Cabin Fever

This time of year, the temperature drops and the weather gets colder. This may be a good excuse to lay on the couch, binge watch your favorite television shows or movies and eat comfort food. The brain itself even makes changes to adjust to the change in weather.

However, it doesn’t take long for this to lead to restlessness. Keeping your mind and body active during the winter months can help maintain good mental and physical health. Here are some ways to do so through indoor activities.

Check out local attractions. Holiday promotions like small business Saturday encourage consumers to shop at locally-owned stores and similar establishments. But why not shop at these places all year round, not just during the holidays? Supporting local businesses helps one connect to the community, builds relationships with the locals and encourages diversity. Also, many shop owners appreciate the traffic since winter can be a slower time of year for them.

Volunteer. Many places need volunteers all year round, especially during the winter when the colder weather can pose more challenges to those in need. Look for an opportunity to volunteer your time at a local facility like a soup kitchen or animal shelter. Unsure of how to find an opportunity? Websites like VolunteerMatch and Idealist provide listings and can be searched by category and location. Volunteering helps mental health by giving us a sense of purpose and decreases feelings of isolation.

Visit friends or family. Winter tends to be the slower time of year for people and chances are you’re not the only one feeling stir crazy. Pay a visit to the friends or family that you’ve been meaning to see.  If an in-person visit isn’t possible, video chatting or a phone call can be another way to connect. Having human contact can help us feel less lonely during this time of year.

If leaving your house isn’t an option, here are some suggestions to keep you from getting stir crazy at home.

Unplug. Being indoors can make it tempting to surf the net, watch YouTube or just be on your phone for hours on end. But increased screen time can have a negative effect on all parts of health, impacting vision, sleep and even our brain chemistry. Do your best to put down the phone, tablet or laptop. If you need help to do so, there are several apps that can lock your device for a certain amount of time.

Host game night. If possible, invite some friends or family over for a game night at your place. Even in the Internet age, board games remain one of the top-selling items of 2018 and a very popular pastime. Playing board games stimulates the mind, reducing stress and improving bonds with friends and family. Or if you prefer going solo, try a jigsaw puzzle. A 1000-piece one is sure to keep you busy for most of the winter.

Clean. As cliché as it might sound, cleaning can be a form of exercise and can burn up to 100 calories depending what activity it is. To help motivation and focus, listen to your favorite music or radio station. Cleaning can come across as boring, but methods like the Kon-Mari method can offer a new perspective on cleaning. For example, when going through your closet, ask yourself, does this item bring me joy? If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t, toss or donate it. All those new clothes from the holidays aren’t going to put themselves away.

Redecorate. The holidays usually involve getting new clothes or items for your house. Take the chance to switch out decorations or try rearranging the furniture in your apartment or house. Redecorating sparks inspiration and can have a calming effect on our mind. All in time for the New Year!   cabin fever

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