldrums? Try being a small-business owner in January. Even if you don’t buy something, at least look around. You might be surprised at what you’ll find.
7. Host a movie night with friends. Sure you’re not “getting out” to see a movie, but you’re having friends over! In today’s economy, renting a movie, making your own nachos and popcorn, and buying 2-liter bottles of pop is a whole lot easier on the wallet than driving 45 minutes and shelling out the bucks at the theater.
8. Host a board game day with other families. Have everyone bring a game and a snack to share, and be sure to let the little ones win a few.
9. Troll your friends’ facebook pages and “like” photos from four years ago. This is always good for a laugh.
10. Organize the junk drawer. Admit it, you have one, and it’s a mess.
11. Start spring cleaning. Why wait? You already did the junk drawer, right?
12. Draw crayon pictures with your kids. Don’t have kids? Draw crayon pictures anyway.
13. Plan a trip. Get out the map. Trust me, it’s more fun to use a map than to rely on Siri. Pick a destination and look at all of the places you could visit on the way or in the same vicinity. Go online and search more about those places. Even if you can’t actually take the trip, you’ve spent some time there in your imagination.
14. Bundle up and go outside with a camera. Winter scenery lends itself to some of the best photos. Try taking photos from different angles: lie on the ground looking up at a snow-covered tree or go up to a high point and look down at snow-coated rooftops.
15. Write a letter to a friend. Yes, a real letter, remember those? With a real envelope and stamp? In the early 1990s I was excited when I received an e-mail. Now, I relish finding a real letter delivered by my friendly postman.
These are only my ideas, and I’ll bet everyone who reads this can think of at least one more. Just imagine if we put all of those thousands of ideas in a book! Hey, that’s another one right there.
16. Start writing a book.
~This blog was published in the January 25, 2014 edition of the Corry Journal~