What to do when Cabin Fever Strikes

It comes as to no surprise that people tend to pack on the pounds come winter. Life naturally slows down with the earlier onset of dusk and food-centric holidays like Christmas and New Year tempt people into eating more than their wont. This is probably why clinics and hospitals see a spike in weight loss procedures and tummy tucks and dieticians get overwhelmed with a flood of clients after the holidays. Those who think ahead actually schedule procedures like gastric balloon before the holidays rope them into gorging on calorie-rich meals.

Cabin fever is also another culprit that contributes to that hopelessly expanding waistline. As temperatures drop and daylight becomes scarce, people tend to retreat to the warmth of their homes and lack the motivation to face the cold. This can result in an extended sedentary lifestyle and, coupled with the need to eat more in winter, it’s no wonder that numbers climb on that dreaded scale during the long, dark winter months.

What is cabin fever exactly? Well, cabin fever is a popular idiomatic expression to describe being stuck or isolated in a building for an extended period of time. Depending on the length of isolation, some common symptoms that may manifest include:

  • Restlessness
  • Lethargy and frequent napping
  • Fluctuating weight
  • Food cravings
  • Lack of patience
  • Lack of motivation

So what can you do to combat cabin fever? Try the following:

Open Those Shades

If the weather prohibits you from going outside but you’re feeling the walls close in on you, open all the curtains and shades in your home to let in as much natural light as possible. Vitamin D is your friend in winter as it helps your body feel healthy and happy, so try doing your indoor activity near or in front of a window to soak up those rays.

Get out of the House…If You Can

If you’re not snowed in and it’s not bitterly cold, take a walk outside! It can be a quick walk around the block or even around your house if the temperatures are harsh, or a more leisurely stroll down the street if you’re bundled up well. Exposure to the sun helps your body to regulate its normal cycles and exercise, however little, helps your body release endorphins, creating a natural high that will help put a smile on your face and help you recharge.

Put Pen to Paper

Mental health is just as important as physical health but it’s the one that people tend to neglect. If you’re housebound and unable to leave due to bad weather, try journaling to purge yourself of any negative thoughts. Writing requires focus and concentration and once you get into it, it’s easy to lose yourself in those blank pages full of potential for stories and adventure.

Play Tetris with Your Furniture

You’ve been snowed in for days with no end in sight and you’re all but clawing at the walls for something to do. Why not rearrange your furniture or switch up the artwork on your walls to breathe new life into the rooms in your home? Not only will this activity help beat the claustrophobia of being indoors for an extended period of time but it also counts as exercise, something people tend to slack off on during winter.

Set Goals

Maintain your motivation and concentration levels by setting yourself daily and weekly goals to stave off the urge to sit in front of the TV or computer to zone out over a movie or game. Tracking your status to completion for each goal will help keep cabin fever at bay but make sure to keep your goals reasonable and doable, and be sure to reward yourself for each completed goal.

In conclusion, if you find yourself stuck indoors during the darker, colder winter months, whether by choice or due to bad weather, try the above “life hacks” to keep that pesky cabin fever at bay. There’s no harm in vegging out in front of the TV, but remember to balance this out with a more active endeavor in order to keep healthy both physically and mentally.


About the author

Medical Travel is the Czech Republic's leading medical tourism agency. With a wealth of experience in supporting international patients throughout their treatment journey, they offer a range of high quality, affordable medical services in the fields of weight loss surgery, cosmetic surgery, infertility treatment and stem cell treatment.

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