Have you seen the movie The Shining or read the Stephen King novel? If so, you know exactly what cabin fever can do to a person. If you haven’t seen The Shining, you should. It’s a classic and brilliantly made movie. But I digress. The Shining follows author Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson, his wife and young son as they take a winter caretaker position at an isolated mountain retreat called the Overlook Hotel. Heavy snow prevents the family from getting out and all kinds of bad things happen—primarily Jack’s quick descent into complete violent madness.
Stuart Ullman: Physically, it’s not a very demanding job. The only thing that can get a bit trying up here during the winter is, uh, a tremendous sense of isolation. Jack Torrance: Well, that just happens to be exactly what I’m looking for. I’m outlining a new writing project and, uh, five months of peace is just what I want. Ullman: That’s very good, Jack, because for some people, solitude and isolation can, of itself, become a problem. -From The Shining
Though not a diagnosable condition, cabin fever is commonly used to describe the feelings of boredom, irritably, restlessness and claustrophobia one gets when cooped up inside for too long. Cabin fever may also come about if you spend too long in an isolated place—even you if you venture outside daily. It can also cause anxiety, excessive sleeping, anger, forgetfulness, anxiety, impatience, and stress.
Severe winter weather can keep you from leaving the house—roads are blocked and impassable and places are closed. Being stuck without electricity makes it even worse. I am going to assume you have been a loyal reader and followed all 24 days so far of preparing for winter weather, so I don’t need to remind you to stock up on food, water, lights and batteries. However, I will tell you that you need to add entertainment to your preparations to prevent and cure cabin fever.
- Get outside! Go snowshoeing, take a short walk, build a snowman or bird watch. Do something that reconnects you with nature and get you out in the sunshine. Don’t forget to bundle up appropriately and know how to prevent hypothermia.
- Stock up on books, cards, dice and board games. One of my favorite group games is Cards Against Humanity. To save money, download and make your own. For a family-friendly version, buy Apples to Apples.
- Eat well.
- Play an epic game of Monopoly all the way through.
- Make your own large-scale game for young ones. There are no limits besides your family’s own creativity.
- Experiment with hot chocolate recipes.
- Open the blinds, curtains and shades on sunny days to let natural light in.
- Play Airsoft games.
- Practice drawing and self-defense drills with the LaserLyte target trainer.
- Thoroughly clean your guns.
- Reload ammo.
How do you cure cabin fever? Share it with us in the comment section.