Cabin Fever Beaters


Cooped up and restless? Not motivated? Lethargic? Same feeling as a year ago? Skip the doctor’s appointment and save the copay. WebMD strongly suggests it’s a case of cabin fever (or the ongoing symptoms impacting most high schoolers or college crowd at home between semesters).

Let’s go with cabin fever as the diagnosis. Young adults in question could very well grow out of their chronic woes, in due time. Wiki says cabin fever refers to “the distressing, claustrophobic irritability or restlessness experienced when a person, or group, is stuck at an isolated location or in confined quarters for an extended time.”

Some have heard stories of a gold miner or woodsman leaving the safety of a cabin during an old fashioned blizzard. A local story involves a transplanted family from Arizona enjoying (surviving) their first winter in the St. Croix Valley. Residents observed their garage door roll open on a Saturday with exhaust from the SUV billowing away. Twenty minutes later, the SUV backed down the driveway to the mail box where assorted mail was collected and up the driveway the vehicle sped. In all of these cases the decisions of the miner, woodsman and valley transplants proved irrational, making it a clear case of cabin fever.

Play along and combine a few subzero days and nights in the St. Croix Valley with a worldwide pandemic. This could be ‘the fever’ on bovine growth hormones. Hang in there. This too shall pass.

As for a cure or therapy, shaking the fever could be as easy as getting out and socializing. Remember though, the pandemic and related variants are out there and seek interaction with unsuspecting partners, too.

Try these diversions from the winter blahs:
* Volunteer your time (think: food shelf or animal shelter);
* Clear a neighbor’s driveway or sidewalks, especially retirees or vets;
* Binge a full season of your favorite show or watch a foreign movie (1988’s Cinema Paradiso is trending);
* Order take-out from a locally-owned restaurant or café;
* Make a pizza, including the dough, from scratch;
* Visit a state park, a ski trail, or rent a fat tire bike;
* Tour a micro-brewery or distillery and buy some products on the way out;
* Attend a local hockey or basketball game (UW-River Falls boasts the nation’s #4 women’s hockey team in Division III).

Help is on the way. The sun set in the St. Croix Valley at around 4:33 p.m. on December 21st. By January 31st, it sets at around 5:18 p.m. Melting snow on a roofline will produce icicles, even on a bitterly cold day. Cargo shorts will be paired with sweatshirts, hoodies and sandals. And by April there’s a chance that homes transition from the furnace mode to air conditioning. It happens almost every year.

Here’s to winter in the St. Croix Valley. Get out and make the most of it. All too soon there’ll be those dreaded spring cleaning chores.