It’s Cabin Fever, by Kathy Smith

There’s a terrible disease going around right now. No, it’s not the cough, colds or flu that everyone seems to have. No, it’s worse—it’s cabin fever!  This dreaded sickness shows up about this time every year in northeastern Ohio and exhibits symptoms such as boredom, grouchiness, restlessness and mainly the feeling that spring can’t get here soon enough.

Is anyone in your household suffering from this awful problem?

The first thing we all need to do is open up the curtains or shades and let in more light. Our poor brains don’t get enough light during winter and that’s what gets cabin fever started.  Next we need to call, write or visit a friend or relative. You’ve been meaning to do it but time just gets away from all of us. Do it right now before it’s too late. You never know when a call or a card might make a huge difference in someone’s day. And when your friend or aunt finishes telling you all of their problems, you’ll be glad you’re you and that’s a step toward getting rid of cabin fever.

My favorite cabin fever cure is to read. What about starting to read that book you’ve been thinking about for ages but never had the time?  Well, now you have the time. Once you become involved in the book,you’re transported to other places and times all without leaving your home.  You can collect books from yard sales, library book sales or even from co-workers who are finished with some or cleaning their bookshelves.

Something else that might help get rid of cabin fever is to start a new hobby or learn something new. There are so many possibilities—-a language, how to dry flowers, identifying the birds you are feeding or learning how to draw or paint. There are tons of “How-To” books at the library or bookstores and of course if you have a computer you can learn how to do everything on line. Make it something that you are really interested in and there simply won’t be time to catch the terrible cabin fever bug.

If you are able, a great way to beat cabin fever is to get moving. It could be running, jogging, dancing, exercising or just walking.  Whatever you prefer or whatever fits into your lifestyle, that’s what you should do. At first you might have to make yourself get out and walk but eventually you’ll be looking forward to taking your daily walk and noticing all the sights and sounds on your way. Moving helps exercise your body and your mind.  For me, cleaning a drawer or closet at this time of year is so satisfying. And even though no one can see it, I know it is now organized and that’s good! How about sorting through the boxes of papers and miscellaneous stuff that has accumulated in the spare room? Or you could even organize all the folders in the file cabinet.  And in 6 months when your husband says “Where’s the instruction booklet for the skid steer ?”, you wouldn’t have to spend all day looking for it.

If you really want to keep the cabin fever bug away try volunteering for an organization such as your church, school, Girl Scouts, BoyScouts, 4-H or any other civic group. By giving of yourself, you’ll be rewarded immensely—besides you’ll be so busy the cabin fever bug won’t stand a chance at your house.

Kathy Smith is a farm wife from Wayne Township. She writes for the Ashtabula County Farm Bureau.