How to Fend Off Cabin Fever

January 12th, 2016 Winter decorating

Winter is in full swing, and what might have seemed cozy around Christmastime now seems confining. Daylight is in short supply, the outside world is a slushy wasteland, and you’re inside feeling cooped up, irritable, lethargic and depressed.

Welcome to the world of cabin fever.

Cabin fever may not be a psychiatric diagnosis, but it is a real thing, clinical psychologist Joel Klapow told TIME magazine in 2014.


“Basically, it’s your mind’s way of telling you that the environment you are in is less than optimal for normal functioning,” he said. “It’s when you’re in a space of restricted freedom for a period of time that you can no longer tolerate.”

At Piper Classics, we want the people who enjoy our country décor to be happy with their surroundings, and that can’t happen if you feel boxed in by winter weather. That’s why we’ve put together these tips for dealing with cabin fever this season.

1. Change your diet

Avoid high carb, high fat foods, which can make you feel even more inactive. Instead, seek out lean proteins that contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids. These can boost your mood, and often contain B12 and vitamin D, which help regulate your emotions.

2. Get outside

By the third snow day in a row, you’re ready to bundle your kids up so they can go outside and burn off some energy. Why not do the same? As long as it’s not dangerously cold, some time in the sun – even if it’s just touching your face – will give you access to Vitamin D, which will boost your mood. Be sure to wear a hat and gloves, and to dress in layers.

3. Get regular exercise

If it’s early January, you might have a “Get in shape” New Year’s resolution hanging over your head. This is a good opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: you can stick to the resolution, and improve your mood. Don’t feel like you need to go to the gym. Anything you to do keep your heart rate up for 30 minutes a day will help your mood.

4. Have a family game night

Get your kids – and yourself – away from computer/tablet/phone screens for a few hours and bond over some board games. Families with younger children might enjoy games like Candyland or Chutes and Ladders, while older kids will go for things such as Risk, Trivial Pursuit or Clue.

5. Throw a party

While it was nice to bond with your family over a marathon game of Monopoly, you might want to interact with other people. So consider planning a small party for friends or neighbors. Planning and preparation will keep you active and help pass the time. Be sure to read some of our previous blog posts about entertaining to get some ideas.

6. Change your décor

Sometimes, all it takes to make your surroundings feel different is a new look. Hang some new curtains, put up some new artwork, or simply rearrange your furniture.

7. Take up an indoor hobby

Being forced inside by cold weather can give you time to catch up on work or tackle a home improvement project you’ve been putting off. But you’ve also been given a chance to try out a new hobby: knit a sweater, build a birdhouse, or knock out the first chapter of the novel that’s been rattling around in your head for the last year.

8. Avoid binge-watching.

Catching an entire season of the latest Netflix or Amazon series might seem tempting while you’re snowed in, but activities that don’t engage the brain and body could leave you still feeling depressed.

9. Open the shades

Like we said above, one of the toughest things about this time of year is how scarce daylight seems. (But take heart: the shortest days are always behind us as of December 21). Take advantage of what little light there is by keeping your shades open during the day. You’ll not only make your surroundings feel brighter, you’ll help warm your house.

10. Think spring

We don’t just mean “Keep a positive attitude!” (Although that’s important too). Think about what you want to do when the snow melts and thing warm up: trips you want to take, what you want to plant in your garden this year, or spring décor ideas. So think spring. Cabin fever doesn’t last, but you will.