For some parents, winter seems to come earlier every year. As the temperatures drop and the rain or snow starts to fall, kids who were once romping outside are spending more and more time indoors. If you make efforts to limit screen time, kids and adults alike can quickly start to feel the boredom and restlessness of cabin fever. Winter cabin fever only worsens November turns into December, and by February, that pent-up energy might unleash itself in daily tantrums or grumpiness.
Tackling the winter doldrums early is the best way to prevent three or four long months of moodiness. If you notice your family has caught cabin fever, here are just a few ways to bring the back glee of summer on gloomy winter afternoons:
Enjoy Summertime Foods
The holidays are a great time to enjoy hearty meals, but potatoes and roasted meats only please the palate for so long. Break up the holiday foods with some summertime meals! Grilled corn, cheeseburgers, and a fruit salad might just hit the spot. A goofy evening can even be spent grilling steaks outside in your snow pants and boots. For dessert, skip the leftover pumpkin pie. Though most ice cream is produced in June, a summery banana split or milkshake can be enjoyed any time of year. As a bonus, summertime foods tend to be lighter and healthier, so everyone can get a nutritious boost of vitamin C and protein during flu season.
Find Winter Alternatives for Summer Activities
Part of the frustration of cabin fever is feeling the need to get out and move when surrounded by four walls and several feet of snow. However, with a little planning and creativity, classic summer activities can be enjoyed year-round. Swimming is the fourth most popular activity in the U.S., and it can be enjoyed even in the chilly depths of January at your local YMCA! Heading to a community center or gym for indoor playtime like rock climbing and badminton helps combat restlessness, and exercise is also a proven mood-booster. Or, outdoors on less rainy and chilly days. Playgrounds, short walks, and outdoor toys can still be enjoyed in the snow or cold with proper clothing.
Go on An Adventure
If you just can’t escape the trapped feeling of winter’s cabin fever, try planning a family vacation to somewhere new. If you live in the city, simply getting away from the gray blur of sidewalks and buildings might be refreshing. If you have the resources, consider hopping on a plane and heading to a warmer destination for a few days. An international study found that 59% of people prefer a relaxing vacation, but if you’re trying to beat cabin fever, book a trip that includes some outdoor exploration, like hiking or snorkeling. The simple act of planning for a vacation later in the winter can help take your mind off the current dreariness.
With a little creativity, you and your family can find ways to have summer fun even in the depths of winter. Change up your food, get moving, or get out of town to help ride out the winter with the fun of summer.