For the past week I have been a willing hostage in my house. I have become increasingly disgruntled with winter, and record-breaking negative temperatures do not encourage any fraternizing with this frigid season. I am house-bound and unless the mercury begins to rise, I have no intention of venturing outside.
The recent artic attack on the east coast has probably left many with a common winter ailment – cabin fever. It’s going around this year and more and more people are vunerable to this winter-time condition. There is most likely nothing in your medicine cabinet to help what ails you, so take some advice from Dr. Debbie. I have a prescription for cabin fever.
(side note: I cannot say or type the words, “cabin fever” without breaking into song. I have singing Muppets in my head dancing on the deck of a ship bound for Treasure Island.)
All joking aside, cabin fever can honestly become a depressing condition. Short days, snow covered ground, cloudy skies and bone-chilling cold temperatures can wreak havoc on a person’s psyche. That is why I’ve been thinking about a “winter care kit.”
When I think I’m starting to come down with some sort of illness, I gather items that I might need. I actually clean my bedroom because to me there’s nothing worse than lying in bed in a messy room. Planning ahead helps me when I’m feeling lousy.
It’s the same for cabin fever. Don’t wait until depression sets in or you’re stir-crazy and bouncing off the walls; create your own winter care kit before you are in the full clutches of cabin fever.
Start with a fluffy blanket. The best thing to do on a cold day is to wrap yourself in a cozy blanket, snuggle into your favorite chair and indulge your mind. It’s important to delight yourself but first things first. Get warm and cozy. Make sure you have warm socks, wool if you have them. In case your hands feel a little chilly, fingerless glove are perfect for reading, drawing or typing. If you have an extra heater turn it on and a roaring fire is a must if you have a fire place. A cup of something hot to drink will warm you from the inside, out.
These adorable lace muffatees are 100% wool, hand spun and knitted by Karen at Apple Cart Creations. Find her one of a kind creations at http://applecartcreations.com/
Once you are feeling nice and cozy you need delightful distractions or intentional meditations. Gather these items, fill a basket and you are ready to turn cabin fever into afternoon delight.
A travel magazine or destination book will transport you to the destination of your choice. Caribbean beaches or the French countryside will most defiantly take your mind off the weather outside your door. Don’t just dream. Plan a vacation. It might be a vacation for a date far in the future, but turn your dreaming into travel goal setting.
A journal is a “shrink” between covers. A journal is not only the perfect place to record the fascinating happenings of your life, it is also a place to sort through your own thoughts. Quite often I’m not sure what I’m thinking until I write it down. I also write in my journal as a prayer. My scribbles become my heart poured out before God. He often speaks back and the conversation is recorded for future remembrance and guidance.
Artists are not the only ones who can sketch. My drawing may be only slightly better than stick figures but I like to draw anyway and pretend that I actually have talent. You can also color in one of the countless adult coloring books available. A box of colored pencils and a coloring book will delight and distract for hours.
Be sure to choose background music perfect for a winter’s day. Music is a mood setter. Choose the genre that will set the mood for your afternoon of coziness. Some suggestions are The Piano Guys, the sound track for Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightly. Love the music from Two Steps from Hell; hate the name. You could even create a cabin fever play list with music you’ve pre-chosen for such a time as this.
Reading is the perfect activity for a winter day. Dive into your favorite book. Many of us never have time to sit and enjoy a good book. Now is your chance. Consider Biographies. Learn about amazing people and be inspired by their lives. Pick up a history book. Learn something new. Enrich your mind. Down time can be productive also. Broaden your mind and delight your imagination.
When was the last time you wrote a letter? Handwritten letters are almost an extinct form of communication. Think about the last time you received a letter in your mailbox. I’m sure it was long ago and a complete pleasure. Give that pleasure to someone else. Set the phone aside. Forget texting. Write a letter full of thoughts, information and plain silliness.
While your writing letters write one to yourself. I think it would be fun to write a letter to be opened at this time next year, five years from now or even ten. What do you want your future self to know and remember? While you’re at it, write your children for the future, or write a stack of short sweet notes to give them throughout the year. Hide them in their lunch pail, under their pillow or taped to the bathroom mirror. Do the sweet things that you normally don’t have time for.
The Pleasures of Staying in Touch – Writing Memorable Letters by Jennifer Williams is the perfect inspiration for writing letters. It is filled with excerpts from great letters.
“It is cold tonight, but the thought of you so warm, that I sit by it as a fireside, and am never cold any more. I love to write to you – it gives my heart a holiday and sets the bells to ringing.” Emily Dickenson
“I have just re-read your letter and now my head aches with a kind of sweet excitement. Do you know what I mean? It is what a little girl feels when she has been put to bed at the end of a long sunny day and still sees upon her closed eyelids the image of dancing boughs and flowery bushes.” Katherine Mansfield
Let Jennifer’s book “inspire you to set the ink flowing.”
And don’t forget the food! Although it won’t line up with your New Year’s goals of losing a few pounds, pamper your taste buds with a yummy treat. Emily made her first ever cheese cake. Unfortunately, or should I say fortunately, it wasn’t dairy free and I am. Find her recipe at the end of this post.
Enjoy Your Diagnosis
Cabin fever is not a bad diagnosis. It’s a day that you can fill with relaxation and pleasures. In our go, go, go, lives we don’t leave time for these types of activities. God created the seasons for many reasons. I feel that one of the reasons for winter is to slow down. It’s a season to contemplate and to prepare for the seasons ahead. Don’t bemoan the fact that the weather has trapped you in your house. Seize the moment and enjoy the day.
Now that you are ready for all that winter has to throw at you, it’s time to put those New Year’s goals of courage and kindness into action. Brave the elements and share your winter care kit with a friend. This time of year is especially difficult for the elderly. Due to the risk of falls on snow and ice they venture out even less. It’s great to be prepared for the onset of cabin fever but it’s even more rewarding to share a little medicine with someone else.
I’m working on a new Give-Away – The “Beat the Blues Box” This box is the very best medicine to beat the winter blues. Stay tuned for details. I’m very excited about this contest!! Be sure to subscribe so that you won’t miss it.
Pecan Pie Cheesecake
eat oven to 350°F.
Mix graham crumbs and 4 Tbsp. butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan.
Beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add 3 eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each; until just blended. Pour over crust.
Bake 30 min. Meanwhile, mix remaining sugar and butter until blended. Beat in remaining eggs and corn syrup; stir in nuts. Remove cheesecake from oven; gently spoon nut mixture over cheesecake. Return to oven.
Bake 40 min. or until nut mixture is set. Cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.