Most of the country is snowed in or slowed down again this weekend by one of the coldest, whitest winters in years. Snow is piled high and deep or melting into a mushy mess, and taking everyone’s good mood with it. It’s natural to feel a bit down; Christmas is long gone, the sweet fun of Valentine’s may still be on our lips, but the fear it (and the 5 pounds we gained over the holidays) will stay forever on our hips may be making us feel even more sluggish and surly.
Sounds dreadful, but it truly doesn’t have to be. Don’t let cabin fever make you feel trapped. Here are 6 quick tips for out-foxing the effects of cabin fever, and for using cabin fever to light your fire and put you in a much better mood.
- Take cozy to a whole new level.
- Create a home spa atmosphere for yourself. Light some candles, pour some bubbly and luxuriate in a softly scented, warm tub overflowing with foam.
- Spend time scrubbing, rubbing, and moisturizing! Use your best body washes and creams to wash away and soften your stress.
- Then put on your most delicate or coziest jammies and slip into bed beside the one you love or with your favorite book or movie.
- If you have a guest room, why not use it? Be your own guest and treat yourself to chocolates, cloth napkins, special coffees or teas – anything or everything that makes you feel you are relaxing in a fancy hotel. It’s an inexpensive, surefire way to lift your spirits.
- Eat with the ones you love.
- Plan a picnic on the living room floor with your spouse, significant other or family. Use a big old blanket, table cloth or even beach towels to create a soft spot for to enjoy sandwiches of all sizes, pizza or whatever goodies make you smile.
- Use paper plates and plastic silverware to reduce the clean-up, but make sure to include some sort-of special presentation pieces you will all remember. Serve the pizza off stacks of books piled high in the center of your gathering, line the edges of the blanket with pillows – Kasbah style and/or make up games such as eating the food without touching it with your hands! (If you’re worried about messes and spills, place a plastic shower curtain under the blankets.)
- Make everyone wear costumes or their bathing suits! Get silly, make it fun and enjoy each other’s company.
- If you are alone, I hope you are still eating with someone you love! Plan an equally special evening, by eating off fine china with a glass of wine on the side. (A sweet friend did just that recently, and when she shared her precious moment on Facebook, we all got to enjoy the fun.)
- Tackle a project.
- Clean the closet, scrub the floor, organize your drawers, books, photos, crafts. This is the perfect time to finish whatever you’ve been meaning to start! The sense of accomplishment you’ll get will not only raise your happiness levels, it can spur you on to other tasks.
- If it is tough getting started, buy yourself something special to help with your task: cute and colorful rubber gloves, organizing baskets or trays – anything that doesn’t bust your budget, but makes the task a bit more appealing.
- Embrace the cold.
- I know of a couple, who were planning on a flight to Florida that was waylaid by cancellations here, there and everywhere. Instead of basking in the sun, they quickly shifted gears and headed for a nearby outdoor ice festival in the cold climes they call home. They plan to top it off with a little outlet shopping, and maybe a lunch of hot soup or a cup of rich, hot chocolate at one of the small town shops or cafés at the festival. They found a way to turn a detour into a right turn!
- Plan a vacation.
- Did you know detailed planning at least a month in advance can increase the level of happiness your vacation brings you, and that size really doesn’t matter?
- A recent study from the Netherlands was shared on the New York Times blog . . . “‘The study didn’t find any relationship between the length of the vacation and overall happiness. Since most of the happiness boost comes from planning and anticipating a vacation, the study suggests that people may get more out of several small trips a year than one big vacation, Mr. Nawijn said. ‘The practical lesson for an individual is that you derive most of your happiness from anticipating the holiday trip,’ he said.”
- So pull out the maps, go online and create the vacation of your dreams – real or imagined. Either way you will raise your spirits and learn something new in the process.
- Invite someone in or out!
- If you are feeling a bit down, chances are others are around you are feeling the same. Altruistic acts make everyone feel better.
- Make a call, send an email or post on someone’s FB page to let them know you are thinking of them.
- If you are not completely snowed in, ask them to coffee at your place or at the corner coffee shop. Lunch and dinner are good too, but even the smallest gesture can make a difference.
- Bring along a sweet treat and they will remember your kindness for weeks, months and maybe even years to come.
Whatever you do in the weeks ahead, dive into it and be creative. Even if you decide to do nothing more than perfect your favorite couch potato position, give yourself permission to do it and go forth with gusto! By merely making it your plan, you increase the likelihood that you will enjoy it and reduce the chance of lingering regrets or recriminations.
PS Here’s a bonus tip for an instant change of attitude. Click here to get happy with Pharrell Williams’ Happy (Official Music Video). The video was shared by a fun friend on FB, and it has me dancing inside and out!