Cabin Fever: 7 Ways to Keep from Going Stir Crazy

car buried in snow with tree

The car is buried and it’s still snowing!

If you are anywhere in the United States mid-Atlantic region as of the writing of this post, you’re probably stuck inside as what the forecasters are calling a snow hurricane dumps buckets of snow and wind on your area. While cabin fever is not something that I’ve ever suffered (my home is my happy place and there’s always plenty to do inside for me especially if the power stays on), I’ve known plenty of others who find being stuck in the house nearly unbearable.

So what can you do to combat cabin fever–that feeling like you need to get out of the house no matter how dangerous or ill-advised it might be?FullSizeRender (6)

Try These Strategies for Avoiding Cabin Fever

    1. Watch Television or Movies – This is a go-to for many people, but after a few hours, it can cause you to feel even more antsy as watching something is such a passive activity. Start with this one and move on to another in the list when the program you are watching stops holding your attention.
    2. Cooking or Baking – If you’re like most folks in my area, you made sure to get your bread, milk, and toilet paper before the flakes started to fly. Those are Maryland staples during a snowstorm and the empty grocery store shelves prove it. I baked my way through a cold Alaskan winter to stave off cabin fever. I became an
      Gluten Free Oatmeal Apple Crisp

      Oatmeal apple crisp ready to go in the oven.

      excellent bread baker during that time. There’s nothing quite like the smell of rising dough and freshly baked bread when you’re stuck inside. That goes for any baked goods for that matter. There’s something about those scents that make your home feel more inviting and that’ll help you feel more relaxed while you’re hunkered down inside. It doesn’t hurt to have the oven on either for that little extra bit of warmth. While I’m unable to eat the bread that I used to bake, I’m looking forward to putting a batch of my oatmeal apple crisp in the oven later. I use a slightly modified version of the linked to recipe. Not sure what to make with what you have on hand, set up a free account on Supercook and enter your ingredients. They’ll find matching recipes for you online.

    3. Cat enjoying laying on rag rug

      Murphy and his favorite rag rug.

      Crafts – Even if you’re not a crafty person, there are crafts anyone can do. Some require having materials on hand before you get snowed in, but you’d be surprised with how many you can make by repurposing things from around the house. Check out Pinterest for all kinds of crafty ideas or maybe turn those old worn out clothes, sheets, or fabric of any kind into a rag rug? This is a great way to clean out your closets AND make good use of

      Rag rug tool made with a piece of wire hanger and duct tape.

      Rag rug tool made with a piece of wire hanger and duct tape.

      clothes that are beyond repair and would end up in the trash because they’re too full of holes and stains to donate. These are my favorite rag rug making instructions because they don’t require any special equipment. Some people call this a toothbrush rug, but I made my rag rug tool out of a bent piece of wire coat hanger and duct tape.

    4. Games/Cards – If your cabin fever is more the result of someone stuck inside with you driving you batty, then how about pulling out those old board games or a deck of cards? That gets everyone playing together (hopefully nicely) and it can occupy a group of people for hours at a time. Take the time to learn a new card game. Do a web search and you can find pages of new card games. Stuck inside by yourself? There are lots of different ways to play solitaire.
    5. Finish A Home Project – Have you been meaning to finish hanging that shelf, caulking the bathroom tub, or tightening the loose knobs on the kitchen cupboards? Now’s the time.
    6. Escape in Your Mind – Is that antsy feeling creeping up inside you? Do you have to get out at all costs no matter how dangerous? Pick up a book and let your mind go somewhere else if your body can’t. Don’t have a book at hand (really???) you can download one from the library through programs like Overdrive. Check with your local library website to see if they participate. You can borrow a book and mentally travel the world without ever leaving the house.
    7. Snow Cream, Adult Style – Cabin fever still eating you up inside? Maybe you need a drink to calm your nerves. Put a twist on snow cream by boozing up this classic children’s snowstorm treat. Drunken snow cream can be made many ways. If you don’t have Irish Cream, consider Kahlua, schnapps (buttershots is nummy), cream de cacao, or amaretto. Even flavored vodka is tasty. The upside to this is if you eat enough of it, you’ll no longer give a damn about being stuck inside.

Best of luck to all of you who are trying to ride out this blizzard.

What do you do to stave off cabin fever? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!


Taking Some Time

Great Oak FallI’ve been a busy beaver over the summer, and contrary to the past summers of nearly a decade, the busy has been for me.  I need to take a deep breath every time I think of spending the time on me.  It’s something we all need to do, but what our western world often considers selfish.

