When winter arrives each year, it’s natural for people to spend more time indoors and out of the bitter cold. At first, spending more time in a well-heated home with your loved ones may seem cozy. But after a few weeks, you may begin to notice feelings of irritation, restlessness, or even sadness. If this happens to you and your family members, cabin fever is the likely culprit.
Unlike a virus or other contagious illness, cabin fever is largely psychological. It can be aptly described as increased agitation and negativity due to being confined indoors for long periods. The good news is that it’s only temporary, and the symptoms usually dissipate once you’re no longer cooped up indoors. To help you enjoy the colder months more fully, here are six ways you can prevent cabin fever this winter.
1. Hit The Hills
In snowy climates, sledding is a fun wintertime activity that can help your family break free from mundane indoor routines. When you notice your kids bickering more frequently, break out the snow clothes and head to your favorite sledding hill. Within minutes, you’ll all be laughing and thoroughly enjoying your time together.
If you have things to do at home and you’d rather send your kids out to play without you, that’s OK. Adults are often better at staving off cabin fever than children. You may be able to maintain good mental health even if you stay indoors more frequently than your kids. To keep track of your children when they’re out playing, consider giving each one a kids smart watch. These devices are equipped with active GPS tracking so you know where your little adventurers are at all times.
2. Start A New Hobby
When you’re stuck indoors doing the same things every day, you’re bound to go a little stir-crazy. During inclement winter weather when you don’t want to be outside, start a new hobby. Encourage family members to think of a skill they’ve always wanted to master, then get busy learning it. Alternatively, you can renew your love for an old hobby you haven’t engaged in for a while.
There are so many fun things you can do indoors. Ideas include jewelry making, sewing, knitting, weight training, and learning a language or musical instrument. If you want to participate in the same hobby as a family, consider putting together a puzzle or making crafts. Baking is another fun family-friendly activity you can do whenever you’re feeling bored.
3. Schedule A Family “Date Night”
Parents often go out for dates periodically to get away from the house and keep their romance alive. But during the winter, when kids are going a bit nuts, it can be helpful to schedule a family date night as well. Even if you feel like you’re already spending too much time together, give family date night a chance. You may discover that the kids are better behaved and actually like each other after doing something fun together.
Family date nights can be as simple or as involved as you want. Some ideas include going to dinner and a movie, competing in a friendly game of bowling, and going ice skating. You may also want to incorporate service-oriented activities into your family date nights.
Your family will create fond memories participating in food drives, serving at soup kitchens, or dropping off gifts at hospitals. Check with these locations first to learn of any rules or age restrictions they may have for volunteers.
4. Host A Family Talent Show
On days when you’re snowed in, keep the mood light and avoid cabin fever by hosting a family talent show. You can go all-out with fancy costumes and hand-made “awards” or keep things casual and low-key. Encourage each member of the family to come up with some sort of talent to share. Talents can be as simple as snapping fingers or as advanced as playing concert piano.
To encourage full participation, establish some rules before the show begins. Make it clear that there’s no heckling allowed and that every talent is to be cheered and celebrated. You may also want to set a time limit for each act so the show doesn’t go on for hours. These rules will help ensure your family talent show is as uplifting, encouraging, and enjoyable as possible.
5. Have A Snowman-Building Contest
Snowstorms might make it harder to get around, but they’re great for building snowmen. In the spirit of friendly-family competition, have a snowman-building contest when the snow is the right consistency. This is a quick way to get rid of the winter blues and expend pent-up energy in a creative way.
Divide family members into two or more teams and build the biggest, funniest, or most unusual snowmen you can. Have a non-biased third party, such as a neighbor, declare the winning entry. Afterward, retreat inside to warm up and sip hot cocoa while watching a favorite movie.
6. Dust Off Your Board Games
Staying indoors in the winter doesn’t have to lead to cabin fever. In fact, wintertime can become a favorite time of the year when you focus on building family bonds. If you notice that you and your children are becoming snappier with each other, break out the board games. A well-timed family game night can work wonders for everyone’s mood.
Some family board game classics include Scrabble, Monopoly, Guess Who, and Chutes and Ladders. Card games such as UNO and Go Fish are also great go-to options. Choose age-appropriate games so every member of your family can get involved and have fun.
Winter is often associated with cabin fever, but it doesn’t have to be. To keep tempers low and spirits high, use these ideas to make this winter the best one ever for your family.
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