14 Frugal Cabin Fever Relievers

by Shaunna Privratsky
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Does being stuck inside get you down? Try a few of these frugal cabin fever relievers and say goodbye to the winter blahs.

Is the weather outside frightful? Are you stuck indoors for long periods of time in the mid-season hump of winter?

Well, say good bye to the winter blahs with these inexpensive ways to beat cabin fever.

1. Take a mini-vacation.

I’m not talking about a $10,000 cruise or a ski trip to Aspen. Find something fun to do in your hometown. You’ll be able to get away without all the expense of travel.

Winter is a great time for motel bargains like buy-one-get-one free or deep discounts on weekdays.

2. Take a hike.

Head to a large shopping center or mall, but leave your wallet behind. Go with friends and just people watch. The exercise will do you good as well.

3. Take a multi-vitamin.

Since most of us don’t get enough of the B-vitamins that produce the natural antidepressant serotonin, this is a two-second fix.

4. Flip for fish.

Fall in love with tuna fish sandwiches all over again. The omega-3 fatty acids in tuna and other fish give a splash of blues-busting energy and boosts brain power.

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5. Let there be light.

Soak in the sun by a window or outdoors without sunscreen for short periods of time. The free vitamin D helps release chemicals in the brain to boost your mood.

6. Walk on the wild side.

Cash in on those feel good endorphins by taking a daily walk of 15-20 minutes. Just a change of scenery will lift cabin fever.

7. Indulge in your favorite kind of chocolate.

Your yummy treat has heart-strengthening and mood-elevating plant antioxidants. Darker chocolate contains a higher percentage of the feel-good compounds.

8. Volunteer.

When you help others more unfortunate than yourself, your mood improves. Some ideas are church volunteering, helping at your child’s school or a local nursing home, volunteering at the hospital or clinic, working with reading programs at Head-start programs, teaching English as a second language, helping at colleges or a dozen other ways to lend a helping hand.

Contact your local Social Services agency or Chamber of Commerce for more options or details on how to get started.

9. Give thanks.

Thanksgiving is not the only time to take stock. List everything that is good in your life, no negativity allowed.

When you are grateful for what you have, you realize how lucky you are. Try to be a “glass half-full” type of person. (See Being Thankful for Having Less.)

10. Get a cup of joe to go.

Coffee is a great mood lifter. One or two cups a day helps boost brain function, increases heart rate slightly and energizes even the sleepiest night owl. Be careful not to overdo it, as this may disrupt your sleep patterns.

11. Combat the mid-morning slump with a high-energy snack.

Try something like fruit and protein or dairy and carbohydrates. Mixing the food groups gives you more lasting energy than a single food.

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12. Look ahead.

Write down a list of summer activities you are looking forward to doing. Plan your garden or outdoor projects.

When you are thinking of the future, the present doesn’t seem so dreary.

13. Escape.

No, I’m not talking about tunneling out at midnight. Visit exotic locals through movies, television or good old-fashioned books. An afternoon spent with a favorite author can be just the ticket to an exciting adventure. (See 7 Places to Find Free or Cheap Books and Audiobooks.)

14. Smile.

Even if you are faking it, a smile projects happiness. Someone smiles back at you and soon your feelings will match.

Don’t give in to the winter blues. Try some or all of these tricks to improve your mood, without busting your budget. Say goodbye to cabin fever forever!

Reviewed January 2023

About the Author

Shaunna Privratsky became an expert in personal finance out of necessity. Between writing, reading and gardening, she is always on the lookout for bargains. Visit her at The Discount Diva.

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