It’s the middle of winter. If you’re in the Midwest in the United States, you are probably experiencing a flip flop between sub-zero degree weather, and 32-degree F ice storms. One minute there is beautiful snow, but the next it’s too cold to send the kids outside to enjoy it. Then the next minute, it’s raining and the snow in your backyard is melting and looks like an ice rink in urgent need of a Zamboni. Part of you wants to stay indoors and hide, but a part of you wants to have a normal winter filled with sledding, snowmen, and cross-country skiing. Well, at least I do!
Are you looking for ways to beat cabin fever? Here are some ideas that can help. It’s not that you can’t think of ideas under normal circumstances…it’s that if you have cabin fever now, you might not be able to think clearly at the moment!
- Get your mail every day. Walk outside, breathe the fresh air. Face the sun. Even if you live somewhere that has -40F weather, you can survive a 20-second walk to your mailbox if you bundle up. If you have a quarter mile long driveway, then walk fast! If you have to go to the post office to get your mail, go as often as you can to have an excuse to leave the house.
- Take your kids to the library. If there are any children’s programs (e.g., story time, homeschool robotics event), then try to attend.
- Get a one-day pass for a gym (if you don’t have a membership). Most gyms have a one-day pass for visitors. Get some exercise. Swim with the kids. Play basketball or soccer with the kids, if there is open gym. If you have a gym membership, use it one day this week.
- Invite a homeschooling family over for a visit during the daytime. Both of you will be blessed by having a chance to see each other. Serve coffee or tea for adults, and lemonade for the kids.
- Host a “Summer Party.” One winter, when we had blizzard after blizzard, followed by temperatures regularly in the negative digits, my husband and I were inspired. We hosted a Summer Party for our friends. My husband grilled outside. We had brats, hot dogs, chips, fruit salad and lemonade. We dressed our girls in sun dresses and boys in shorts and t-shirts. It was a lot of fun!
- Go out to a Children’s Museum–or any museum! Art, history, aviation, etc. Even if it’s a museum that your kids are too young for, just go anyway. It’s winter, and you need something to do. Who knows? Maybe you will find a new favorite museum. Maybe you will find a museum you thought would be boring for your kids, but you will find out it actually has some kid-friendly exhibits.
- Host a movie night at your house. Choose a movie for the children. The adults can either watch the movie with the kids, or set up a space to enjoy adult conversation with your friends (e.g., if you’re blessed to have a kitchen or dining room far enough away from the sound of the movie). Make it simple. Have the movie start after dinner time (e.g., 6:30pm). Serve a simple dessert midway through the movie for all. If you have a separate space to chat with your friends, serve something simple, such as salsa and tortilla chips.
- Make a pilgrimage. Visit the Cathedral in your area during the daytime. Visit a shrine that is within an hour’s drive (if there is one). Visit a nearby church you have never seen before. Catholic churches are almost always open during the daytime. If it’s the daytime and it is locked, go to the nearby parish office and ask if you could go in and pray.
- If it’s above 20 degrees F, remind yourself that you will not freeze if you stay outside for more than 10-minutes. Really. Even if you live in “the South.” Dress in layers, winter coat, hat, and gloves. Drink a hot drink (e.g., coffee or hot cocoa), and then walk briskly down your street. Fresh air and exercise really help overcome cabin fever.
- Take some vitamin D. Go on Amazon, find a vitamin D vitamin with high reviews and order it. Start taking it in the morning (I should say, “check with your doctor”).
- After the next snowfall, go sledding with your kids within 24-hours. Even if it means postponing school work for half a day, enjoy the outdoors and declare a “Snow Day.” Homeschool kids should get to have a snow day every now and then. If you live where there are no hills, plan to drive somewhere with a hill; if you live in the Great Plains, then pile up snow to make a hill. If you live where there is no snow ever (which is nearly impossible for me to imagine, but I know such places exist), maybe you could plan to take a “Sun Day.” The next time it’s an unusually warm, bright sunny day, cancel school and go to a playground.
- Organize a field trip with your homeschooling friends. Here are some good places to consider:
- Fire station tour.
- Planetarium show.
- Play or musical. Look for a play or musical that offer show times for school groups during the day.
- Concert. Look if any local orchestras or choirs that have a concert during the daytime for school groups. Check out local colleges.
I hope these ideas have inspired you to try to “beat” cabin fever. Add some fun into your week, and make the best of what might feel like a long winter. Winter can be quite fun, with a little planning to enjoy it!