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The Best Ways To Beat "Cabin Fever" This Winter, Says Doctor

These expert tips can help you kick those feelings to the curb.
MEDICALLY REVIEWED Clipboard BY Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM

Dealing with "cabin fever" during the winter months has always been a shortcoming for what can seem like a very long season. If you're not an active winter sports enthusiast, it can be quite challenging to effectively deal with the feelings of isolation the cold weather can present. When you add to the mix the anxiety, stress, and worry that COVID-19 presents, a white winter can turn into a blue one quickly.

Think about it—we've all endured a major decrease in socializing with friends and family, along with various other consequences of the virus itself, over the past two winters. Many of us have also canceled holiday travel plans and snow-filled trips due to travel restrictions and overall wanting to keep ourselves and others safe and healthy.

For those who have been cooped up at home throughout the pandemic, the cabin fever feelings can be all too real. We spoke with Dr. Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, CPH, MWC, ELS who offers a couple of his go-to tips on how to beat cabin fever this winter. Read on to learn more, and next up, don't miss The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.

Set up workout equipment at home

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As proven with research, exercise is one of the most effective, natural gifts you can give your body to feel good. (Aerobic exercises like jogging, walking, cycling, dancing, and even gardening can give you a mood boost and lessen depression.) Even just five minutes of exercise can help break up a hectic work-from-home day.

There are many items that can be stored easily in your house, including push-up handles, resistance bands, and a portable pull-up bar that can latch onto one of your doors. Dr. Mike tells us, "Between these three things, I can do most almost any exercise I want." And if you're looking for even more home fitness inspiration, check out the trainer-approved, best pieces of gym equipment you should have at home.

Fill your space with live plants

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Dr. Mike tells us he thinks of his plants the same way he thinks of caring for pets, rather than simply items to decorate your home with. "Caring for another living thing in the home is a great way to feel a sense of purpose—plus plants can liven up any room and make you feel like you're outside," he says.

And science has proven that having houseplants in your space is beneficial to your overall health and well-being. In fact, one study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology concluded that placing plants throughout your home evokes calming and comforting feelings.

Related: The 5 Best Self-Care Habits to Feel Happy All Winter, Experts Say

Reap the health benefits of staying social, even when you can't be with your favorite people in person

happy woman waves while on a virtual call
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In addition to Dr. Mike's tips, when in doubt, it's important to stay as socially active as you can. Instead of texting or calling, if you can't get together with loved ones in person, consider planning a Zoom or FaceTime date. It can help you feel as though you're face-to-face in person with your favorite people in a much-needed—and long overdue—catchup session. After all, it's been proven that maintaining healthy social interactions has been linked to positive mental health benefits and even longer life.

(If you're experiencing "winter blues"—medically diagnosed as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is seasonal depression and feelings of social isolation that can occur throughout the winter months when we get less daylight—reach out directly to a medical professional.)

For more…

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Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more