Food for Thought: Coping with cabin fever

| January 6, 2021 12:00 AM

Are you suffering from cabin fever? Symptoms include: restlessness, irritability, sugar cravings, excessive sleeping, depression, inactivity, crankiness, weight gain, feeling unmotivated and bored.

If you answered “yes” to the majority of these questions you may be able to blame it on cabin fever.

Cabin fever most often strikes during long gloomy winters and prolonged confinement indoors. It has been found there is a link between decreasing sunlight during winter months and a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health found the intensity of light affects the natural release of the melatonin hormone which is a regulator for the consciousness.

Two main causes of cabin fever are prolonged confinement and lack of sunlight.

One therapy for cabin fever is to get out and interact with nature. Even brief interactions with nature can promote cognitive function and overall well being.

Here are some suggestions which may prove helpful:

  • Photograph your surroundings, wildlife, or a snowy scene.
  • Go cross country skiing. Great way to get exercise.
  • Soak in a natural hot springs. Quinns Hot Springs are in the nearby area.
  • Track animal foot prints. Get a book and learn about all the different animals and their habitats.
  • Learn to snow shoe.
  • Hang a bird feeder outside your window and learn about the various birds.
  • Try ice fishing.
  • Take the kids sledding - you might try it yourself.
  • Go ice skating.
  • Practice shooting at the local gun range.
  • Join a snowmobiling club.
  • There is snowboarding, ice climbing or winter camping for the most adventurous.

Other suggestions include: maintaining contact with friends, having pot lucks, movie night, cards, boards games, taking a yoga class or adult education courses at your local school.

Whatever you decide to do change your perception about winter and make up your mind to have a good time in spite of the weather.

Leta A. Livoti Ph.D. LCSW, LCPC is a psychotherapist in Thompson Falls and can be contacted at 827-0700.