Coping with Cabin Fever

Hey, remember a month ago when I celebrated being stuck in the house for four days? Fast forward four weeks and let me tell you, I’m definitely over it.

March is a tough month. Firstly, there’s the whole coming in like a lion thing. Every. Single. Year. Yes, I know I live in a climate where winter lingers well into Spring, but still, each time I turn the calendar page (good riddance, February!), I can’t help but do so with a glimmer of hope that this will be the year a merry flock of bluebirds swoops in on a dazzling ray of sunshine, happily chirping as they draw a heart around the box that marks the first day of Spring.

Alas, it’s not this year, folks. This year, it’s that darn lion again – or even worse, his evil cousin, the snow leopard, ushering March in with a blustery roar nobody wants to hear.

If you think I sound crazy, well, it’s because I am. Cabin fever is real, my friends, and mine is making me wonder if I can point the leaf blower toward the sky to fend off those falling flakes. Yesterday, in the midst of predicting totals for the next round of never ending snowstorms, the weatherman said, “But, hey, it’s meteorological spring.” Wait. What?? Oh, so it is technically spring according to some calendar only weather experts use? Yes, thank you, that makes me feel so much better about the anywhere between 3 and 30 inches you’re predicting.

But I digress. This is not really about the weather report, my leaf blower, or what may or may not be left of my sanity. Okay, so maybe it’s a little bit about my sanity. I think I’m going to need every remaining bit to get us through the rest of the season.

You see, I am not the only one in this cabin suffering from the fever. My kids are roaring like a lion, too, these days. And by roaring I mean whining – whining about not being able to hike, bike, swim or bounce on the trampoline. Whining about canceled co-op days, elective classes and dates with friends (You know it’s bad when they’re even upset over a canceled dentist appointment). Whining because they have to wear socks, boots, gloves…pants (hey, by March we’ve pretty much blown the heating budget so pants are kind of necessary around here).

So what’s a homeschooling family to do to make it through the last leg of this marathon winter?

Embrace it.

Yes, you read that right. The person whose favorite winter sport is surfing real estate sites for homes in warmer climates just said embrace it. It’s not like we have a choice, after all (well, there is that cute little house for sale in Georgia, but by the time we pack everything up, it will already be summer, so we might as well wait it out).

In the meantime, there are a few things we can learn to love about being homebound.

  • Outdoor time: It’s cold out there, slippery even, but there’s no reason we can’t bundle up, put on some boots and get some Winter P.E. time. Some days, the temps are too cold for this, but the fresh air is good on the days when frost bite is not a threat.
  • Cooking: Cooking is one of our family’s favorite hands-on learning experiences. Gather around the warm oven and learn a new recipe, bake something scrumptious, or replicate your favorite TV food chef’s latest creation. Then set a cozy table and enjoy a hot meal and warm conversation.
  • Fireplace: If you’re fortunate enough to have a fireplace, use it as a place to learn (how to build a fire, fire safety, types of wood that are best (and worst) for your indoor fire, how to cook on an open fire, the history of fireplaces in the home….you could come up with a plethora of lessons built around the fire). In addition, this is a wonderful place to gather and enjoy some electronics-free time as a family.
  • Photography: Winter is a harsh season, no doubt. It is also breathtakingly, magically, visually stunning. Get out there and capture some of that beauty. Then use your images to create a visual arts project for your homeschool portfolio.
  • Writing: There are some advantages to being stuck indoors. Having time to sit and put thoughts to paper is one of them. Need some inspiration? Try some of these winter themed writing prompts.
  • Reading: Snow days may keep us from getting to our scheduled events, but they can’t keep us from the adventures we travel while snuggled up with a novel. We always pick up extra selections from the library during winter, so we never run out of things to read.

These are just a few small ways we’re fighting off the winter blues this year. We’d love to hear about some of your ideas for coping with cabin fever. Please leave a comment telling us all about them.

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