On the first day of fall as I notice the beginnings of color change on the tree outside my window , I realize it has been a good summer.

I’m excited for fall.  It makes me feel hopeful.  There’s something about nature putting itself to bed for the winter that is so calming.  As an introvert, drawing inward is more my speed and fall is all about gathering your resources to you to process over the long winter sleep.  Then come spring, what issues forth from inside you, isn’t just a copy of what you shed in the fall, but is something entirely new.

I’ve finished the rough drafts of two books as the heat blazed outside–the fiction novel that I chronicled on this site with word counts, and a nonfiction book about dealing with stress.  I’ll be self-publishing the nonfiction book on Amazon and elsewhere sometime in November.  I’m getting the rough draft back from early readers now and it’ll be off to a professional editor in the next week or two.

The novel still needs a lot of work, mostly regarding structure, which is the aspect of my writing that I have to fight the hardest for each time I sit down to write.  So significant rewrites and restructuring are in the cards before I can bring it to light.  I’m hopeful about publishing it next year.

My garden grew this summer for the first time in ages because I actually had the time to tend to it.  I’m still getting tomatoes, green beans, and both banana and bell peppers, as well as numerous herbs.

As I cultivated my physical garden this year, I also cultivated my creative garden.  Growth has been all around me and not feeling stagnant anymore was priceless.   My life has been simpler and the quiet and contemplation has done me worlds of good.

I still have a lot of work to do and the learning is never over, but wouldn’t the world be a less interesting place if we weren’t always students of its intricacies?

Breaking 50,000 Words

Kelly in the Trees

Augustfest in Palmer, Alaska

I just past 50,000 words in my quest to birth a novel. I’ll take any victory along the way. Time to celebrate!

Throwback Thursday–Infrared Bed

Infrared Bed

I had an assignment during a creative photography class that gave a few specific parameters. The assignment was to do a photographic series using infrared film that could be titled, “Infrared Bed”. This is the first photograph from that series.  The truck bed is linked with camping gear in preparation for a journey.


Throwback Thursday–What’re You Lookin’ At?

You looking at me?

You looking at me? Alaska Highway, Yukon Territory, Canada, during the month of May.

Throwback Thursday-Frozen in Time (A Family Snapshot)

Lorraine,Lou,andMichelle San Francisco 77

I thought I’d change gears a bit here and show a bit of my family history.  Say hello to my mother, father, and me in San Francisco, California in 1977.  (I’m the cute one in the middle.)  I have to give my Granny props for this picture as she was the photographer.  Granny died about 15 years ago and my father died in 2013.  My mother is still around and mothering, thank goodness.  It was unexpectedly cold in San Francisco that summer day in case you can’t tell.  My father didn’t bring a coat with him when he flew out to meet us.  Later, when we were standing near the shore overlooking Alcatraz, he wore one of my baby blankets around his shoulders.  Here was this big burly guy wearing a pink and blue crocheted blanket around his shoulders.  That was one of the great images burned in my brain during my childhood.  Nearly 20 years later, that same blanket was wrapped around a much-loved dog when we had to lay her to rest.  The things you remember…

Throwback Thursday — Iced Tree


Another in the series of photos from film that I post on Thursdays.  With the ice and snow storms in the mid-Atlantic this week, I thought this photograph was appropriate.  It was taken in Shenandoah National Park on Halloween many years ago. The ice only formed in the higher elevations and driving was a bit nerve wracking through those parts of Skyline Drive.  I love the black, white, and red in this image.

Throwback Thursday–Mt. McKinley, Denali National Park, Alaska

Denali Mt. McKinley Alaska

It’s rare to see Mt. McKinley not socked in by clouds. When I lived in Alaska, my parents came to visit for a week and we drove to Fairbanks from Anchorage on May 1, when this photo was taken. We stopped in Talkeetna for a bit and were surprised to get such a good view of Mt. McKinley.

Throwback Thursday–Ice Archer

International Ice Carving Competition, Anchorage, Alaska, 1997

International Ice Carving Competition, Anchorage, Alaska, 1997

Throwback Thursday–Mallard Pair on the Ice

Mallard Pair 2

It’s snowing here in my part of the mystical Mid-Atlantic today. We’re not expecting more than flurries, but I thought I’d throwback to a mallard pair that I photographed on the ice near Loreley Beach in White Marsh, Maryland many years ago. I always liked their posture–how they have their backs to each other, and the way the hazy reflections on the watery thin ice lead you into the image.