Tackling Cabin Fever
The concept of cabin fever dates from the early 1900s in New England when people had to stay close to home and primarily indoors due to winter weather. While it's not a real psychological disorder, the feelings tied to it can be: frustration, irritability, isolation, sadness, depression and even hopelessness. Add to that, having the kids home from school, having to work remotely from home, and other bi-products of the COVID-19 pandemic, these feelings can leave us tired and worn down. And the isolation from family, friends and co-workers hits the extroverts among us especially hard.
But we don't need to just sit and take it. The best way to address it is to get proactive and find new ways to be creative within our lives.
Kristen Rogers of CNN came up with a simple formula that everyone can use to build their own plan to confront Cabin Fever:
- Establish a routine
- Mix up your space a bit
- Stay physically and mentally active
- Connect with others
- Establish some time for yourself
- Come to terms with discomfort
We're going to take a look at a few things that are available to Frankln area residents to build their strategy to overcome cabin fever.
Mix Up Your Space
This can be as simple as moving your furniture around. Or adding something new like colorful throw pillows, rugs, slip covers or drapes. It may involve simple DIY projects like painting or wallpapering a room.
You can also get a headstart on spring cleaning. Where are those areas in your home you never seem to get to? Garage, closets, attic or basement? You can start organizing and decluttering those spaces. What did you forget you had that is useful or an interesting accent piece? What do you no longer need that you could donate or sell online?
While you're at it, it would also be a good time to create or update a home inventory of your possessions. An inventory document is extremely valuable should you ever have a loss from fire or storm damage. It will make the claims process go faster and smoother.
It can also be a good time to plan for major home improvements for when the pandemic ends. You can research designs, materials, and decorating ideas. You can research local contractors. And you can put together a budget so you can save for your home facelift. Selling off unused items can help finance smaller projects. There are lots of good YouTube videos that will provide ideas and DIY how to information. Involve the whole family in the planning and some of the projects.
Stay Physically Active
Franklin is the site of the Franklin State Forest which provides a wonderful resource for outdoor winter activities. Covering over 843 acres, Franklin State Forest is a minimally developed piece of land. The forest offers miles of weaving trails and fire roads. Trails are open for hiking, mountain biking, snow shoeing, and cross-country skiing. Additionally there is a designated loop for off-roading. Access to the Southern New England Trunkline Trail is available through the forest as well. For more info and trail maps go to mass.gov.
Organizing a hike with family or friends plus the family dog can provide exercise and escape from the confines of your house. Outdoor activity has the advantage of being able to socially distance in the most well ventilated space available. Make this a routine weekly outing and it can provide the opportunity to socialize safely and something to look forward to during the week.
Connect with others
Technology has been the great savior during this pandemic. It has allowed people to work remotely from home and for students to continue learning through online instruction. And while a Zoom family event can't replace its in-person counterpart, with creative planning it can still be fun, informative, and keep those bonds in tact.
How about forming a Zoom book club with like minded friends and relatives? This will increase your knowledge and expand your outlook while challenging you to spend more individual quiet time reading.
How about looking into your ancestry as a group with other family members? Get relatives to share family photos and memories they have found as part of a group project. Digitize the images so that all family members near and far can share their heritage through a family website.
Volunteering for local causes can also allow you to connect with others. For example, get involved with a local animal shelter. Maybe you could set up a fund raiser or a collection drive for food and items that the shelter needs to care for the animals. You can also volunteer time to help clean cages, groom or walk the animals.
You can also help out with local food drives or the distribution of food to shut ins and seniors through programs like Meals on Wheels. Choose organizations that adhere to the CDC safety guidelines so that you can more safely participate. Most non-profit websites recruiting volunteers have their guidelines posted.
Take up a new hobby
Finding a new hobby that tests your creativity is a great way to tackle boredom. And there are a myriad of YouTube and other online sites to show how it's done. Whether it is knitting or crocheting, woodworking projects, drawing or painting, there is something for everyone. Crafts are something that can involve the whole family. Several popular sites include todaysparent.com and lookwerelearning.com.
Even cooking can be an online adventure, that could end up producing a variety of new, healthy foods to share with the family. You can sign up for an online cooking class in all sorts of ethnic varieties from Italian to Asian to African to Middle Eastern. Involve the kids in researching the history and culture of the places where the food comes from. Have them create themed decorations for the table when it's served. Baking is also an activity where kids can be involved hands-on in creating a special addition to the family meal.
And finally, consider taking up scrapbooking. In the process of decluttering, you're bound to uncover boxes and envelopes of old photos. A great way to preserve these family heirlooms is through scrapbooking using materials that preserve the original photos and documents. This will allow for important pieces of family history to live on for generations. Scrapbooks also make great personal gifts for birthdays, major anniversaries and other memorable occasions.
We care about our community. The Franklin area offers many resources for residents. Visit the town website for more information. You can also find a COVID-19 portal there for the latest information.
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